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Design Challenge to test students

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The South Edgecombe STEM Design Team works with ABB consulting engineer Austin Morris.

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From Staff Reports

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Twin Counties STEM Design Challenge will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Rocky Mount Event Center.

Middle school teams from Edgecombe County Public Schools and Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools will be competing for the first time in a STEM Design Challenge. The students in grades 6-8 have been challenged to build an object using K’NEX, a versatile, creative construction product. Based on the novel “Holes” by Louis Sachar, the team’s challenge is to design and build a moving mechanism.

Each STEM team is sponsored by a local industry or company. The teams have been collaborating with consulting engineers from their sponsor company on their design and engineering concepts since January.

Students have not only been exposed to area STEM career opportunities but are also learning about the companies and products produced locally. Along with a STEM skills gap that must be addressed is a soft skills gap. The STEM Design Challenge will also offer students practice in interviewing, team building and effective communication and public speaking.

“Students cannot prepare for jobs or careers they do not know about,” said Pam Gould, executive director of the Strategic Twin County Education Partnership. “Collaborating with local business partners provides much-needed career awareness and knowledge, products and the economic impact of them.”

Team Sponsors are Barnhill Contracting Co., Cummins-Rocky Mount Engine Plant, ABB of Pinetops, Keihin Carolina System Technology, Edwards Inc., Pfizer, Oakley Collier Architects, LS Cable & System. The awards sponsor is Suddenlink by Altice.

Grant funding from Edgecombe Charitable Trust and Futrell-Maudlin Community Foundation help make this learning experience possible.

The Strategic Twin Counties Education Partnership is improving the educational opportunities for students in the Twin Counties area — from cradle to career — by facilitating collaboration between schools, community colleges, community-based organizations and employers.

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