Neither the chill of the Windy City nor the snow-covered streets in winter keep the students of team B3AST from entering the hallowed halls of Chicago State University (CSU). Within the confines of this state-of-the-art institution of higher education, sixteen high school students gather to prepare for success in the twenty-first century.
Team B3AST is part of the PREP Program at CSU. The Prep Program aims to motivate students into pursuing STEM degrees and choosing STEM careers. While the university sponsors several STEM activities, the Ten80 Education curriculum is a major component of the program.
On the weekends, and sometimes during holidays, these eight females and eight males take on challenges and leadership roles. First introduced by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), team advisor Marnie Boyd brought Ten80’s Student Racing Challenge to the student members of NSBE Jr. Before too long, Boyd discovered Ten80 Education empowered ALL students to thrive in a world of constant innovation with a whole suite of curriculum packages.
“Most other STEM options offer one challenge,” shared Boyd. “The Ten80 Education program offers something for everyone. In addition to math and science activities, students get the opportunities to explore, to develop technical skills, and learn how to create a business plan.”
Team B3AST is now in their fifth year of competing in the National STEM League (NSL). For years, the students focused on completing projects as outlined by the Ten80 Racing curriculum. Having advanced in their skills and abilities, the students were eager for more. Adding the Student Rover Challenge Boyd emphasized, “The Ten80 Program offers exciting hands on engineering projects that stimulate learning and requires coursework that prepares students for STEM careers.”
Boyd has witnessed her students continually performing well in their academic courses. She has also seen more and more of them selecting engineering and other science or math majors in college. “Ten80 is helping students gain the confidence and the skill set needed to handle the challenging academic course work required as a STEM major,” gladly shared Boyd.
Elated to see students learn from the activities presented by Ten80, Boyd finds it most rewarding to see the collaborations between students and the lasting friendships they develop. “The Ten80 Education program has been an amazing resource in helping pre-college students learn – in a fun way – challenging math and science concepts,” said Boyd. “Students are learning STEM concepts and do not mind spending their time on the weekends doing math and science. The indispensable skills the students are gaining by participating in the Ten80 program are the key skills required to succeed in college.”
Students are thriving in the program Boyd offers. Gaining important critical thinking and career-building skills, they are quickly becoming next gen thought leaders. “Since joining Ten80 education, I have developed STEM skills and presentation skills,” said 12th grade student Tracey Sneed. “I have learned how to become a team player and learned that I have a competitive side. I enjoy learning about STEM especially when competing in the Ten80 NSL Competitions.”
It is clear team B3AST loves to compete in the Ten80 NSL Competitions. Each year they strive to be the best and often find themselves on the leader boards. Seeing so many benefits beyond the many wins over the years, the team inspires Boyd to keep coaching the next generation of engineers and scientist.
Words of wisdom for other aspiring coaches, Boyd shares “Let the students lead the projects and solve the problems presented by the curriculum. When they take control of the projects, they become much more invested and strive harder for excellence.”