RCC students embrace STEM Education as wave of the future

RCC students at STEM Day

RCC students toured the VSU campus and met with faculty in the STEM field.

When science fiction turns into science fact, it takes a new generation of minds to help fill the many jobs that have not even been imagined yet. Students from Rappahannock Community College are at the forefront of this change, and will be among the leaders of tomorrow who fill these new careers.

For tomorrow’s jobs, RCC students need training today.  Their employment will depend heavily on the skill set known as “STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.” To get more information about STEM-based careers, many of these students journeyed on October 17 to “STEM Day” at Virginia State University, one of the Guaranteed Admission Agreement (GAA) partners who provide RCC students with  paths to continue their education.

STEM Education Day featured various programs offered at VSU, among them biology, computer science, math, economics, chemistry and engineering. RCC students met with such VSU faculty members as economics professor Dr. Ceslav Ciobanu (who worked for former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev), and Dr. Benedict Uzochukwu. Students in his program, Dr. Uzochukwu mentioned, can build race cars from scratch, and can also serve Fortune 500 companies at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, a VSU partner.

RCC students also took a tour of the VSU campus, where they got a first-hand look at some of the high-end engineering and manufacturing equipment available for students’ use.

“Our students were fascinated with the opportunities,” said Lorraine Justice, who serves RCC as administrative officer of the Student Support Services program. “We are excited about the opportunity to expose our students to STEM educational and career opportunities, including scholarships and internships.”

Among the RCC students who attended the trip were:

  • JaCinta Ball (Westmoreland)
  • Chyna Byrd (Essex)
  • Talia Lopez (Warsaw/Richmond county)
  • Crystal Fortune (King and Queen)
  • Kris Martin (Lancaster)
  • Karina Martinez (Warsaw/Richmond county)
  • Dianshe’ Nelson (Colonial Beach/Westmoreland county)
  • Marlen Silva (Westmoreland)
  • Justin Todd (Mathews)
  • Kashoula Veney (Essex)
  • Josh White (Gloucester)

RCC student Justin Todd attended STEM Day to find out what jobs might be available outside of his chosen field of Criminal Justice. He said that the trip did not disappoint.

“I thought it was a pretty cool thing to attend — I learned a lot, especially how much math is involved with pretty much everything,” said Todd. “I went to learn about other opportunities and I came away with knowledge on many different aspects of STEM careers.”