RSU Pryor Hosts Mayes County Students at Summer STEM Program

Mayes County students took a hands-on approach to STEM last week by designing a city using renewable energy and resources at the annual Rogers State University Pryor Summer STEM Program.

Held July 27-29 at the RSU Pryor campus, the summer camp was open to students from fifth to seventh grades and focused on the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and their real-world applications with regard to renewable energy.

“The purpose of this camp was to teach its young participants about renewable energies, and to take what they learn about STEM disciplines such as electrical engineering, physics and math to design a renewable city using a model,” said Brett Rowh, RSU Pryor campus director.

Over the three days of camp, participants took their newly acquired knowledge about hydroelectric generators and powerlines, as well as energy transmission via wind and solar power to create a city powered by such renewable power sources.

A city designed to derive its energy from renewable sources provides the benefits of cleaner air and living spaces, while lessening the production of greenhouse gas emissions and leading to a low-carbon economy, Rowh said.

Due to the cost of the camp being a potential deterrent to some families, the university partnered with MidAmerica Industrial Park (MAIP) and the Boys and Girls Club of Green Country, who helped pay camp registration fees and material costs, as well as provided lunch for the campers.

“We’re very appreciative of our partners,” Rowh said. “That was quite an investment on their part, but they – like us – recognize the importance of teaching students about scientific and mathematical concepts in a very practical way – a way that they might not get from reading a book or listening to a class lecture – and in this, it can produce in them an interest in science or math that can stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

Sparking an interest in STEM in students at a young age can not only help shape the students’ academic careers but develop the workforce of the future, Rowh said.

“Knowledge in renewable energy is more important now than ever, especially to our partners at MidAmerica Industrial Park,” he said, “Exposing students to math and science at a young age and showing them how these disciplines can help them develop a desire to explore those fields further improves their chances of greater success in life and making an impact on their community and the world around them.”

RSU Pryor is the only university in Pryor and Mayes County, averaging 350 students each semester. The campus features both traditional and compressed video classrooms, a computer lab, testing center and science laboratories.

Learn more about RSU’s Pryor campus.