STEAM event gives local youth insight into careers

SAN JACINTO – Mt. San Jacinto College’s “Building Up STEAM” middle school summer camp attracted 60 youngsters who learned about careers in science, technology, engineering, art/design, and math.

The event, June 9-12, on the San Jacinto Campus, encouraged creativity and innovation, promoting critical 21st century skills.

“The purpose of the camp was to provide a fun learning environment that promotes career awareness for middle school students,” said Lori Benson, career and technical education project coordinator and event organizer. “The event was a huge success and we had almost 100 percent perfect attendance during the four days.”

The participating seventh- and eighth-grade students from Hemet, San Jacinto and surrounding areas received T-shirts, backpacks/supplies, and meals. The camp focused on 15 career pathways, including engineering, biotechnology, and multimedia. Students made new friends, interacted with the staff and completed fun, hands-on projects each day such as: “DNA in a Necklace” and dissecting owl pellets to help them learn about biotechnology and science careers.

In engineering, students built a catapult, designed windmills and constructed a mouse trap car. The multimedia workshop helped students use their own ideas and creativity as they learned the principles and “magic” of animation and web design.

Dr. Roy Mason, MSJC biology professor, provided a keynote address titled “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics…and Donald Duck?” that invited students to travel back in time to meet Pythagoras, the father of math and music, to look at how mathematics and science have shaped our everyday lives.

Nathan Brais, student government association coordinator, along with the help of MSJC mascot, Ernie the Eagle, presented “Get Excited, Get Involved.” The talk inspired students to participate in activities and clubs as they enter high school and


Students toured the San Jacinto Campus and were excited to spend time in MSJC’s own TV/Radio station studios thanks to the enthusiasm of Dave Parrott, MSJC audio/visual instructor.

“Many parents reported how much fun their students had at camp and how much they learned about careers,” Benson said. “Parents enjoyed listening to their experiences at the end of each day, as students were beginning to identify their own career interests.”

Parents were invited to join their children at camp on the final day. Altura Credit Union offered parents a workshop called “Raise Money-Smart Kids” and Altura donated raffle prizes and gifts for each student. Many parents joined in on a barbeque lunch and final award ceremony.

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