High School Students Participate in Summer STEM and Skills Program at NTU & Earn College Credit

Lakresha James of Tsaile, AZ makes a last minute adjustment to a solar go-kart her class had constructed from scratch. Lakresha was enrolled in three courses over the 4-week program, including construction technology, welding, and business.

Published July 2, 2019

CROWNPOINT, N.M. — Juniors and graduated seniors from Many Farms and Wingate High School took part in Navajo Technical University’s 2019 STEM and Skills summer program with the opportunity to earn up to 9 hours of college credit. This is the second year the 4-week summer program has been in operation, which introduces students to the fields of construction, welding, culinary arts, pre engineering and business.

Since the summer program began a year ago, enrollment has grown to 50 high school participants. The program’s curriculum emphasizes experiential education, and students are tasked with developing a project that incorporates elements of each academic course. Last year, students from Many Farms designed and constructed a 7.2 KW solar system, while this year, the focus was on developing solar go-karts that could be raced at the culmination of the program and featured at a community maker faire.

“What was neat about this year is we had our students staying on campus, which was a huge benefit because they were able to earn college credits that can be used toward earning a certificate,” said Dr. Peter Romine, professor and department head of NTU’s Electrical Engineering program. “They each earned at least 3 credits with some earning up to 9 credits.”

Each of the courses available to students were also offered last year with the exception of business courses in marketing and public relations and principles of management. The courses introduced students to entrepreneurship and how business could relate to the other summer courses being offered. Lakresha James of Tsaile, AZ was one student who enrolled in the business courses after she developed an interest in welding while participating in the summer program last year. James’s father, Rolondo James, is also welder, and so she enrolled to develop her business idea, Iron J Welding and Mechanic Shop.

“So far it’s coming out good,” explained James, who enjoyed staying on NTU’s campus during the summer program and plans to enroll in NTU’s welding certificate program in the fall. “My instructor helped me in putting things together with flyers, ads, business cards and what not. It’s improving so far. My dad told me to take advantage of [the program], and that’s what I’m doing.”

“The response was great and the students learned a great deal about how to market their own businesses and learn more about entrepreneurship,” added Christine Reidhead, chair of NTU’s Business and Education Department and coordinator of the STEM and Skills camp. “They had a variety of ideas for the types of small businesses they wanted and these courses allowed them to create their own plans for their business ideas.”

The summer STEM and Skills program is made possible through funding by the National Science Foundation, Pathways to STEM Careers project and the Transportation Workforce Project with the Mineta Transportation Institute and the U. S. Department of Transportation. To learn more about the 2019 Summer STEM and SKILLS at Navajo Technical University you can contact Dr. Peter Romine at promine@navajotech.edu or Christine Reidhead at creidhead@navajotech.edu.

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