Thanks to the Education Foundation’s Discover STEM camp funded by the Pisgah Health Foundation, one high school sophomore has realized she has a knack for programming. Jennifer is a student of the Henderson County Early College and she attended the high school STEM Camp the week of July 26th. Camp instruction was structured around drone programming and flying. Students spent Monday through Wednesday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm immersed in engaging STEM education. On Thursday, they spent 8 hours in Pisgah National Forest at the Fish Hatchery, searching for microinvertebrates in Davidson River, and swimming at Coon Tree Picnic area.

One of the goals of STEM Camp was to provide a sense of purpose and social connectedness. Jennifer noted that at first she was feeling shy and nervous because she did not know any other students attending camp. By the end of the second day, she started to build community and trust with other campers.

Jennifer was also nervous because she had not spent time coding or programming since elementary school. Throughout the week she grew in her confidence and skills and realized at the end of the week that she had an interest and a talent for programming.

One unintended result of the project was providing a STEM camp experience after the pandemic. Jennifer commented, “Attending camp was the highlight of my summer vacation and it rose my spirits after the past year of learning during the pandemic. The STEM camp was both educational and fun.”