Middle school and high school students and teachers learned STEM skills through hands-on research projects in federal laboratories

Students and teachers from U.S., around the world attend Joint Science and Technology Institute

High school students at the Joint Science Technology Institute meet Eric L. Moore, Ph.D., director at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and guest lecturer, during their first week at the Institute at Harford Community College.

Aug 8, 2017

BEL AIR, Md.—Sixty high school students, 30 middle school students and 10 high school teachers from around the U.S. and as far away as Italy and South Korea recently attended the Joint Science and Technology Institute (JSTI) in separate sessions to expand their knowledge and experience in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and managed by ORAU, the JSTI research programs were held at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, the Army Research Laboratory and Harford Community College in Maryland.

The JSTI for high school teachers and high school students was a two-week, fully-funded residential research program for students and teachers in the United States and in U.S. Department of Defense schools around the world. The program, which took place July 22 through Aug. 4, included projects such as the development of an in vitro diagnostic device for blood-brain and intestinal barrier models, 3-D printing and design, and environmental water quality.

For middle school students, the JSTI experience was a one-week, fully-funded residential STEM challenge program that provided them with opportunities to complete challenges and projects. By doing hands-on projects, students developed problem-solving and collaboration skills. The middle school program, which took place July 30 through Aug. 4, focused on 3-D printing, forensic chemistry, and the technology and engineering of drones and pinewood derby cars.

“By providing students and teachers with the opportunity to be immersed in STEM research and professional lab environments, we are providing them an experience that will excite them about science and encourage them to pursue STEM careers,” said Marie Westfall, who manages the program for ORISE.

The high school students and teachers gained experiences in world-class laboratories and collaborated with research scientists. They learned new skills and conducted STEM research. Middle school students were introduced to STEM research as they worked in small teams meant to inspire them to continue their STEM education in the future. The program encouraged all of the participating students to pursue STEM careers, provided an awareness of career options and helped students gain confidence in their own abilities. Teachers carry this experience and knowledge back to their classrooms to engage students and to guide students with STEM career paths.

See a complete list of JSTI student and teacher participants

Media Contacts

Pam Bonee
Director, Communications
Office: 865.576.3146
Phone: 865.603.5142

Wendy West
Manager, Communications
Office: 865.576.0028
Phone: 865.207.7953

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asset that is dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research, and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews, and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environmental contamination. 

ORISE is managed by ORAU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, for DOE’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.osti.gov.