Four Michigan schools, including the Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center (CTC), were presented with the prestigious Excellence in Practice Award from the Michigan Department of Education on Monday, February 2, 2015. The award recognizes successful, exemplary state-approved Career and Technical Education programs and career initiatives. These are programs that demonstrate outstanding outcomes, produce measurable results for students, and meet the challenge of high academic rigor.
“Career and Tech Education is helping our state and nation meet the very real and immediate challenges of student achievement, career and college readiness, and global competitiveness,” said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan.
The award-winning “Girls in STEM” program at the Wexford-Missaukee CTC is an initiative that was designed to provide girls in grades 8-10 with opportunities to explore STEM activities through a series of specialty camps.
Eighth grade girls with a strong aptitude and interest in science and math are invited to participate in STEM Camp I. During this three-day camp, students used their STEM skill set to design and manufacture SeaPerch, an underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicle). SeaPerch is a nationally-recognized STEM curriculum developed by a MIT professor and meets the National Science Standards. Students learn engineering concepts of frame design, buoyancy, electrical principles, and quality control during the construction of the ROV. On the last day of camp, students launched their ROV at a community pool with family and friends in attendance.
This camp was housed at BorgWarner, which provided the girls a unique insight into STEM-related careers within manufacturing. Building upon this excitement of the first camp, these young women were invited back for STEM Camp II to further enhance their academic, leadership, and career readiness skills to create a fully functioning wind turbine in its “Fab Lab” setting including blade design, machining principles, precision measurement, welding, and generator principles.
Both STEM camps provide science, technology, engineering and math curriculum for girls in grades 8-10 to encourage them to consider enrolling in a nontraditional CTE program, as well as a career in STEM-related field. Through these hands-on, challenging camps, these young women develop and/or enhance their academic, career, and college readiness skills such as: designing a product, engineering, welding, machining, electrical wiring, problem solving, and critical thinking.
The other Michigan schools winning the Excellence in Practice Award include: Bay Arenac ISD Career Center (Engineering/Drafting program), Muskegon Area Career Tech Center (Building Pipeline to College), and Traverse-Bay ISD Career Tech Center (Manufacturing Technology Academy).