UNCW STEAM Team Brings Inspiration and Opportunity to High School Students

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The College of Arts and Sciences will welcome 28 ninth- and tenth-grade students to campus June 22-28 for UNCW STEAM Team. During this summer program, attendees will learn science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship, arts and math in a fast-paced university environment. STEAM Team encourages standout students from populations underrepresented in universities and colleges to pursue higher education and a variety of career paths.

A cross-campus committee led by Aswani Volety, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, developed and launched STEAM Team in 2018, focusing on introducing potential first-generation college students to UNCW. This year, STEAM Team has returned with the goal of becoming an integral part of the university’s community engagement efforts.

“STEAM Team immerses students in a university campus environment and provides them with opportunities to engage in hands-on learning across academic disciplines,” said Volety. “We hope the experience inspires these students to pursue higher education and explore a variety of career paths in the future.”

During the program, STEAM Team participants will live in a residence hall and learn in UNCW’s labs and classrooms. Each day students will attend fun, educational sessions designed to showcase the synergy of STEAM. This year's sessions include a virtual reality and video game design workshop; a hands-on nursing lab experience; marine biology study at the Center for Marine Science; arts projects with DREAMS of Wilmington; an ocean plastics seminar from Tricia Monteleone, vice president and public relations coordinator of the Plastic Ocean Project; and the newly added entrepreneurship day at Tek Mountain, made possible by a generous donation from the Beck Foundation, where local entrepreneurs will mentor the students on business planning.

The program is free for admitted students, who have passed through a vetted application process seeking student leaders interested in STEAM, who understand and embrace how their life experiences have created who they are.

“The idea of the application is a prequel to college applications,” said Michelle Scatton-Tessier, associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and STEAM Team founder. She hopes that completing the STEAM Team application will make applying to college less daunting for first-generation students.

Through partnerships within the university, such as translators provided by Centro Hispano, a unit within the UNCW Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion; as well as engagement with community organizations like DREAMS of Wilmington, STEAM Team strives to serve this diverse group of students and families in new ways. This effort supports the university’s commitment to community engagement and its strategic goals to attract and retain diverse students of the highest quality, and to prepare these students for post-graduation success. These values and objectives are outlined in UNCW’s Strategic Plan.


--Victoria Gonzalez '20