The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC students help STEM program for high schoolers

By Jamil Oakford/ managing editor

TCC students took out seven weeks of their summer break to assist high school students in TexPrep, a STEM-intensive program on South Campus.

TexPrep provides program assistants so students can ask for any help they need. These program assistants are TCC students who not only plan to go into education but are also involved in STEM-related studies.

“The students definitely identify with them,” program director and South community and industry director Alisa Jones said. “It also gives them [program assistants] clarity for what they want to do.”

Program assistants like Everett Jackson believe that is one of the best things he learned about himself through the program.

“I realized that I would make a great science teacher,” he said. “During my time, I realized I could relate science to middle schoolers and high schoolers. That was a key component in making sure they took away something from the lessons.”

The students are working toward high school credits but also get to learn more about science, technology, engineering and math career paths.

“Monday through Thursday from 8 to 3, students are in classes during the summer,” Jones said. “They get to take logic classes and everyone enrolls in a research and development class.”

Minoring in both math and science, Jackson had a blast working on final projects with the students during the research and development class.

“My students did a cardboard boat regatta,” he said. “We had to research materials that would make the boat more buoyant.”

But his favorite part was the velocity tests.

“It was fun to get to see them understand the importance of getting it right the first time,” he said.

Final projects are expected out of all the participants. Placed in groups, they decide what they will create. These projects can range from a pinball machine to a boxcar or a cardboard boat.

Final projects were also a favorite of program co-coordinator Erika Zimmermann. She said final projects are a great way to see how far the students have come in seven weeks.

“They put a lot of dedication into their projects,” she said. “They learned how to scale, what designs work best since there was a lot of tweaking of the projects.”

Jackson said this program is beneficial on many levels.

“They’re going to receive high school credit, receive feedback from their peers and it’s not a traditional school,” he said.

Zimmermann said the program’s biggest selling point was how relatable the material is for the students.

“They get to see how engineering and science can affect their everyday life,” she said.

TexPrep was a program South hosted years prior to the summer of 2014. Last year, South president Peter Jordan asked Jones to restart the program. The program hosted 110 students its first year.

Jones considered the number of returning students this year to be a success in her efforts with the program.

“It was rewarding to see 41 students returning after a grueling seven weeks last summer,” she said.

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