ASU Summer STEM Academy welcomes high school students


STEM Summer Academy students, left to right, Trinady Gonzales, Amber Michel, Cedric Perea, and Adelaine Sowards, work on a collaborative project

Trinady Gonzales, Amber Michel, Cedric Perea, and Adelaine Sowards, work on a collaborative project.

The Adams State University Summer STEM Academy welcomed high school students to campus for a week of classes and activities, from June 13 through June 18.

The Adams State Title V Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Center hosted 23 incoming sophomores, juniors, and seniors from local school districts including Alamosa, Antonito, Centauri, Centennial, Del Norte, Moffat, Monte Vista, Mountain Valley, and Sierra Grande High Schools.

There is no cost for academy participants. Elaiza Gallegos, an incoming senior at Centennial High School, has attended the Summer Academy for three years. "I love meeting new kids and getting the feel of the college atmosphere and expectations." She plans on majoring in pre-med or engineering in college.

The students, divided into four groups, presented final projects in biology, chemistry, computer science and mathematics, to parents on Saturday, June 18.

Speakers Marissa Atencio, RN; Dr. Tyler Ratzlaff, veterinarian; Jason Lorenz, agro-engineer; and Joe Valdez, pharmacist, provided information on STEM careers during evening presentations. Adams State faculty Dr. Chris Adams, assistant professor of chemistry; Dr. Meredith Anderson, assistant professor of mathematics; Dr. Comfort Cover, assistant professor of management information services; and Dr. Matt Steffenson, assistant professor of biology; with assistance from teaching assistants and counselors Alejandro Torres, Danielle Karlin, Jamie McMullen, Sarah Terrell, and Casey Veneman, taught STEM classes and mentored the students.

Caleb Berlinger, an Alamosa High School incoming senior, said his favorite aspect of the academy was meeting new people who share his interest in learning. "The academy has been a lot of fun."

Along with classes the high school students participated in a biology field trip, enjoyed a Sonic Drive-In ice cream break, and a barbecue picnic in front of Zacheis Planetarium. They also spent free time in the Student Union Building Loft, at ABC Bowling, and watched a planetarium movie and viewed stars through telescopes at the ASU Observatory.

The students experienced life on campus, staying in a residence hall and dining in the campus cafeteria.

Title V STEM staff, including Marcella Garcia, project director; Simona Guillen, activity coordinator; and Shanda Taylor, project specialist; were pleased with the turnout and the interest and commitment of the students.

In October 2011, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Adams State a $3.6 million grant from the Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) STEM program. The five-year grant has funded several initiatives to help more Hispanic and low-income students earn a STEM degree. For more information contact Guillen at 719-587-7586.