Project E.S.T.E.E.M.: A Promising Practice in Experiencing Computer Science Programs

DO-IT Factsheet #527
http://www.washington.edu/doit/Stem/articles?527

Led by Trinidad State Junior College [1] (TSJC) Project E.S.T.E.E.M. [2] (Experience Science, Technology, Engineering, Electronics, and Math) provided youth with disabilities an opportunity to experience programs at TSJC that contain a computer science component. TSJC collaborated with the School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) to host the full-day event which culminated in an evening in which both students and their parents participated.

Student participants spent six hours on the TSJC campus. They learned about the Graphic Design Program, the Precision Machining Program, and the Computer Networking Program. Participants were split into three groups and each group spent 45 minutes in each program. The Graphic Design Program highlighted the various software programs used to create professional graphic representations used in illustrating books, advertising and marketing.The Precision Machining Program highlighted the use of SolidWorks software. This software is used to design the components to be machined, it is a form of Computer Aided Design. The students witnessed how the software could be used to design of a three-dimensional model. The model was then constructed using a CNC machine. The Computer Networking Program highlighted computer repair and the creation of networks. Lunch was provided.

At the end of the day, parents were invited to have dinner and hear about what the participants did during the day. Together, the parents and their children also learned about different support programs available on campus.

Post-event surveys revealed that 100% of the respondents learned something new about computer science careers. Of the nine students that participated in the spring event, five of those students enrolled at TSJC for the following fall semester. Three students enrolled in the Automotive Technician Program, which has an automotive computer component.

To learn more about project E.S.T.E.E.M. and how this promising practice provided youth with disabilities an opportunity to experience computer science-related programs visit Project E.S.T.E.E.M. [3].

This activity was been funded by a minigrant from The Computer Science Collaboration Project [4] (CSCP). CSCP is partially funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Computer and Network Systems, Broadening Participation in Computing (CNS-0940646).

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