JKCF Grantee Helps Middle School Students Explore Interests in Space Engineering & Robotics

hboheaderNow that school is back in session, students are inevitably asked: “What did you do this summer?”

For 30 talented and gifted middle school students in Prince George’s County, Maryland, the answer to that question included challenging and inspiring time spent working with robots and practicing skills that could benefit them one day in careers in engineering and science.

Students in the “Center for Space Engineering: Robotics” program designed, built, and programmed robots that were able to scan a simulated lunar surface. The realistic scenarios required students to learn to work with sensors and 3D mapping techniques.

The students had access to a special science learning center, a planetarium, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Visitor Center. They also had the opportunity to interact with engineers, an astronaut, and other science-related professionals. This wonderful experience will surely help motivate some of the participants to pursue careers in the STEM fields.

The 10-day program was held at the Howard Owens Science Center. The program was one of the Maryland Summer Centers, which offer other such programs for students interested in the sciences, arts, and language.

Click here to read an article from a local newspaper that covered the program.

Foundation Partnership

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s grant supported the creation of several centers including the Center for Space Engineering as part of our support for Project Connect–a Maryland State Department of Education initiative to give high-achieving, low-income students in Maryland the opportunity to attend a Maryland Summer Center for Gifted and Talented Students (MSC). In summer 2014, the Foundation grant enabled MSC to provide financial aid to over 140 students in Maryland to participate in unique enrichment opportunities at many MSC program sites.

About the Foundation’s Summer Enrichment Program

This program was one of the many exciting summer programs funded through the Foundation’s Summer Enrichment Grant Program.

High-quality summer learning programs can spark student curiosity and passion, augment academic achievement, nurture intellectual peer support, and influence educational and career trajectories. In focus groups conducted by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, high-achieving students have consistently identified rigorous summer enrichment programs as among the most important and valuable experiences during their middle and high school years. Research is clear on summer programs’ ability to stave off summer learning loss, and evidence is growing to delineate the specific benefits of summer programs for academically talented students.  Unfortunately, high-quality summer enrichment programs remain out of reach for many low-income, high-achieving youth who cannot afford the tuition and related costs of residential programs or whose local community does not offer a program specifically geared toward such students.

Through the Summer Enrichment Program, the Foundation supports nonprofit organizations or universities who provide access to high-quality summer enrichment programs for high-achieving, low-income students entering grades six through 12.

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