Students, teachers and industry mentors were part of a unique federal opportunity to expand students’ knowledge and experience in science, technology, engineering and math this summer in the Joint Science and Technology Institute (JSTI) at Harford Community College.

The students collaborated with scientists and conducted research activities in laboratories at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Biological Center, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the University of Delaware, and Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland. Projects included robotics, environmental water quality, microbiome-based antibiotic discovery, prototyping, and 3-D printing and design.

Harford County students participating included Kyra Bray, Edgewood High School; Chloe Marini, Edgewood High School; Lilia Dalton, Havre de Grace Middle School; Mario Nandalal, Harford Day School; and Tyler Kenney, St. Joan of Arc School.

Mentors from the APG laboratories and industries across the nation joined teachers in introducing students to the discoveries and hands-on exercises that sparked their curiosity and imagination in the STEM areas.

Pamela Pape-Lindstrom, dean for Harford Community College’s STEM division, said “We are pleased to continue hosting JSTI, which gives local students, students from around the world, and teachers from across the country exposure to research activities in an advanced STEM education setting.”

The educational research outreach, held July 27 through August 9, was a fully-funded federal research opportunity for middle and high school students and high school teachers from the United States and from U.S. Department of Defense schools around the world. It was sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Joint Science and Technology Office – Chemical Biological Defense in partnership with Harford Community College, and managed by Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. The programs helped students and teachers gain confidence in their own abilities, provided an awareness of career options, and encouraged pursuit of STEM careers.

“By immersing them in STEM research and activities in professional lab environments, these middle and high school students became excited about science and felt encouraged to investigate STEM career opportunities,” said Marie Westfall, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education K-12 section manager.