Rising ninth-grade students worked diligently last week to investigate the DNA of a strawberry — an activity most high school students don’t know much about.
The activity, along with many others, was a small part of the week-long STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) camp held in conjunction with Clinton City Schools, Sampson County Schools and Sampson Community College.
The purpose of the camp is to get students exposed to out-of-the-box concepts that are on the brink of a career reality for them. Students going through this camp are rising ninth graders who need to begin looking into their future plans.
According to Angela Harding, the camp also raised awareness to the different occupations that are available close to home and opportunities available in both two and four year institutions. There were 25 students who attended the camp.
“Students came ready to learn new skills that will prepare them for career paths in the STEAM field,” Harding said. “Students were excited to travel and see opportunities that were available within the county and outside the county.”
STEAM camp is a program for students to be introduced and explore a variety of academic areas. The camp has provided an introduction to robotics, coding, agri-business, nursing, welding, criminal justice and other areas of science.
The STEAM camp is a collaborative effort between both school systems and the community college. Planning for the camp began in earlier in the school year, with committee members working to decide which aspects of learning best fit the camp and its objective.
During last week’s camp, students were able to take a trip the University of Mount Olive, the Natural Science Museum in Raleigh, Sampson Community College, the North Carolina Justice Academy in Salemburg and Defy Gravity in Fayetteville.
Mid week, when students took a tour of the community college, they were provided with an overview of the programs offered locally and how easily students can transfer to a variety of four-year colleges and universities.
“Students learned how to code, the anatomy of a turkey, how to incorporate art into STEM using poetry, to investigate the DNA of a strawberry, forensic science with the Justice Academy and how communication is important in the workforce,” Harding explained. “Students were also able to watch trainees at the Justice Academy undergo training.”
Costs associated with the camp were paid for through sponsorships from Clinton-Sampson Rotary Club, Food Lion, Lockamy Insurance Agency, Sessoms Jewelry, Star Communications, Performance Dodge, Performance Ford, Prestage, Quality Equipment and Walmart.
“We are very excited to partner with Sampson County Schools and Clinton City Schools once again this year to help produce the STEAM Camp,” Amanda Bradshaw, dean of continuing education with Sampson Community College, said. “It is even more a joy to be able to host this event on our campus. This is a wonderful opportunity for these students to be part of our campus and to see what great programming efforts we offer.”
Editor’s note: This perspective was first published by the Sampson Independent. It has been posted with the author’s permission.