Middle school students study STEM
IRVING, Texas- Irving ISD has once again joined with North Lake College to offer the Texas Prefreshman Engineering Program. Officially known as TexPREP, this academically-intense summer enrichment program provides middle school students with the opportunity to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in a college setting. The program begins as a seven-week session that can continue for three summers, each year building on the previous year.
“This is the age where they can still be influenced that science is cool,” says Monica Atwell, a science instructor at North Lake College. “Their minds are open to learning and their attitude is too.”
Thanks to the generous support of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, a total of 51 students were accepted into this year’s program at North Lake. Eligibility includes factors such as age — students must be entering 7th, 8th or 9th grade—and strong grades in school, especially math. The TexPREP program includes course work, team projects, class presentations, career seminars, and educational field trips. Irving ISD provides transportation, while NLC contributes classroom materials, space to learn and staff assistance.
“The TexPREP program makes science approachable and fun,” explains Atwell. “For example, when the kids build solar cars, they see that the sun has power to create movement and provide transportation. They see science is more than theory, it can makes things go.”
TexPREP is a component of PREP-USA, a national program with an emphasis on increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. Since 1979, 81 percent of TexPREP students have been members of minority groups and 54 percent have been women.
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North Lake College is a member of the Dallas County Community College District. Educational opportunities are offered by the Dallas County Community College District without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or gender expression.