Climax-Shelly Public School STEM Grant Helps Students Prepare for Careers
The Climax-Shelly Robotics Team got more than a $5,000 grant when American Crystal’s Stephanie Sand and Lisa Borgen visited the school on Feb. 19 to present a check to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning in the classroom.
They also learned a lot about how skills they’re acquiring now will help them later in STEM-related careers.
Sand, who presented the check to team advisor and science teacher Karen Thoreson, is a chemical analyst at the Moorhead factory and a former high school robotics competitor. She explained that while she didn’t realize it at the time, she was learning skills she uses on the job today. She also told the students robots are doing more and more work that used to be done by humans. Borgen, vice president of administration, briefed the students on the many STEM-related career opportunities at American Crystal.
Climax-Shelly is using its grant funds to support a robust robotics team. Robotics has been offered as an extracurricular activity since 2008 and the school has competed in BEST Robotics at the local and regional levels every year. Students who participate in BEST, a multi-faceted competition, learn to analyze and solve problems and develop the technological literacy skills in such high demand in today’s industry workforce.
The team currently consists of 23 students, representing about one-quarter of the 7-12th grade student body. It’s aided by three teacher/advisors and two community mentors.
American Crystal’s grant award will allow the group to purchase CAD (computer-aided design) software and textbooks, which is expected to help students create detailed drawings and further improve the team’s performance scores in competitions. During the visit, Sand and Borgen got a firsthand look at the team’s 2015 robot and other competition components.
Six schools are receiving $5,000 grants for STEM-related education provided through the Community Roots Giving Program, which has recently been expanded to deepen American Crystal’s commitment and impact on the communities where its employees live and work.