New extension of Trio, STEM Academy


Photo by: TRIO instagram

Featured above is the STEM academy students on a trip to visit the University of Arkansas. Photo credit to the LCC Instagram page.

Story by McKenna Hodges, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Starting in November of 2019, the TRIO talent search program launched a STEM-based club called The STEM Academy. This program is available for the students of seven school districts that the TRIO program serves. STEM Academy Project Director Daneen Landis-Coover says that the program was started to give a place to focus on STEM-based activities. 

“The TRIO Talent Search STEM Academy is a select group of 20 students with the focus to promote STEM-focused activities,” Landis-Coover said. “With an emphasis on computer science, to increase student’s interest and familiarity with the use of fundamental scientific understanding and laboratory involvement, technological computer coding, fundamentals of engineering and mathematics.” 

After receiving a stem grant from The Department of Education of $35,000, Landis-Coover was able to start the application process for students interested in STEM. 

“We utilize a curriculum and training method,” Landis-Coover said. “By hands-on activities and labs, visiting research and science labs at local university campuses, exploring science and technology museums and career spotlight field trips to STEM centered organizations and businesses.”

Senior Natalie Talent has been a STEM academy member since the program first started in her sophomore year. 

“We focus a lot on our future plans and how we can make an impact through science technology, engineering, and math,” Talent said. “We also do other activities, for instance, we went indoor skydiving, and afterward they gave us a lesson on aerodynamics and had a great demonstration show.” 

We focus a lot on our future plans and how we can make an impact through science technology, engineering, and math,

— Natalie Talent

Talent said that the biggest benefit for her was being able to attend the college tours. 

“We get to experience many things that we may not been able to if we weren’t in the program,” Talent said. “The trips are paid in full, including hotels and meals, which makes it a good opportunity for students who wouldn’t usually be able to afford the college visits. 

Senior Rose Scott joined this year and said that the program has helped her prepare for college. 

“There are scholarship opportunities for those in the STEM academy, it’s a great resource for college readiness,” Scott said. “They help you with applications and admissions.” 

Scott encourages students to apply to be a part of the program for next year. 

“I would definitely urge kids to join this amazing program,” Scott said. “ It’s an amazing opportunity that not a lot of students know about.” 

Landis-Coover said she was surprised by the feedback given by the students involved. 

“I thought I knew just how big the STEM world was but I have been surprised at the specific areas our STEM students are interested in,” Landis-Coover said.  “They are figuring out their passions and are asking to visit specific places, these students are brilliant and driven.”