Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Science STEMS from Pottstown Camp

Photo by Diane Van Dyke
Pottstown Middle School students got all wet as part of the G-STEM program run by Montgomery County Community College.

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by Montgomery County Community College.

For participating Pottstown Middle School students, Montgomery County Community College’s G-STEM — Green Science, Technology, Engineering and Math —program was the first opportunity they ever had to explore the Schuylkill River, hold crayfish or see schools of minnows swim by their legs.

By testing the water quality at various locations along the river, as well as in the Manatawny Creek tributary, students learned about what may impact the life cycle and inhabitants of this river aquarium.

“It is interesting and makes you think,” says Tyler Carter, one of the participants. “It’s a higher level of learning. We get to use what we learn in the classroom right here.”

“We learned scientific terms and concepts,” added Payton Reid, explaining that the program covers more material than what he has learned in school. “It’s good practice for college.”

Carter and Reid were two of 13 Pottstown Middle School students who participated in the one-week, academically intensive summer camp held June 23-27 at the College’s West Campus in
Photo by Diane Van Dyke
Shakeem Lynch holds up a crayfish he found in the Schuylkill River

G-STEM’s objective is to improve scientific literacy, environmental stewardship and appreciation of humanity’s responsibility in sustaining the environment.

“The philosophical goal is to provide an environment where students are exposed to and use scientific methodology and in doing so experience a success in a high-intensity science program with the expectation that will translate into a desire to pursue a college career in the sciences. G-STEM provides a unique opportunity for these students to experience the career of a scientist,” MCCC Biology Associate Professor Dr. Davi Gonzales said.

In addition to the learning the basic concepts of scientific methodology, students learned about chemical concepts and data analysis. Each hands-on activity focused on environmental issues relevant to their community. At the conclusion of the program, the students displayed and shared their results using graphs, tables and Power Point programs with family, faculty and visitors.

For the past four years under the direction of Dr. Gonzales, MCCC has offered G-STEM to Pottstown area youth at no cost to the students, thanks to the generous funding of TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank.

Photo by  Diane Van Dyke
Students gather specimens in the Manatawny.
Participating Pottstown Middle School students included Kha’la Frazier, Tyler Carter, Lamar Green, Dazah Regusters, Rebecca Harper, Terrell Taylor-Williams, Shakayla Sergent, Shakeem Lynch, Floyd Dashieel, Payton Reid, Alexandria Olvera, Shanyia Johnson and Keirsten Hickey.

Students work directly with College faculty, including Dr. Gonzales, program director and recruiter, teacher assistant trainer and faculty; Geology Professor Robert Kuhlman; Microbiology Assistant Professor Dr. James Bretz; Chemistry Assistant Professor Dr. Janet Graden; Biology Lecturer Dr. Matt Bobiak; Biology Lecturer Dr. Adam Meacham; and Mathematics Instructor Stephanie Isaac. Teaching assistants included Kaitlyn DeJohn, Patrick Robenoet and Amy Shaw.

The TD Charitable Foundation is the charitable giving arm of TD Bank N.A., which operates as TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, is one of the 10 largest commercial banking organizations in the United States. The Foundation's mission is to serve the individuals, families and businesses in all the communities where TD Bank operates, having made over $68.4 million in charitable donations since its inception in 2002. The efforts of the Foundation are coordinated locally through TD Bank's community relations departments and are focused on the areas of affordable housing, education and financial literacy, and the environment. More information on the TD Charitable Foundation, including an online grant application, is available atwww.TDBank.com.

The Montgomery County Community College Foundation is the designated tax-exempt, charitable arm of the College. The Foundation's purpose is to raise funds to assist the College in developing programs, facilities, and services to enhance and enrich student life and to maintain a tradition of educational excellence. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu/giving/about/default.aspx.

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