This year’s Rutgers STEM Ambassador program, an interactive, hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiative for mostly 9th and 10th grade students in a campus setting, drew about 60 participants from Atlantic, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic and Union counties.
Chad Ripberger, Rutgers 4-H agent from Mercer County, and Janice McDonnell, 4-H SET agent, co-founded this program in 2009 with the objective of encouraging young people to participate in and gain a better understanding of opportunities available in STEM. Following a week of immersive STEM activities taught by Rutgers faculty and graduate students on a range of topics, the teens return to their local communities as newly-minted Ambassadors, armed with a number of skills that they will pass on to other youths in their home communities. The Rutgers STEM Ambassador program was featured earlier this year in Connected Science Learning, a journal of the National Science Teachers Association.
Among the various interactive activities in which smaller groups of students participated this year was a full-day session learning about proteins. This session was taught by the Rutgers NASA-funded ENIGMA Education and Outreach team that included Shuchi Dutta, associate research professor in the Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine, Vikas Nanda, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Ken McGuinness, post-doctoral associate in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. These students, who had the unique opportunity to work on this immersive, college-level, proteins-focused ENIGMA project, were able to present their research during the STEM “Pursue” project poster session on the final day of the program.
This year’s closing luncheon, which drew 150 attendees, also featured each county represented in the program sharing its STEM Ambassador plans for the future and a keynote address from Samuel Frisby, freeholder from Mercer County.
To see pictures of each day of the week-long program held on the Cook Campus of the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, click on the following links:
Monday 7/8: https://photos.app.goo.gl/6Dayh3pMJmGpXBx67
Tuesday 7/9: https://photos.app.goo.gl/xQKh776pevFUjmQE8
Wednesday 7/10: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Jnew9iq7A2t1V4Jc6
Thursday 7/11: https://photos.app.goo.gl/6AtLGaFPV3fn3uYJA
Friday 7/12: https://photos.app.goo.gl/WqdzR1pD7otaMVMM7
Additional information on the STEM Ambassador program is available on Facebook and Instagram.