CJ STEMM to Start

It has been more than a year since the arrival of the CJ STEMM program and students now have more opportunities than ever to explore first-hand the fields of science, technology, engineering, math and medicine.

Since February 2009, CJ STEMM has offered high school and grade school students challenging and engaging activities, allowing them a chance to gain hands-on, real world experience in some of today’s most sought after careers. With an emphasis on increased awareness and a focus on having some fun, the program for the 2010-11 school year is sure to provide an abundance of events for every member of the CJ community.

Leading off is the monthly Idol Speaker Series beginning Tuesday, Sept. 14 in the CIL.  All students are welcome to attend the homeroom sessions in which local professionals, including CJ alumni, come to speak about each of their STEMM-related fields.

“The most popular speaker from last year’s series was neuroscientist Jim Olson, Ph.D., who brought in some actual brain specimens,” said CJ STEMM Coordinator Meg Draeger.

A large part of the aim of the CJ STEMM program is to get students exposure to a variety of different career paths, Draeger said, highlighting two upcoming job shadowing days.  The first, a Healthcare Career Exploration at Good Samaritan Hospital’s North Health Center, is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Students will learn about careers in health sciences, athletic training, and sports medicine.

Then on Friday, Oct. 22, students are invited to Wright Patterson Air Force Base for the annual Fall Job Shadow Day. The event is open to all Dayton-area juniors and seniors with a limit of 70 participants.  CJ students who wish to participate may use a college visit day in lieu of being counted absent.

“We also hope to get more students involved with competitions this year,” Draeger said. Last year, students in the Project Lead the Way engineering courses built and entered a robot into the Bots competition held by the Dayton Tooling & Manufacturing Association. All students are invited to join this October 20-21 as the team hopes to enter two robots in 2010. In addition, there will be an opportunity to compete in the Art in Architecture Student Design competition put on by the American Institute of Architects, Dayton Chapter.

CJ STEMM will also try to team up with the Ministry and Service office this year to complete projects within the community in an effort to incorporate service learning.  According to Draeger, doing so would “allow students to use some of the technical skills they’ve learned in the classroom,” while simultaneously earning service hours.  Possible endeavors include working with the Humane Society of Greater Dayton to build a storage shed as well as providing CJ student-tutors to inner-city grade schools for help with math and science.

Although the CJ STEMM Gateway Academy Summer Camp caters to kids grades 7 to 9, Draeger would like to increase the program’s outreach to Catholic grade schools by hosting events geared towards engineering and biomedical science in labs on campus. She also hopes to implement two field trips -- one in the fall and spring -- for campers and their parents to visit places such as the Motoman Technical Education Center in West Carrolton and Eurand, a pharmaceutical company in Vandalia.      

“One of the best things about the program is that it exposes all students to things that they may not have been aware of and gets them thinking about careers they might want to pursue in the future,” Draeger said.  She also tries to increase awareness and involvement by posting scholarship and internship opportunities on CJ STEMM’s Web page.  “Plan ahead, keep your eyes open and start applying for them in the fall and early winter because most of the deadlines are approaching fast,” she advised.