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QCC Taking STEM to STEaM with Innovative “Build Your Own Electric Guitar” Class; Successful Pilot Will Transition to Credit Class

Contact: Cherie Ronayne
Office of Institutional Communications
508.854.2849
cronayne [at] qcc.mass.edu

Release Date: 
7/28/2014

Worcester, MA – July 28, 2014 – At the final day of class for an innovative QCC pilot program, Build Your Own Electric Guitar on July 24, ten students received certificates of completion and later staged a jam session  with their newly finished guitars.  QCC is leading the area’s post-secondary educational institutions with a solid commitment to STEaM by introducing innovative classes like the Build Your Own Electric Guitar Class, under a new initiative called the STEM Starter Academy.  President Gail Carberry participated in the jam session, strumming a “Wyvern” branded guitar and singing the blues.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives at the College have blossomed into a multidimensional objective to integrate art into the mix, effectively creating STEaM learning opportunities.

The focus of STEaM is to ultimately secure U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics fields and identify promising strategies for strengthening the educational pipeline that leads to STEaM careers. To further this mission QCC has begun construction on a new QuEST (Quinsigamond Engineering, Science and Technology) Center facility at its 670 West Boylston Street location. The QuEST center will allow QCC to grow and support additional STEM classes and a growing student body with state-of-the-art technology.

QCC’s STEM Starter Academy (SSA) was developed to support STEM initiatives at the college, reflecting the intention of the Massachusetts legislation to advance excellence in STEM Education. SSA offered three new Bridge programs over the summer. Thanks to a performance grant, classes were free of charge to all students.  The three, free Bridge Program classes included: Introduction to Biotechnology, Introduction to Computer Systems Engineering Class and Build Your Own Electric Guitar. Students in both the Introduction to Computer Systems Engineering Class and Build Your Own Electric Guitar classes walked away with custom built PC’s and electric guitars, along with specialized knowledge on the construction and technology as well as the art related theories behind the products. More information on QCC’s STEM Starter Academy can be found at: http://www.qcc.edu/academics/stem-starter-academy.

At the recent jam session, student Noah Salowicz remarked on the conundrum of learning important science and math theories, but never having the opportunity to see them in practical applications. Mr. Salowicz said,
“As students, we spend a lot of time learning and only wondering if we’ll ever put the information to good use. Here, with this class, what we learned we used in a very concrete way. I finally had an opportunity to put concepts to work in a real-life example and watch as it unfolded into something very useful – something I really understand.”

Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.