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The STEM Center works to develop programs, special events, and partnerships for and with our local community. The design of these opportunities is informed by the interests of our faculty and students, current research-informed recommendations on best practices in informal STEM education, and recognized opportunity gaps in our region. We aim for these opportunities to be sustainable and to benefit both our K-12 constituents and contributing JMU community members.

Programs and Events
On-Campus STEM Field Trips

We plan to bring middle and high school groups back to campus for STEM field trips in Fall of 2022. We are currently redesigning the on-campus STEM experience and look forward to launching this new set of opportunities for engaging our guests in real-world, authentic STEM practices and ways of thinking. Please check back in July for more information regarding the format and reservation process. 

For elementary grades looking for a STEM-themed campus visit, the John C. Wells Planetarium, Science on a Sphere, and Edith J. Carrier Arboretum will be open for K-5 field trips. We will share more information about these opportunities in July.

Annual Brain Bee

For students ages 13-19. This is a day of friendly competition, hands-on experiences in our neuroscience labs with faculty and students, and connecting with peers from across the commonwealth with similar interests. The winner competes in the National Brain Bee in April. There is no cost. This event is held on a Saturday from ~9-2 in early-mid February. See more about the JMU Brain Bee here.

Annual STEM Center Breakfast

We host an annual breakfast for connecting and professional learning on JMU's campus. This is an opportunity for K-12 STEM coordinators, team leaders, and other administrators from 13 surrounding school divisions to come together and share their ideas, success stories, and challenges. By inviting JMU STEM and Education faculty with interests in K-12 STEM outreach as well, we also provide a space for matching needs with opportunities.

This event includes a mini-workshop on a topic that aligns with current recommendations for enriching STEM education within the formal classroom environment. Recent topics include computational thinking and project-based learning in STEM.

The STEM Center breakfast is typically hosted in early April on a Friday morning from 8:30-11. The 2022 breakfast has been cancelled due to the challenge of finding substitutes that many of our guests are currently facing; we want to make sure this is an equitable opportunity accessible to teachers in all divisions. 

Current Partnerships
K-12 Schools

We partner with K-12 teachers in our local school divisions by participating in school STEM days, family STEM nights, STEM clubs, and regular classroom visits. These districts are: Rockingham County, Harrisonburg City, Staunton City, Waynesboro City, Augusta County, Page County, and Shenandoah County. 

Boys and Girls Club

Our partnership with BGCHR is facilitated by the JMU students in STEM Corps who provide weekly STEM programming at the Harrisonburg City Boys and Girls Club.  You can learn more in this news article and this short video,  celebrating one year of this partnership.

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