Career Exploration

Individuals learn through experience. Career Exploration programs allow for people to gain experience exploring different types of careers through a process of experiential learning.

Experiential learning is often associated with problem-based, project-based, or inquiry-based learning, including authentic research experiences, making it well-suited for application to projects seeking to improve STEM retention (Breunig, 2017; Li et al., 2019). The high level of engagement created via experiential learning, coupled with the freedom to work on projects that are personally relevant, empowers learners to be active participants in their own learning and builds persistence and interest in science, including among youth from underrepresented backgrounds (Djonko-Moore et al., 2018; Matriano, 2020). The most effective STEM engagement programs pair hands-on experiences with social engagement, community, and mentorship (Djonko-Moore et al., 2018; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2020). Mentoring acknowledges the emotional aspects of learning that can aid in interest and retention (Kolb, 2015; Kolb & Kolb, 2005; Strange & Gibson, 2017).

STEMOVATION

STEMOVATION supports juniors and seniors in the STEM and Bio-Medical Allied Health (BMAH) Magnet programs at Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS). Each year, juniors in these programs complete a Community Challenge project, usually in pairs or teams. Often, these Community Challenges launch students’ senior Capstone Projects, which are heavily weighted in their grade average. There are always a handful of exceptional projects that need additional support outside of the district’s means, either through funding or direct mentorship from an industry professional. This program provides an opportunity for students to compete for these resources by creating a proposal and budget to present to a panel of industry experts. It provides students the funding and mentoring they need to develop innovative products, spur entrepreneurial spirit and keep young talent in Anne Arundel County.

Experiential learning is often associated with problem-based, project-based, or inquiry-based learning, including authentic research experiences, making it well-suited for application to projects seeking to improve STEM retention (Breunig, 2017; Li et al., 2019). The high level of engagement created via experiential learning, coupled with the freedom to work on projects that are personally relevant, empowers learners to be active participants in their own learning and builds persistence and interest in science, including among youth from underrepresented backgrounds (Djonko-Moore et al., 2018; Matriano, 2020). The most effective STEM engagement programs pair hands-on experiences with social engagement, community, and mentorship (Djonko-Moore et al., 2018; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2020). Mentoring acknowledges the emotional aspects of learning that can aid in interest and retention (Kolb, 2015; Kolb & Kolb, 2005; Strange & Gibson, 2017).

Teacher Externships

Howard County Public Schools and the Bright Minds Foundation work with the FMA member organizations to provide teachers a unique professional development opportunity connecting the classroom to the workplace. An externship provides and experience in which teachers spend time in the workplace to learn through direct experience about trends, skill requirements and opportunities in industries related to their subject to enrich and strengthen their teaching and bring relevance to student learning.

With a goal that students should be prepared for college or the workplace, teachers must constantly update their own knowledge and skills about workplace practices, requirements, and tools by gaining an “on the ground” understanding of economic and career trends that will affect their students. June Lee-Bayha, Senior Research Associate at WestEd, describes externships as a career-altering experience: “It energizes faculty. It changes the classroom dynamic when faculty become more like students and see what kind of world their students are entering. It raises the stakes of what’s being taught and can make teachers more empathetic to their students.” This increases the relevance of student learning and preparing them for current workplace trends.

STEM Core

Comprised of two separate components — STEM Core Bridges and STEM Core College — this program advances remedial students to mathematical proficiency at an accelerated rate.

Meade Cyber Lab

Located at Meade High School and made possible through a Local Development Council grant in partnership with Ft. Meade Alliance, the Meade Cyber Lab provides students the opportunity to use cutting edge technology to learn relevant industry skills. In its inaugurate year, the lab will provide a space for two new cybersecurity courses: Cybersecurity: Global Impact & Ethics, and Cybersecurity: Intro to Linux. This space will also provide classroom teachers the opportunity to introduce students to cybersecurity through one-hour sessions with a dedicated CS/IT educator and guest workshops from industry personnel. In following years, students may enroll in an expanding repertoire of dedicated CS/IT courses where they can earn industry certifications like IT Fundamentals and Security+, as well as college credit from Anne Arundel Community College.

Latest News

Create better workdays in 2024

Seizing the opportunities, overcoming the challenges and managing the stresses of business in 2024 will require some rigorous and healthy work practices. During a recent FMA Micro Business Mentorship event,…

Read more

Women in STEM

Read more