Today is National STEM/STEAM Day, a calendar observation devoted to promoting the importance of educational programs that focus on and integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — plus art in many circumstances. A recently completed CTA project, St. Ignatius Catholic School in Meridian, ID, deploys “STREAM” education, integrating the aforementioned subjects with religious curriculum.
CTA’s educational design teams believe every learning environment should be viewed through a unique lens, weighing priorities most important to specific students, faculty, and administrators, and the communities and environments in which they sit. However, we find when planning environments that will feature STEM programs (and their many variants), the encouragement of collaboration and the harnessing of the interaction of the multiple subjects brings great value to the students, but also the facilities.
Further, we have seen evidence that STEM is often solely associated with students preparing for — and currently enrolled in — four-year college programs. While it is highly appropriate in these circumstances, STEM is by no means limited to this educational trajectory.
Alan and Nathan Bronec, both team members hailing from CTA’s office in Missoula, MT, serve as mentors to Missoula High School’s Robotics Team #3216. It began in 2009 when Nathan, a team member at the time, suggested Alan — a CTA principal and veteran electrical engineer — consider a leadership position with the group. They have both remained affiliated with the team since, and fellow Robotics Team member-turned-CTA-employee Michael Kaufman has since rejoined them in an advisory capacity. John Luoma has also begun to serve as an advisor for the team this year.