Hampton Roads business leaders host STEM camp to inspire local youth


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — As the engineering and technology industries grow, there will be a bigger demand for workers.

That’s why Hampton Roads business leaders hosted a STEM camp to inspire young minds.

LEAD Hampton Roads, a program through the Chamber of Commerce, created the camp.

They teamed up with Norfolk State University and the Boys and Girls Club to show about 100 kids how much fun science, technology, engineering and mathematics can be.

Middle schoolers may already have an idea what they want to be when they grow up.  

“A WNBA player,” camper Tyona White told WAVY.com.

But the camp Monday at NSU opened up a new world of possibilities. “We hope that we are planting the seed of STEM within them,” said Jerry Sekerak, one of the camp’s coordinators.

From programming and coding a drone to hit a specific target to expanding their minds with nanotechnology, the students laughed and learned a lot.

Volunteers showed them how hydrogel in baby diapers works to absorb all that, well, you know.

They also learned cybersecurity, and how to make an Ozobot move.

“In life, if you don’t try new things, you won’t know how to do it,” said camper Sebastian Barton.

Who knows what the future holds? “So many things that haven’t been invented yet, so many things that haven’t been fully developed yet, these are the young minds of the future that are going to help us create those things and further develop them, and make them even better.” Sekerak said.

What they learned here could help them compete in the new economy and the hands-on approach is often a game changer.

“The only thing I don’t like about science is when my teacher just talks and we don’t do experiments. I like the experiments,” White said.

That’s why she can also see herself as a teacher someday.

The camp was free for the kids to attend, made possible by a lot of big local sponsorship including Newport News Shipbuilding, NSU, the Children’s Museum of Virginia, Clark Nexsen, Dominion Energy, Franklin Johnson Group, Land Planning Solutions, Naval Information Warfare Center, 
Rose & Womble Realty, Wolcott Rivers Gates, Cl Russell Group, LLC, and On Point Communications.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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