Building Human Capital with Science

2 minute read

Most people don’t think about science when buying cosmetics or hair care products. But students who attend SciTech Institute are exploring these ideas.

Young students learn the importance of science in a variety of fields and careers, and the integral role science plays in their daily lives.

Three times a year the institute gathers students, business professionals and faculty from Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Wake Forest School of Medicine to focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

A partnership with the North Carolina Science Festival and SciWorks in the spring will teach students about science in a two-day academy using popular television shows such as “CSI” and “MythBusters” as the basis for classes during the minicamp.

In June, students will gather for the Summer Institute at Wake Forest Biotech Place. For two weeks the camp offers activities aligned with North Carolina public school curriculum organized by grade levels. The schedule includes outside field trips and other activities. “We try to expose students to careers in aviation, information technology, biotechnology and other STEM careers to give students an authentic experience,” said Denise Johnson, EdD, associate professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Counseling and Professional Studies at Winston-Salem State University.

Johnson and other women faculty and professionals who work in STEM fields are role models to female students who attend. To engage that population, classes are taught on the science involved with making lip-gloss, eye shadow and similar products.

In November, students meet for one to two days to develop, design and conduct science and math experiments. College math and science majors work with the students and build human capital in the process. “We have heard of companies wanting skilled professionals in these fields,” Johnson said.

“This is one way we can impact business development and economic security in our county by showing students they do not have to go out of state to have a career in these fields. They learn that the possibilities are endless when they see a ‘day in the life’ of an engineer, scientist or researcher.”

All camps are free with the exception of the summer camp, which is $10. Pre-registration for all camps is required. Register by calling +1.336.750.2377. SciTech camps are for grades four through 10.

Photo courtesy of SciTech Institute