The Science Behind Inspiring Our Future

Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 7:40 AM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Inspiring a new generation of scientists.

Florida State University Panama City introduced STEM Careers to Bay County students last week. STEM - which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math - is a key focus for organizers at the university.

The learning kicked off on Monday when FSU PC hosted the Nu Gulf Coast Camp...

“Currently, we have a group on campus from the New Gulf Coast choir, and they’re doing a STEM or STEAM type camp and we have been adding in some of our STEM on the move activities that they have been able to participate in while they are on campus,” Denise Newsome, Director of Youth Programs at FSU PC said.

This is the second year for this camp, which introduces students to a variety of science-related activities. The day was capped off with a design challenge where students were able to build their own bottle rockets.

“What it excites me most is the mysteries you can find out about...yeah, because you do a project, and it might work out or it might not, and it’s just really fun,” said students Jocelyn and Madison, grades 7 and 4.

This week also provided the chance for 6th through 8th-grade girls from Bay County to learn about the future of STEM.

“Today is what’s called STEM Story, and it’s a gathering of middle school girls all across our county to come and do fun STEM activities and learn about future careers in STEM that are available to them,” Paige George, technology transfer manager at the Naval Surface Warfare Center said.

The girls could choose from all sorts of experiments to focus on throughout the day. One group participated in the marine lab, where they got up close and personal with sharks. Others chose to partake in the engineering lab, which emphasized teamwork and ingenuity as students constructed their own Rube-Goldberg machines.

“My favorite part is definitely seeing their eyes come alive when they get to do those hands-on activities, and they realize, ‘Oh this is actually really fun’,” Newsome said.

The real goal of the day was challenging students and building new skills while expressing creativity through learning.

“They had ideas that I had never thought of before, which is always really exciting for us as mentors to be able to have the students on their own and figure out things on their own,” George said.

While this event targeted young girls who had an interest in STEM, the organizers stressed they want everybody to experience the career field.

“It’s really important to introduce STEM to all kids at a young age because the younger that they are introduced, the more likely they are to fall in love with in and be comfortable with it as they move on through the higher and more difficult classes and through high school,” George said.

FSU PC says there will be more youth learning events in the fall.

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