Written by Maxine Poe-Jensen, STEM Camp Journalism Chairman. Maxine is a junior at St. Michaels Middle/High School and plans a career in global health administration after completing her baccalaureate degree.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, some Talbot County elementary school students were falling behind academically. We believe it’s important to provide a “leg up” for these children.
To help fill this need, the annual Talbot County STEM Camp provides a fun filled science-oriented experience focused on 1st through 5th grade children called “Campers.” Our goal is to not only provide Campers with an opportunity to learn new science skills but also show them that through hard work and determination anyone can achieve success in life. By emulating our teenaged STEM LEADER instructors, we believe elementary school participants can embark on a path to building foundations of intellect and character.
Although STEM Camp was originally conceived to motivate Campers to achieve more during the regular academic year, the Camp morphed into something bigger. While our curriculum plan, developed by rising senior Will Burgess, features scientific concepts supporting our instructional theme, “Science On & Around the Chesapeake,” the STEM Camp also serves as a “Leadership Laboratory” for Talbot County’s middle and high school students who plan, budget, and conduct in-class instruction. With the freedom to organize and operate our camp with minimal adult intervention, we learn the important lessons of accountability, responsibility, leadership, work-ethic, and integrity.
This year’s guest speaker was Sgt. Lenox Trams who provided a practical example of how STEM is essential to many careers. He demonstrated the science of drone flight, then compellingly addressed LEADERS and Campers regarding two notions: overcoming adversity and accepting personal accountability for life’s outcome.
STEM Camp builds meaningful relationships between STEM LEADERS and Campers. For the first time, STEM LEADERS, led by Banchi Short and Elainy Sanchez-Rivera, will continue one-on-one mentoring of Campers throughout the upcoming 2021/2022 academic year. 2022 SENIOR STEM LEADER (student director), Damian René, stated that the LEADERS “discovered that we have a not-for-self responsibility to inspire and instruct others to reach their full potential.”