Through an educational collaboration with Moraine Valley Community College, Community High School District 218’s STEAM camp, students in grades third- through eighth-grades have been learning more about science, technology, engineering, art and math this summer. (Supplied photos)

Through an educational collaboration with Moraine Valley Community College, Community High School District 218’s STEAM camp, students in grades third- through eighth-grades have been learning more about science, technology, engineering, art and math this summer. (Supplied photos)

MVCC, SD218 team up for summer STEAM camp

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Larry Langellier, professor of Computer Science at Moraine Valley Community College. instructs students at Shepard High School as part of the D218 Summer STEAM Classes.

By Kelly White

Through an educational collaboration with Moraine Valley Community College, Community High School District 218’s STEAM camp students from third- to eighth-grade have been learning more about science, technology, engineering, art and math this summer.

These fields are providing students with the opportunity to gain exposure to the cutting-edge field of STEAM, according to Larry Langellier, professor of Computer Science at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills.

“The two biggest benefits students receive from our STEAM classes are for them to see how fun STEAM can be and to also be introduced to a wide variety of applications of these disciplines,” Langellier said. “Students in this age range are forming interests that will become the basis for deciding what courses to take in high school, what major to pursue in college, and what careers interest them. The more exciting experiences they have, the more likely they are to consider careers in STEAM.”

Langellier has been teaching at Moraine Valley for 23 years and is the founder the Adventures in STEM Academy, a program he started up 20 years ago. He has been the lead instructor for the STEAM camps at District 218 since their inception in the summer of 2017.

The program started with a single camp for rising seventh- and eighth-graders. It has expanded to six camps each summer and now includes rising third- to eighth-graders.

Each camp was free to attend and was offered for three to four days within a single week (12 hours total). A total of six camps were offered this summer at each of the three district high schools — Dwight D. Eisenhower, Alan B. Shepard, and Harold L. Richards.

Topics covered within the program included: LEGO robotics and engineering, game programming, Origami, digital art, engineering challenges like bridge building, paper airplanes, houses of cards and more.

“Students attending these camps are shown the fun side of the important STEAM subjects they are taught in school,” Langellier said. “If they haven’t already considered a STEAM field as something they would like to do in the future, we hope to trigger that thought for them.”

Teaching the courses, alongside Langellier, are his daughter, Alexis (Lexi) Langellier and Ruby Radosevic.

Lexi, who is pursuing a PhD in Computational Math at Northern Illinois University and teaches college credit courses as an adjunct, has been assisting with Adventures in STEM courses at MVCC for more than 10 years and has also assisted with the STEAM camps since their inception.

Over the past four years, she has progressed to lead instructor for many of the program’s math, technology, and engineering courses. She has also developed new courses — especially ones focused on the creative application and intersection of art with STEM, including math poetry.

“The biggest thing students get from these classes is exposure to the various STEAM topics and activities,” Lexi said. “STEAM jobs are in high demand and pay very well, but it’s very overwhelming trying to narrow down what direction to take. When students take these classes at a young age, they are given an advantage by finding what they are passionate about early and are able to learn more about opportunities and gain experience.”

Lexi said another positive benefit of the program is getting more young girls interested in STEAM.

“I like this program because of my passion for getting more women in STEAM,” she said. “While this program is open for both boys and girls, I think giving girls the opportunity to see what STEAM is really like, how fun it is, and how much creativity is involved helps get more women in STEAM.”

The camps will continue to be offered annually over the summer and co-instructor, Ruby Radosevic, said that is a great thing.

“The STEAM camps allow for students to try hands-on activities that they normally may not have the opportunity to in the classroom,” Radosevic said. “It’s also a nice way to keep students’ minds active over the summer break by providing them with different ways to learn about the STEAM topics we teach.”

STEAM, Radosevic said, prepares students for strong futures in the worlds of science, technology, engineering, art and math.

“Speaking from my own experience, I remember taking classes when I was younger that helped me discover my interest in science well before high school, and helped me to be more prepared when it came to choosing what to spend my time specializing in for school,” Radosevic said. “Trying out the different topics we teach gives students an idea of what they may or may not be interested in while giving them hands-on practice with various subjects.”

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Through an educational collaboration with Moraine Valley Community College, Community High School District 218’s (CHSD218) STEAM camp, students in grades 3rd through 8th have been learning more about science, technology, engineering, art and math this summer.

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Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound June 12, 2024

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