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Program helps develop the minds of future engineers

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UVU PREPbr(Pre-freshman Engineering Program) is a free STEM Summer program for middle andbrjunior high students, which provides three summers of rigorous academicbrinstruction, hands-on educational projects, challenging homework assignments,brdaily career awareness, and field trips.

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The summer programbrlasts about seven weeks each summer in June and July. Nebo has approximately 75brstudents enrolled in the STEM summer program any given year. It is alsobravailable to Alpine and Provo school districts students.

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The students arebrrequired to have good math grades and a teacher recommendation. The programbrallows incoming seventh, eighth, and ninth-grade students with an interest andbraptitude in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields to receivebraccelerated curriculum in preparation for high school and higher education.

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UVU PREP strives tobrprovide opportunities for underrepresented and first-generation students tobrpursue STEM studies and careers. A lot of students apply to the program eachbryear, but UVU is not able to accept all of them.

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Nebo gives thebrstudents one science elective credit if they complete the program. Mostbrstudents apply to the summer program for a STEM challenge. These students enjoybrsolving hard problems and learning curriculum they won’t see again untilbrcollege.

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The STEM summerbrprogram is advantageous on a college application. However, some join becausebrtheir friends are joining, others because their parents make them. “

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All said and done,brno matter why the students attended UVU PREP, the students who finish say theybrloved the challenge of the advanced courses; and that they made a lot of goodbrfriends in the process,” stated Sam McGrath, English teacher at Salem JuniorbrHigh in Nebo School District and a teacher at the UVU PREP.

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“It’s a greatbrprogram with a fun staff. The teachers love teaching it. I would say that mostbrof us look forward to teaching at UVU PREP as the school year winds down. A lotbrof kids are sad to end after their third year too,” McGrath said.

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This summer program isbra STEM program that teaches beyond the basics. For that reason, first-yearbrstudents take an Engineering class and a Logics and Reasoning class which isbreasily the hardest thing the students have learned to this point.

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In year two, thebrstudents take what they learned in Logics and apply it to their AlgebraicbrStructures class, Physics, and Problem Solving classes. The third and finalbryear, the students end with Probability and Statistics, Computer Science, andbrTechnical Writing.

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All of these classesbrtry not overlap the curriculum that the students will learn in the regularbrschool year. Most kids end their third year saying that Logics was theirbrfavorite class. Also, students listen to a daily career speaker, someone whobrworks in a STEM field who speaks to the students about what they do and whybrthey enjoy it.

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Every Friday, thebrstudents take STEM-focused field trips.

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Darwin Deming,brphysics teacher at Springville High in Nebo School District, said, “My favoritebrpart is seeing the growth of the students where they start wide eyed withbrconfusion; but in the end they are focused, determined, and capable ofbraccomplishing the work. The students say they really enjoy the program, theirbrteachers, field trips, and projects. They enjoy making new friendships across thebrthree districts that attend.”

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Suzanne Kimball, Nebo Curriculum Coordinator, said, “There was anbroverwhelming energy from the students, their parents, and the teachers andbrstaff who participated in this year’s camp. After the celebration andbrgraduation ceremony, students wearing ‘STEM is My Super Power’ T-shirtsbrdemonstrated their final projects from all their classes. You can’t help but bebrproud of them.” (Submitted to Serve Daily by Lana Hiskey.)

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