High School Students Discover Career Choices through Summer Enrichment Program at NTU

Students huddle around instructor Laurencita Billiman in a Professional Cooking Basics course at NTU’s main campus in Crownpoint. Students from Fort Wingate are able to earn up to three credit hours as part of NTU’s Summer Enrichment Career Program.

Published June 21, 2018

CROWNPOINT, N.M. – In an attempt to increase the number of Native American high students pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and the Transportation industry, Navajo Technical University has teamed up with Many Farms High School and Fort Wingate High School in offering the inaugural Summer Career Enrichment Program (SCEP). The four-week program started on May 29, 2018 and allows students to earn up to six credit hours of intense coursework in Many Farms, AZ or three credit hours at NTU’s main campus in Crownpoint.

“The courses available are slightly different at each location, essentially customized to meet the needs for students at each high school,” said Dr. Peter Romine, engineering instructor at NTU and Co-founder of SCEP. “In the spring 2018 semester, the dual credit students at Many Farms High school were learning construction technology as well as developing a solar system that included welding. These were considered as we created the program.”

At Many Farms High School, 15 students attend class daily selecting two courses in Engineering Graphics, Welding Principles, or Programming. The two courses translate to six credit hours, which are accelerated compared to the traditional delivery of credits over the span of an entire semester. The program for the 35 students at Wingate high school differs slightly from Many Farms in that students attend class at NTU’s main campus in Crownpoint, and are limited to one course in Navajo Government, Professional Baking Basics, Professional Cooking Basics, or Craft Skills.

Students and staff pose with Mythbusters television star Adam Savage at the Nation of Makers conference held in Santa Fe, NM on June 8-11, 2018. Many Farms high school students brought their welding creation for display at the conference.

While the majority of the summer program is confined to the classroom, NTU has found a way to incorporate unique learning opportunities for both schools. This past weekend, students partook in the Nation of Makers Collaborative Community-Wide Maker Convening (NOMCON) Conference in Santa Fe, NM where they were introduced to a variety of workshops and discussions that informed them about community building through making tools. Presenters stressed developing ideas that enhance the lives of individuals, and included the star of the television show Mythbusters, Adam Savage.

“Community Building is what we are doing at Many Farms High School,” said Many Farms welding instructor Harold Wilson, who attended the Santa Fe event.  “We are building a solar system at the school and hopefully expanding that into the community. The design was printed as a 3D mini prototype.”

The aspect of incorporating events like the Maker Faire into the summer program has resonated with students, and has contributed to a positive learning experience. “I really enjoy being a part of the summer enrichment program and it’s something that I feel that is going to benefit myself and our communities on the Navajo nation in the future,” said Wynoka Chee, a student at Fort Wingate High School. “The conference was a great experience for me and it has me thinking about what I need to do to prepare for my future.”

Organizers of the Summer Career Enrichment Program have received positive feedback on the program and are anticipating hosting another event next year. To learn more about Navajo Technical University’s Summer Enrichment Career Program (SCEP) you can contact the Program Manager Christine Reidhead at creidhead@navajotech.edu or visit the NTU makers website at www.navajotech.edu/makers.

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