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Problem solving and learning take the stage in a local celebration of National Engineers Week

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According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, there will be eight million jobs in science, technology, engineering and math in this country by 2018.

The Rachel Freeman School of Engineering focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education that would build an aptitude for these jobs. The school’s partnership with GE-Hitachi helped participants celebrate National Engineers Week with activities and presentations.  

Problem-solving is not only emphasized by GE volunteers and teachers during Engineers Week, but throughout the year. Fifth grader Walter Bell is learning where engineering is used and how it can be applied.

“It’s helping me learn how to do things on base-to-base basis, and about engineers around um, black history engineers and all kinds of engineers around the world and military engineers and all that.”

Bell even knew how to apply engineering to one of his dream jobs of playing football: “I might want to do engineering for the football league, like making new helmets and stuff or engineering that.”

James Parham, a startup test engineer at GE. says that while the program at the grade school level is excellent, there is a gap that can be filled at the middle school level.

“To follow the example here, even if we had just one middle school or one school at the next level that these kids could then transfer into if they wanted to pursue an education in science, technology, engineering and math focused only.”

Parham says that the gap might not be filled in again until high school or college and that keeping students engaged in these fields could help prepare for future STEM jobs predicted by the Commerce Department.

Jessica is a junior at UNCW pursuing a B.A. in communication studies with a minor in journalism. She worked on an audio project similar to NPR's StoryCorps over the summer where she interviewed mentors and their mentees on the UNCW campus. This project inspired her to work more with public radio and the media. She is also a contributing writer for the school's newspaper, The Seahawk. Jessica loves her job as a resident assistant, trying out new restaurants, working out so she can keep eating at new restaurants, and bringing news to the community.