Citadel STEM outreach prepares future employees for SC tech companies

Students from St Andrew's School of Math and Science compete in the Trebuchet competition at Storm The Citadel 2017

As heard and seen on South Carolina Radio Network, by Renee Sexton

The STEM Center of Excellence at The Citadel is preparing people of all ages for jobs that a growing number of businesses throughout the Lowcountry need to fill.

Dr. Jennifer Albert, Director of the STEM Center of Excellence at The Citadel said it was originally organized because the college recognized a need for outreach programs for K-12 participants in the Lowcountry. But eventually, those programs expanded to include people of all ages.

“Some programs such as our Storm The Citadel event, bring thousands of people to campus,” she said.

Storm the Citadel Robotics Building
Storm the Citadel Robotics Competition

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.

“We’ve had great support from a number of businesses, a number of schools, the number of industry partners in the area that are in the STEM fields is absolutely phenomenal but they’re having a lot of trouble finding enough employees to fill the spots that they have,” Albert said. “Trying to build that pipeline to make sure that the Volvos, the Boeings, the Googles have the employees down the road that they need to continue their companies’ growing.”

The STEM Center offers various programs for students of all ages, and teachers. The effort is to make programs free or low-cost to participants.

“Teachers don’t have the time or the expertise to be aware of every single job that hey could possibly prepare students for, so that’s kind of a bridge that we fill is helping them understand the jobs that are in the area and the certifications and the training that the students may need.”

Albert said a program is available through the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce that educates students for jobs local businesses need to fill.

“In a lot of cases they can start working in high school with paid internships, get certifications and an associate’s degree for free with the internship programs and come out with a great-paying job and absolutely no debt,” she said.

Saturday, December 15, The Citadel STEM center hosted Cookies, Cocoa and Coding from 10 a.m. – noon at Thompson Hall for K-12 students and their parents.

Storm The Citadel and other 2019 STEM events sponsored by the college

February 9 – Storm the Citadel Competitions (grades K-12, college, and industry)

February 23 – Regional Science Olympiad Competition at Newberry College (Div. B & C)

March 2 – Regional Science Olympiad Competition at The Citadel (Div. A, B, & C)

March 16 – State Science Olympiad Competition at The Citadel (Div. B & C)

May 11 – KidWind Competition at The Citadel

Summer STEM Camps – Posted here in Jan. 2019