Jobs in the STEM fields — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics —have grown 28 percent since 2000, compared to just 6 percent in other fields, according to the 2016 U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index.
But there’s a problem. The growth of STEM jobs is far outstripping the number of available graduates.
Lawrence Technological University (LTU) has responded by creating the Richard E. Marburger STEM Center, which will support the long-existing STEM outreach programs at LTU and introduce new programs.
Sibrina Nichelle Collins joined the university as the Marburger STEM Center’s initial executive director.
“The Marburger Center will be the intellectual home of all the STEM activities taking place on campus,” says Collins. “The center will be focused on inclusion, excellence, creativity and innovation, and outreach will be a major component.”
The Marburger Center will be the intellectual home of all the STEM activities taking place on campus.
– Sibrina Nichelle Collins
Collins notes that LTU already has several STEM outreach programs operating at the K-12 level, including Robofest, a low-cost competition for student-built autonomous robots. Robofest was created by LTU computer science professor C.J. Chung and the school’s Blue Devil Scholars program, which is designing a pathway to STEM college courses for students at the Detroit Public Schools’ Sampson Webber Academy. In addition, there are numerous LTU summer science camps for high school students. LTU also hosts The Engineering Society of Detroit’s Engineering SMArT Michigan program, an energy-efficient home design challenge for high school students.
Eventually, Collins says she’d like to see the STEM Center’s activities leading to more students from underrepresented groups attending LTU and earning STEM degrees. She says there will be further outreach to the Detroit schools and Southfield public schools.
The STEM Center, as part of LTU’s new Taubman Complex, will also be home to “cool science demonstrations to engage the community,” says Collins.
Overall, Collins is looking to give more area students the chance to experience Lawrence Tech — a place where, “the students are very driven and they know what they want. I think that’s what’s really exciting about the student body here."