Adding the arts to science, technology, engineering and math

PHOTO PROVIDED Camp STEAM visited Lycoming College for a tour and information about picking the right college. Camp STEAM helps students by providing them with opportunities to tour local colleges, visit various industries and develop leadership skills.

High school is a transitional period in a student’s life. They begin to start thinking of what they want to do after graduation. Through Camp STEAM, students had the opportunity to prepare for a career by exploring industries, looking into colleges and learning about different industries.

By going around to various places, the students had the opportunity to talk and learn about different careers and what they want to pursue, what steps they’d have to take to get there, salaries and work ethics. They also discussed expectations and qualities an ­employer may be looking for, said Jennifer Buck, math and science teacher at East Lycoming School District.

For the previous two summers, the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC), through Pennsylvania CareerLink, hosted Camp STEAM, the CPWDC said. The program lasted for two weeks and gave students the opportunity to “explore science, technology, engineering, art and math careers.”

“The overall goal of Camp STEAM is to help students become aware of outstanding career opportunities in the local area, see first-hand the value and relevance of their high school education and plan for their futures,” the CPWDC said.

Camp STEAM was offered for the first time this year at the East Lycoming Junior and Senior High School from July 30 to Aug. 9 for students entering ninth to 12th grade.

STEAM is similar to STEM, a popular program schools are adding to their curriculum. The major difference is STEAM adds the arts. “STEM has been transitioning into STEAM,” Buck said.

To incorporate for arts education into the summer program, the group visited the Community Theatre League, visited a powder-dusting painting company that uses art technology, Buck said.

Students had the chance to hear from guest speakers, attend

ed industry tours and visited Lycoming College, Buck said. Students visited the Lycoming County Offices, Andritz and Lewis Lumber.

The group participated in group activities and projects like building a popsicle bridge, Buck said. When building a popsicle bridge out of the sticks and glue, students had to identify cost requirements. There was a cost per popsicle stick and students had to make the bridge look appealing, adding a cost for color, which brings arts into the design and structure.

The Camp also included workshops, entrepreneurship and leadership opportunities, Buck said.

“They are going to see all different careers and meet lots of different people and it’s the qualities that they need to exhibit to get a job to be successful … A lot of the careers that these kids are going to have, we don’t even know about yet,” Buck said.

Bridges to the Future helped bring Camp STEAM to central Pennsylvania, the CPWDC said. “Teachers representing East Lycoming, Danville, Southern Columbia and State College school districts” facilitated the camps.

Students that successfully completed the whole camp received a $250 stipend if they attended and participated all eight days, Buck said. The program had only 12 spots available and more than double applied.

Some students from East Lycoming attended the Danville Camp STEAM at the Montour Preserve and visited Bloomsburg University instead of Lycoming College, Buck said.

“The curriculum is very set, very structured,” Buck said. “I thought it was a great opportunity for our kids.”