UMES, NASA partnership looks to create future STEM professionals with new summer program

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – “I know that I can get a better understanding about Physics if I look at some stuff with an engineering perspective,” Delmar High School Senior Karah Moses said.

That’s the goal of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s MUREP Program, providing students with an interest in STEM related fields exposure to a possible career path.

The nearly $65,000 funding the program comes from the Minority University Research and Education Project which operates through NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement. The university was one of ten Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU’s) chosen to receive funding.

“Not if I want to go to college but maybe what STEM program do I want to do in college,” Program Coordinator/ UMES Professor Dr. Joseph Arumala said.

In partnership with NASA, the two-week pre-college program has a goal to recruit and retain students that are underrepresented in the world of science, providing them with hands on experience by professionals already in the field.

“NASA wants to give them the opportunity to be involved in NASA missions as well STEM careers,” Dr. Arumala said.

Students will also get the chance to explore wind tunnels designed by aspiring professionals in UMES Engineering program. Those same STEM lovers are helping students in the summer program turn classroom projects into real world scenarios.

“We started with literally just a fan and we just framed it in,” UMES Sophomore Parker Wilson said.  “We’ll teach them what it means, what it does and the uses of it.”

Hands-on experience isn’t the only things students will be getting. “They’ll have research experiences if they want to be scientists, whether its aeronautics or aerodynamics,” Dr. Arumala said.

Kara Moses has been interested in science since she was just a kid and says opportunities like this one allow her to follow a dream, which increases the chances of seeing more professionals who look like her. “When opportunities like this happen, I really want to be on top of it,” Moses said.

“If I’m setting a path for other people like me, I just want to make sure that everybody can have a good life and be able to follow the path they want to follow.”

Students will also take a field trip to NASA Wallops to receive mentoring and job shadowing.

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