Our ongoing K1-12 NASA-supported STEM activities has served over 5000 children since 2015, largely from groups that are undeserved and underrepresented in the sciences. These STEM activities have been successfully delivered for several years and include earth science, meteorite geology, rocketry, aerodynamics, star gazing, EV3 Mindstorm robotics, basic coding exercises, wind tunnel, 3D-printing, etc., conducted largely through our present MAA (MUREP Aerospace Academy) Project. Corporate funding from the Con Edison and National Grid ensures additional STEM dissemination to the students during the summer operation. Significant positive component of the MAA program is the availability and willingness of the former student participants (many of whom are completing STEM majors in college) to extend their helping hands to assist teachers and guide students to fulfill assigned tasks and share their rich experience to reinforce the value of STEM learning. In a way, they validate students’ participation and promote meaningful dialog with their parents, mostly first generation Americans, often with English as a second language, and lacking knowledge of the importance of the STEM disciplines and careers built around it. Recent involvement of the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Explorer’s Program, a vigorous initiative undertaken by the CUNY to bring thousands of middle school students to the various CUNY campuses, including York College, opened a formidable partnership building opportunity for the MAA to tap into the future pipeline by engaging visiting students with our STEM facilities and educating these young and curious minds about the future STEM potential both in selecting exciting academic and career options. STEM outreach delivered through hands-on, team work, in an experiential and critical thinking environment is becoming a catalyst for motivating numerous students towards earth science and relevant NASA content. This way, MAA Program is creating a STEM conscious young student body and providing a strategic recruitment tool for various undergraduate STEM disciplines. Early involvement of middle school students in STEM activities can be deemed as a powerful and viable mechanism to overcome an apparent shortage of STEM workforce representing minorities, women and financially disadvantaged groups.
Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching Commons, Aerospace Engineering Commons, Aviation Commons, Geological Engineering Commons, Geology Commons, Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching Commons, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology Commons, Science and Mathematics Education Commons