HAMLET — Jeff Epps has concocted a plan to take over the world, one technologically zealous summer camper at a time.
OK, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s not hyperbole to say that Epps — former technology guru at Richmond County Schools and now master of the summer STEM camps at Richmond Community College — intends to mold children as young as third-graders into the experts our future economy will depend on.
“We’re going to give them a taste of the working world now,” Epps said Thursday of the summer slate of STEM camps being offered by RCC. “It’s great to do a STEM program — and everybody does one — but is it really preparing children for the real world?”
“STEM” stands for “science,” “technology,” “engineering” and “mathematics.”
RCC’s summer camps will explore such fields as architecture, coding, geospatial concepts (3-D printing) and geographic information systems (data mapping).
“Coding, electronics engineering (and) geospatial mechanical engineering … are the three core disciplines for robotics,” Epps said — and robotics is where local manufacturers plan to go, both to keep up with competition and to build a more reliable workforce.
Even robotic workers will need humans to repair them, Epps said.
The summer camps will mix age groups. The geospatial math class, for example, will comprise students in grades three through 12.
“We are not putting any limitations on our children,” Epps said. “Summertime (is) all about acceleration, not remediation.
“It’s great to challenge them and to push them into a new level of thinking.”
If Epps’s takeover plans succeed, he said, every student in Richmond County eventually will learn the soft skills necessary for tomorrow’s workforce before leaving high school. But for now, he’s concentrating on RCC’s Saturday Academy for STEM, and the summer camps that will be in their ninth iteration in 2018.
Following are RCC’s summer STEM camp offerings:
• Geospatial Math, June 25-28; for those in grades three through 12. Students will learn higher-level thinking skills that integrate 3-D scanning, visualization, printing and simulations. They will design and print objects in three dimensions.
• Architectural Design (prerequisite, Geospatial Math), July 9-12. Middle and high school students will explore basic design principles and techniques to create model buildings.
• Cracking the Code, July 9-12; for those in grades five through 12. Campers will learn about coding and video game design to enhance their math, logical-thinking, problem-solving and analysis skills. They will use their newfound skills in games that involve strategic thinking, such as chess, and will be able to express themselves artistically.
• Advanced 3D Modeling (prerequisite, Geospatial Math), July 16-19. The camp continues an examination of 3-D technologies, emphasizing industry-focused design concepts and 3-D printing.
• Robotics (prerequisite, Saturday Academy), July 16-19. Middle and high school students interested in programmable controllers and/or engineering will experience state-of-the-art robotics technology and learn the principles of industrial robots. The camp will emphasize programming skills, problem-solving and troubleshooting.
• Geographic Information Systems, July 23-26; for those in grades six to 12. The camp will introduce participants to GIS, used in industry, government and business to manage and analyze data by creating maps and 3-D scenes.
Each camp will run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Sessions cost $20, which covers lunch and a T-shirt. They will be in the Forte Building, on RCC’s main campus in in Hamlet.
To register, contact Alicia Butler at 910-410-1706 or [email protected]
For more information, or to view classes offered in Laurinburg, visit www.richmondcc.edu/stem.
Richmond Community College is once again hosting the RCC G.R.E.A.T. Summer Camps, which focus on science, technology, engineering and math, better known as STEM camps. To learn more, visit www.richmondcc.edu/stem.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-617-2673 or [email protected]