STEM YEA 2022
Our inaugural immersive STEM event was held from July 8-11, 2022 at Albright College’s Science Research Institute (SRI). This is a state-of-the-art scientific facility that delivers summer and after-school programming to middle-and high-school students. Forty one students were selected from twenty one different Rotary clubs in five counties, Berks, Bucks, Mongomery, Lehigh and Northampton. The focus for selection was to give an opportunity to promising students who otherwise would not have access to such a program. Many friendships were forged at the event and our 2022 STEM YEA Alumni are keeping in touch.
Forty-one fully vaccinated/boosted students attended the first Academy. There were 18 girls and 23 boys from 26 public middle schools in 20 school districts. One female student was from a private Catholic school. All students stayed through the entire Academy. There were no accidents or injuries. Students received STEM YEA tee shirts, back packs, water bottles, lab manuals, drawing pencils, antimicrobial pens and copies of the session manuals.
Nine STEM sessions were held over a 2 and ½ day time period; six project building sessions were held over a 1-day time period. Students built habitats, rovers and landers from ordinary materials. Twelve astronomers from the Delaware Valley Astronomer’s Association brought their telescopes to the Science field at Albright on Saturday, July 9 for a Moon Watch Program. Students and team leads were bussed to the Reading Science Museum NEAG Planetarium on Sunday, July 10th for an evening program.
Thirteen Rotary volunteers monitored the students in the dorms overnight. Thirty Rotary volunteers worked with the students during the day time sessions.
Fifteen sponsors/donors contributed to the Class of 2022 program. Twenty Rotary Clubs in District 7430 donated to the STEM YEA Program to underwrite initial costs. We have named these clubs “Founders’ Clubs”.
Special Guests (and donors)
Jared Isaacman, CEO of Shift4 Payments and Commander of the 2021 SpaceX Inspiration4 spaceflight, created a personal video directed to our STEM YEA students. Dr. Terry Hart, a former NASA astronaut, attended a reception preceding the Celebration Dinner on July 11; Dr. Hart signed autographs for the students and took pictures with them.
Isaacman was the commander of Inspiration4, a private spaceflight using SpaceX's Crew Dragon Resilience, launched from Kennedy Space Center. See his message to our STEM YEA kids.
One hundred sixty-seven students, parents, grandparents, a great grandparent, volunteers, sponsors/donors and Rotary District 7430 leaders attended the Celebration Dinner. Rotary Clubs who sponsored students have invited them to participate in local Rotary Club events such as picnics and pizza parties. Many sponsoring Rotary Clubs have invited the students to speak at Rotary Club meetings. Parents often attend and give thanks and favorable comments about the STEM YEA experience.
Press and news releases were submitted to the media; several local newspapers followed up with the local Rotary Clubs to learn more about the program and the students.