3 students listening to a mannequin
Seventh grade students listened to heart and lung sounds on simulations in BCCC's nursing program, one of four stations to help expose students to science, technology, and engineering careers.

Inner Banks STEM Center, BCS & BCCC Partner for STEM Event

The Inner Banks STEM Center, Beaufort County Schools, and Beaufort County Schools partnered to bring two hundred seventh graders from Beaufort County onto the campus of BCCC to learn first-hand about the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics career options available at local businesses and in health fields. Representatives from Nutrien, Avient, the BCCC Nursing Program, and Bunyan Volunteer Fire Department took students through explanations and experiments to help demystify science and engineering and help them envision future local careers and the education to get them there.

President of the Inner Banks STEM Center Al Powell emphasized the importance of bringing them onto a college campus, possibly for the first time.

“A major misconception about the STEM field is that careers require a four-year degree. Beaufort County Community College has some exceptional two-year programs. The Beaufort County School System has a Career & Technical Education program, CTE, who we work with very closely,” he said.

“This gives [students] an opportunity to see the campus, talk to some of the instructors, walk around, eat lunch here and experience a little bit of college life from the middle school perspective,” Victoria Hamill, Director of CTE, Workforce, Innovation and STEM for Beaufort County Schools said. “So, it’s a great introduction for them.”

The presenters included women and people of color to show the growing diversity of the people who work in the field and to encourage more participation in STEM fields from young women and students of color.

Students walked through how a new compound could be extracted at Nutrien’s mine in Aurora, N.C. from assessing what kind of equipment or structure would be necessary for extraction, designing a new structure using CAD (computer-assisted design), to permitting it, engineering it, building it using welding, and then using science to continue to improve on the efficiency of extraction process.

Representatives from Avient demonstrated Dyneema ®, an engineered fiber that is lighter and stronger than steel that has applications in ballistic personal protection, marine infrastructure, and industrial protection.

With the help of the Beaufort County Association of Nursing Students (BCANS), students could listen to a variety of breath sounds and heartbeats on simulation mannequins and to learn to access their own pulses. They discussed what health issues are associated with different sounds.

The Bunyan Volunteer Fire Department in association with BCCC’s Fire and Emergency Training Program looked at some of the technology used in rescue operations and protective gear.

The goal of the Inner Banks STEM Center is to create a sustainable and innovative science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) enrichment program with a focus on reaching at-risk under-represented fifth-ninth grade students to help prepare them for 21st Century STEM careers.

Beaufort County Community College offers a variety of STEM programs including, but not limited to, electrical engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology, medical laboratory technology, information technology, associate degree nursing, and transfer degrees for students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in fields such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, or engineering.