Every summer, OSU Institute of Technology’s weeklong Emerging & Converging Technologies Summer Academy works to spark young minds with an interest in STEM careers.
The summer academy, funded by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, shows eighth through 10th graders how specifically math and science are immersed into all types of careers.
This year’s academy was full with 38 students taking part, which included staying in the campus’ residence halls and eating in the Cowboy Café among college students.
The students spent time in nearly every school on the OSUIT campus. They created zombie wounds in the Nursing program; learned several different ways to cook an egg in the School of Culinary Arts; climbed power poles in the High Voltage Lineman program; and made their own extension cords in the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration program, just to name a few.
“The Emerging & Converging Technologies Summer Academy aims to introduce students to a college campus and the different opportunities that are available in higher education, specifically the technical and hands-on programs offered at OSUIT,” said Angie Been, who organizes OSUIT’s summer academy. “Our hope is that at the end of the week, students have some insight into areas they were already interested in or that it has sparked an interest into a career they never considered before."
Sadie Plowman, who will be entering the ninth grade this fall at Eufaula High School, said she learned about the summer academy from her science teacher.
“I’ve always been interested in technology and engineering,” said Plowman, who enjoyed the activities at each of the areas. “They’re all hands on. You’re learning, but it doesn’t feel like learning. It’s not like you’re sitting in a classroom listening to someone; you’re doing it with your hands.”
This was the second year Malcolm Hushbeck took part in the summer academy.
“It’s really fun. There’s lots of good people here, and it’s easy to make friends,” said Hushbeck, who will be a sophomore at Beggs High School. “I like to do the science activities. We just got done making extension cords; that’s one of my favorites.”
The hands-on aspect is one reason students want to return a second year, Been said.
“I think this type of learning experience appeals to many of the students that attend. It makes me proud that the students find the academy interesting and fun,” she said.
For Henryetta High School freshman Shayna Arthur, it was all about getting that taste of college life.
“It gives us a head start on college. You get a feel for it so you’re not as scared. I thought it was going to be hard to find my way around, but after the first day, it’s easier,” said Arthur.
Been said the summer academy provides the young students with a college life experience and a real-world workforce experience as well.
“They have to work together in groups on some of the activities, which helps build skills like teamwork, communication and problem solving. When they go back to their middle or high school, they will be a little more well-rounded having learned to work with total strangers for a week,” she said.