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Challenger Learning Center Looks to Gravitate Children Toward Science

Sunday, September 14, 2014
By Eladio Jaimez

ChallengerOfficials with the Challenger Learning Center at Texas State Technical College are targeting elementary students hoping exposure to the STEM (science technology engineering and math) field will pique an interest in the young minds at an early age.

"My Challenger Club" is a new after school program being offered by the Challenger Learning Center for students in grades K-4.

Once a month, students registered in My Challenger Club will visit the STEM lab on campus and concentrate on one of the four STEM fields.

Center for Science and Math Academic Advisor Rosa Serafin said a recent trip to a conference sparked interest in starting something geared toward younger students.

"We wanted to reach out to these young students who might not be exposed to these fields otherwise," Serafin said. "We're getting to them young, hoping that they'll then come take part in our summer programs and then maybe even enroll here at TSTC."

Every summer, the Center for Science and Math hosts TexPREP (Texas PreFreshman Engineering Program), a seven-week program open to students in grades sixth through 10th from school districts across the Valley. Students take math and science classes with an emphasis on engineering.

Serafin said My Challenger Club will operate on a probationary basis this first semester but officials are hopeful it will catch on and will be a precursor to TexPREP and other programs offered by TSTC.

My Challenger Club is currently accepting students but Serafin said they are placing a limit of 35-40 students for the first class.

"Our focus will be STEM and we'll be providing lessons and activities for the students," Serafin said. "Our ultimate goal is to have My Challenger Club every semester. And depending on the success of this first one, we might also increase the number of students we can take."

For more information on the Challenger Learning Center or to sign up for My Challenger Club, visit http://www.tstc.edu/harlingencollegeready.

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