STEM meeting set

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 25, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
KANNAPOLIS ó Community leaders from a variety of backgrounds will gather next week to brainstorm about local STEM ó Science, Technology, Engineering and Math ó initiatives.
Dr. Carol Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, and Dr. Dari Caldwell, president of Rowan Regional Medical Center, are hosting the meeting at the collegeís biotechnology building at N.C. Research Campus.
ěSTEM is the wave of the future, we know that,î Spalding said. ěNow we need to come together and do something about it.î
The meeting, set for 4 p.m. Aug. 3, will include feedback from everyone, from faith-based leaders to economic development officials.
ěThe goal is to ensure all of these community leaders are committed to promoting STEM education in order to positively impact Rowan and Cabarrus counties and to determine some next steps for how they can do that,î Paula Dibley, public information officer for the college, said.
Spalding said with 79 percent of Rowan-Cabarrus graduates coming from STEM fields, the college is hoping to bolster its STEM initiatives.
ěWith our second set of graduates from our biotechnology program at NCRC and a LEED-gold (certified) classroom and laboratory building, we are emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math more than ever before,î she said.
Members of the Cabarrus-Rowan community STEM design team will also give updates about upcoming programs.
ěItís a good time to check in on progress and needs,î Dibley said.

The Rowan-Salisbury School System will give an update on one project.
School officials will provide information about the districtís $300,000 Golden Leaf Foundation grant titled ěLeveraging our Biotechnology and Motorsports to Maximize STEM Performance.î
Anne Ellis, science specialist at Horizons Unlimited, said the grant will serve eighth-graders, 16 each from North Rowan, Erwin, Corriher-Lipe and West Rowan middle schools, in under-represented populations such as girls and economically disadvantaged students.
ěThe curriculum modules include scientific method, fitness, innovation and technological design, physical science content, kinesiology and integrated mathematics,î she said.
Ellis said in the fall, students will complete the modules and the pre-fitness assessment, which includes a treadmill, strength and bike performance tests, at the Human Performance Lab at the Research Campus.
During the spring semester, students will take part in an engineering and design challenge to enhance their cooperation, communication and teamwork by working with a pit crew in a competition at Rockingham Dragway.
ěThis is a wonderful opportunity to provide a ëhookí for students to look forward to coming to school and doing some real-world science application,î Ellis said.
The district is also planning to turn Knox Middle into a STEM school.
Details of that transition have yet to be announced.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.