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Taking Student Innovation to New Heights

What do a composting system for a school cafeteria, a model of a human leg, a glove that can sense electro-magnetic fields and an experiment to test the prospect of using fungi to pull heavy metal out of the soil all have in common?

Each are ideas proposed by Anne Arundel County Public School (AACPS) students for projects that they developed as part of the STEM and Bio-Medical Allied Health Magnet programs at Glen Burnie, North County and South River high schools.

And each received a monetary award to take their existing project and research to the next level as part of STEMOVATION.

STEMOVATION, a joint program with the Fort Meade Alliance (FMA), AACPS and the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) seeks to connect students to local career opportunities by providing them initial funding and connecting them to local industry professionals. These local professional connections and support encourage students to remain local, which fuels the pipeline of innovative professionals entering STEM careers in the region.

In early January, nine student teams met with the STEMOVATION Advisory Board to pitch their projects and request funding and mentorship connections.

Students had just five minutes for their pitch, followed by a short Q&A session with board members to clarify aspects of their proposals. Comprised of individuals representing fields across industry, the 9-person board provided specific feedback to each group to help them refine their ideas.

“I didn’t realize high school students could think like that. I love the ideas they came up with. Some of them are really patentable,” said Roxanne Wood, STEMOVATION Advisory Board member and President and CEO of Boeing Intelligence & Analytics. “When I graduated from college, I had no clue about the working world. Having all of us there to give feedback gets students to understand that it is not just about doing projects at school, but thinking about dependencies and liabilities.”

With financial contributions provided by FMA board member John McBeth, 5-star partner Boeing Intelligence and Analytics and member company Aronson LLC, the STEMOVATION Advisory Board awarded a total of nearly $2,500 across the participating teams.

Student teams that received funding will implement their plans in the coming months, while those receiving mentorship connections will continue to refine their ideas until they have an executable plan in place. At that time, they may have the opportunity to reapply for specific funding.

The Fort Meade Alliance thanks all of the
STEMOVATION Advisory Board participants

Mark Carpenter
Senior Business Development Manager

Sharde Estep
System Engineer

Joseph Kovba
Principal Software Developer and Solutions Architect, Leidos

Brian Lynch
Vice President, Human Resources
UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center

John McBeth
Executive Director – Technical Mission Systems

Maureen McMahon
Deputy Superintendent for Academics & Strategic Initiatives
Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Kyle McQuighan CPA
Strategic Relationship Manager
Aronson LLC

Will Metts
National Security Alliance Executive
Amazon Web Services

Roxanne Wood
President and CEO
Boeing Intelligence & Analytics