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STEM Career Exploration Events
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What is it?  


The STEM Exploration Academy, a STEM-based exploratory workshop series for high school freshman and sophomores, was developed to fulfill a need within the outreach community between Cochise College and Cochise County high schools - an unreached population.  

How is it Done?

  • A full-time employee (40%) in Cochise College K-12 Department, a K-12 Specialist, develops and coordinates all functions of the Academy.

  • Each workshop focuses on a different STEM area and each year is developed separately — not to be repeated

  • Workshop details:

  • Four STEM-based, hands-on workshops held throughout the high school year.

  • All-day (6 hours) on two college campuses serving two different groups of 40-50 high school students on subsequent Fridays.

  • Each August, students are recruited each year by their high school counselors and science/math/engineering teachers.  Some students attend both their freshman and sophomore years.

  • Taught by college instructors or professionals in the field.

  • Three of the four workshops are held on the Sierra Vista and Douglas Cochise College campuses.

  • The fourth workshop, a combined group of students from both campuses, is an out-of-town field trip (Tucson) to experience a STEM field first hand.

  • $15,000/year budget (instructors, class materials, meals, field trip to Tucson)

  • Typically between seven and eight schools each year participate from all over Cochise County

  • There are no requirements or prerequisites for a student to participate in our Academy.

  • Workshops are free to all students chosen and we feed them lunch at each workshop.

  • The college provides transportation for most of the schools.

  • Parent or teacher chaperones are required from each school.

What are the results?

  • High schools from rural areas with small populations participate in STEM workshops on a college campus - something small schools could not afford

  • Provides freshmen and sophomores an opportunity to participate in a STEM program before they have decided their career/study path

  • Create an excitement to work on science, technology, math and engineering HANDS-ON projects

  • Motivate students to pursue careers and studies within the STEM areas beyond the academy (between 2-6 students annually apply to the Cochise College Early College Academy — two months after the STEM Exploration Academy has ended)

  • Unite and allow students to interact from different high schools throughout Cochise County in a social as well as academic environment

  • Students get out of their “normal, high school” environment and experience a college campus — producing a sense of responsibility and freedom for learning, classroom behaviors, and an awareness of the college atmosphere

What have we learned?

  • It is beneficial to establish good relationships between high schools, industry, and universities

  • Constantly recruiting instructors or professionals in the field provides the variety of skills and topics taught each year

  • The infrastructure of high schools is in constant flux.  Continual contact with the counselors and teachers is crucial

  • The out-of-town field trip workshop is difficult to schedule and coordinate due to limited STEM companies/university departments that are willing to work with a large number of students in one day

  • A variety of workshops and topics each year keeps more students interested in the program since they can take the class in both their freshman and sophomore years

Private donations fund our operating budget, education and research efforts.

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