By Stefanie Farrell and Kim Chaney-Bay
STEM Scouts is a national program aimed at helping students in grades 3-12 grow in character and skills as they explore their curiosity about STEM fields. STEM Scouts meet weekly or bi-weekly in groups called “labs”.
The labs, which are led by Lab Managers, provide opportunities to interact with science, technology, engineering, and math professionals while actively participating in fun, hands-on, interesting experiments that teach STEM-related concepts. Young people who join STEM Scouts develop leadership skills, display confidence, realize their skills and limitations, respect others’ opinions, become problem solvers, look for opportunities to serve, demonstrate good citizenship, and show integrity in all phases of their lives. It is hoped that student participants’ growing knowledge will translate into the STEM-related careers that are so crucial to our country’s future economy.
On March 27, LDA Engineering hosted the 2018 STEM Scouts Leadership Award Dinner in the 510 Center building at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville. Students from the STEM Scouts lab at Clayton-Bradley Academy presented recently-learned lessons for 101 dinner guests, including parents, LDA staff and other industry/ business leaders, K-12 teachers, university faculty, and Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority staff. Educators from Maynard Elementary School talked to the audience about how the STEM Scout lab at their school had enhanced the overall achievement of participating students. Later in the evening, the organization bestowed its highest honor, the “STEM Scouts Leadership Award”, on Dr. Wayne Davis, past dean of the Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee and currently the interim chancellor of the flagship campus, for his support of STEM Scouts.
In addition to celebrating the year in STEM Scouts, the annual dinner also serves as a key fund-raiser for the program. This year’s dinner raised $8,965, adding on to previously raised funds and helping the program become well on the way to meeting its 2018 campaign fund-raising goal. The funds that are raised are set aside to provide full memberships to families that would not be able to afford STEM Scouts participation fees for their child/children. According to James Gaddis, BSA District Executive, through its fundraising efforts the organization has insured that no child has been turned away from STEM Scouts due to financial constraints.
STEM Scouts is a program of Boy Scouts of America. For more information on STEM Scouts or to contribute to fundraising efforts, please contact James Gaddis, BSA District Executive, at (865) 603-4149.