As a kid, Todd Ensign’s propensity and curiosity for science earned him the nickname “Space Cadet” from his classmates.
“I would sit at my desk and draw pictures of rockets,” said Ensign.
Today, Ensign’s imagination and ingenuity have taken shape as a livelihood focused on fostering an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields among elementary, middle and high school students through his role as Program Manager of the NASA IV&V Education Resource Center.
This summer, Ensign and the ERC will be bringing STEM education to Fairmont through an event called Destination SPACE – Satellite Week, a satellite technology camp hosted in coordination with Global Science & Technology Inc., Destination SPACE and Fairmont State University.
The University’s residence halls will house high school students attending the five-day residential camp as they learn about everything from remote sensing and 3D printing to model rocketry and robotics from prominent NASA scientists as well as professional engineers, educators and former Satellite Week campers.
“What a special week this will be,” said Mirta M. Martin, Fairmont State University President. “The campus will be positively humming with youthful energy, as these young students explore the exciting world of STEM. Fairmont State is committed to educating and preparing young people not just for the jobs of today, but also for STEM-related careers that haven’t yet been invented. I can’t think of a better place for these bright, young minds to start than Destination SPACE.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s Destination SPACE event was held virtually. This year, Ensign is looking forward to having in-person interaction with the students. Campers will participate in team-building activities, complete hands-on projects and take field trips to locations like the West Virginia Robotic Technology Center at the I-79 Technology Park.
“Our mission is to engage, inspire and educate our youth so they can pursue STEM degrees and career pathways,” said Ensign, who is also a member of the faculty at Fairmont State. “We place an emphasis and focus on recruiting underrepresented populations and making opportunities available to students so they can learn about things like remote sensing, computer-aided design, soldering, coding and other skill sets that will hopefully gear them toward a career in one of the areas of STEM.”
Satellite Week runs Monday, July 12 through Friday, July 16, but students are expected to arrive on campus on Sunday, July 11. A limited number of students are accepted to the camp, and those who are interested must submit an application by Sunday, May 30 to be considered. The cost to attend is a $200 donation. For more information or to apply, visit www.destinationspace-stem.org/summer-programs.
The ERC will also host a variety of other programs throughout the summer, including:
- Virtual Coding Camp from June 14 through July 2 as well as July 12 - 30
- Robotic Day Camps in Morgantown (June 7 - 11), Charleston (June 14 - 18), Fairmont (June 21 - 25), Martinsburg (June 28 - July 2) and Huntington (July 19 - 23)
- World Robot Olympiad Boot Camp at Fairmont State University from July 26 - 30
To learn more or to register, click here.