APL holds first STEM workshop for parents

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory last month held its first-ever Parent STEMpowerment Workshop, designed to help parents prepare their middle school children for science, technology, engineering, and math careers. Focused on educating parents and showing them resources that can support their student, the workshop was designed for individuals who have had little exposure to STEM or STEM careers.

Representatives from the Maryland State Department of Education, Johns Hopkins, Northrup Grumman, MESA, and the University of Maryland were among those presenting on topics that included "How Do I Get My Child on the Road to STEM Success?" and "What Do STEM Professionals Do?" A portion of the workshop was conducted in Spanish.

The event was free, and APL offered transportation to individuals who might have difficulty getting to the Laboratory.

"APL is pleased to help empower parents to support their children in STEM," says Dwight Carr, APL STEM Program manager. "Investing time and energy early in our kids' STEM education and development places them on the path to success and fills a growing, critical need for our nation."

APL recently launched a STEM website—jhuapl.edu/STEM—that provides information, tools, and activities for students, teachers, and parents. It also features an APL-created comic strip called Fifth Period, introducing a cast of teenage characters engaged in quirky and creative STEM-related activities and experiments. The website is designed to regularly provide fresh information and to make learning fun.

The APL STEMpowerment Workshop and the STEM website are products of APL's STEM Program Management Office, created in 2011 to help inspire, engage, and educate the next generation of STEM professionals. Its efforts, with the assistance of more than 500 APL staff volunteers, are focused on helping the nation face the critical challenge of creating a workforce educated and trained in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.