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STEMx Collaboration Kicks Off at OU INC

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
STEMx Collaboration Kicks Off at OU INC

On Thursday, April 3, OU INC hosted the kickoff meeting of the STEMx course – a collaboration between Oakland University and Birmingham Seaholm High School. High school juniors and seniors gathered at the incubator to meet their new mentors from the university and community in a program introducing them to research and data development in STEM – science, technology, engineering , and mathematics. Faculty, staff and businesses serve as mentors for “data experiences” for the students.

“The STEMx Research and Design course is a unique academic conduit between high school students and professionals in the STEM related fields,” says STEMx coordinator for Birmingham Public Schools and Course Instructor Doug Baltz. “This experience embeds authentic data collections/analysis with a number of mentors from the surrounding community. Each mentor provides their own "invitation to connect" to real world applications.

Representatives from the School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS) and the College of Arts and Sciences encouraged these students to make their ideas heard and conduct research as soon as possible. Associate Dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science Lorenzo Smith spoke of making good choices.

“Choose to get involved,” Smith said. “Make the right choice by putting your best effort into the work that you do.”

Bob Kittle, President and CEO of OU INC client Munetrix is also part of the mentor team. He emphasized not only the creation of data, but taking the next steps to understand and apply it – something that Munetrix does every day with their municipal economic forecasting tools.

Gary Rogers, Director of research at SECS, also encouraged involvement as soon as possible, saying that knowledge is gained through time and effort. “How you get there and the data you use to gauge the findings comes with experience,” said Rogers.

This collaborative program between Oakland and Seaholm will go for the rest of the school year, and is the first of this kind of program at the high school level and in collaboration with the university.