Defense STEM Education Consortium Expands Support for Hands-on STEM Educational Activities in Military-Connected Communities

Consortium Funding Increases Opportunities for Technology to Bring STEM Subjects to Life

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.— The Defense Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Consortium (DSEC), funded by the Department of Defense (DOD) and managed by RTI International (RTI), a nonprofit research institute, has selected three new partners to increase opportunities for young students to work directly with technology to develop creativity, inventive thinking and problem-solving skills. The new partners will provide meaningful STEM activities for students in military-connected communities as well as reach demographics historically underrepresented in STEM — strategic goals of DSEC. The three new partners are as follows:

National Inventors Hall of Fame

The National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), based in North Canton, Ohio, was founded in 1973 in partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to honor innovators with U.S. patents whose inventions have furthered the technological prowess of the nation. NIHF brings its fun, hands-on programs to more than 1,600 schools and districts each year so student creativity and excitement about discovery can bloom in a supportive atmosphere. For this effort, NIHF will introduce its Camp Invention® program to more than 1,000 students in locations close to DoD laboratories and facilities. Students attending the summer camp will meet real inventors during activities that build the innovation mindset, or skills and traits that empower children to create: collaboration, confidence, creative problem solving, design thinking, entrepreneurship, innovation, intellectual property, persistence and STEM.

REC Foundation

The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation, based in Greenville, Texas, develops robotics engineering programs for students with the goal of increasing overall student interest and involvement in STEM subject areas. With DSEC support, the REC Foundation will support schools in the Gulf Coast region of the United States (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas) as well as the mid-west region (Illinois, Kansas, Missouri) to field 110 teams and compete in the REC Foundation’s Aerial Drone Competition. The teams will progress through a program covering autonomous and driver skills, 3-D printing and computer-aided drawing, in addition to multiple coding platforms including Python, JavaScript, MATLAB and more. The program organizers will make a concerted effort to recruit female students with the goal of each team composition being at least 50% female — a demographic traditionally underrepresented in robotics. In addition to instruction in drone operation, students will learn about career paths available to those with robotics skills.

Robonation

RoboNation was launched in 2009 to build a pathway of hands-on robotics programs and competitions for students from elementary school through post-graduate studies. More than 250,000 students participate in nine RoboNation competitions and programs each year. The DSEC-supported project will introduce RoboNation’s SeaPerch program, an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) program, to three military-connected communities in Louisiana and Texas; and foster partnerships among the communities surrounding Fort Polk, Fort Hood and Joint Base San Antonio. SeaPerch teams design and build ROVs with an eye toward learning how to work together toward a common goal, building a community of peers and ultimately competing against other SeaPerch teams in local, regional and international competitions.

About the Defense STEM Education Consortium

DSEC, fully funded by the DoD and managed by RTI International, is a collaborative partnership of STEM-focused organizations dedicated to addressing and prioritizing the nation’s STEM talent. In support of the DoD STEM Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2021–2025 and aligned with the 2018 Federal STEM Strategic Plan, DSEC aims to broaden STEM literacy and develop a diverse and agile workforce with the technical excellence to defend the nation. Through strategic investments in STEM education and outreach activities, DSEC partner efforts provide students and educators with exposure to educational and workforce development opportunities as well as awareness about career opportunities in STEM fields across the DoD. For more information visit https://dodstem.us/stem-programs/partners.

To learn more

DoD STEM – https://www.dodstem.us
National Inventors Hall of Fame – https://www.invent.org
REC Foundation – https://www.roboticseducation.org
RoboNation – https://robonation.org/

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