ABOUT US

Our primary goal is to create a sustainable and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program that will reach at-risk and under-represented middle school/high school youth to help prepare for the STEM employment requirements of the 21st century.

The Inner Banks STEM Center (IBX STEM) is located at the Washington Warren Airport, Washington, NC in Beaufort County. In addition to having a general aviation airport, Beaufort County has a complex system of navigable creeks and streams connected to the Pamlico River replete with marine life. Aviation, boating and commerce have a strong connection to many Beaufort County residents. 

Our program exposes youth who are facing socioeconomic/financial challenges (at-risk youth) and youth who are not considered at-risk, to careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), regardless of their race, sex or religion. The program is structured to take the mystery and apprehension out of taking a STEM course or considering a STEM career path. Many youth, especially at-risk, do not receive adequate family support or encouragement to consider a STEM academic course of study. Our objective is to create a sustainable and innovative STEM program that will reach all youth.

Providing support and self-confidence for our youth.

We encourage all students who attend our program to not be afraid to dream about their future. We explain how they should identify an academic course of study that they enjoy and use that as a basis to select a STEM career field.

We also stress to the students that education, not violence, hate or criminal activity, is the way to a better quality of life. 

We have one of the most unique STEM programs in the United States in which we incorporate lifeskills, STEM education and health concepts in our holistic curriculum. We incorporate a lot of confidence building hands-on experiences that demonstrate some of the fundamental scientific principles within the aerospace, marine education, and robotics industries. 

IBX STEM has served over 1,200 students and counting since it was formed in June 2012 as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. IBX STEM is uniquely situated to assure that middle school and high school students are aware, informed, and prepared to meet the academic and employment career path requirements that youth in the 21st century will face. 

Mentoring and instruction is facilitated by adults who are subject matter experts in STEM or STEM-related fields. Direct emphasis is placed on career exploration throughout our programs and all participating adults engage students in discussions about careers involving science.

Supporting a hands-on approach to science and math.

WHY STEM?

 

Beaufort County is a Tier I, 80% rural, economically distressed region of eastern NC. Approximately 6,900 students are enrolled in Beaufort County Schools, a school district in which over 70% of students are low income and qualify for free school meals. Many of these at-risk students “give up” and become complacent about their future and are underachievers. They receive little support or encouragement from their family structure regarding taking STEM classes in school or considering a science or technology career field. Our afterschool programs, summer camps and special STEM Career Day programs will provide the support and self-confidence the students need to take STEM courses and consider STEM careers.

Our STEM programs will demonstrate to participating at-risk middle school and high school students that education is the answer to a better future and a career in science and technology is a way to make that happen.

School testing data indicates that at-risk students, especially Black and Hispanic students, are lagging behind in the area of science and mathematics. Alternative learning strategies are needed to reverse this statistic and increase the student’s interest in science/technology. One answer is to compliment the in-classroom curriculum with an afterschool and summer STEM program like we are doing.

 

NC state test performance data results for 2016-2017 indicated that 75.5% of all 8th graders in NC achieved Grade Level Proficiency in Science versus 58.4% and 67.2% for Black and Hispanic students respectively. Among Beaufort County students, 65.5% of 8th graders achieved Grade Level Proficiency in Science while Black and Hispanic students scored 45.6% and 64.9% respectively.

 

Program Benefits for Youth

Direct emphasis is placed on career exploration throughout the programs. All staff members engage in discussions with the students about careers involving science. 

IBX STEM helps youth and their families realize that:

  • A STEM career is not just a dream. You can qualify with the proper preparation.    
  • Poor decisions as a youth can hurt you later; learn to make smart decisions now
  • Fitness, diet and healthy living are important
  • Passing a background check is required to get a STEM or first responder job
  • Relevancy of science and technology in daily life

Projected Outcome

 

This anticipated project outcome is that our programs will demonstrate to the at-risk students that education is the answer to a better future and a career in science and/or technology is a way to make that happen.

 

Program evaluation will be by pre and post quantitative and qualitative data gathering methodologies. Examples include handouts, focus groups, crossword puzzles, inter-active video, class discussions, hands-on team projects, staff observations, and class STEM projects. We will use these assessment tools to measure the students’ progress and comprehension of a STEM topic. This data will be collected and analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

 

The ECU-School of Engineering will provide student instructors who will provide feedback to the IBX STEM staff as to the effectiveness of the program. This will help to contribute to a successful program outcome.

Program History

In June 2012, our 501 (c)(3) nonprofit was formed. It was originially called the Beaufort County Police Activities leaque or BCPAL. Our objective was to create a novel youth program that would improve the relationship between first responders, the community and at-risk youth. The program would demonstrate to at-risk youth that education-not violence or joining hate groups-is the way to a better quality of life.

To accomplish this we created a unique “whole person” syllubus that would expose at-risk youth to a combination of Science, Techonolgy, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts, specifically aviation and boating, health and lifeskills. In 2015,  pursuant to our community service, we were selected as the “Nonprofit of the Year” by the Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce; our vision has continued to evolve since receiving this award to keep pace with community needs.

In August 2018 we changed our name to the Inner Banks STEM Center (IBX STEM). The name change did not impact or change our 501(c)(3) nonprofit mission; however the new name clearly reflects our STEM mission amd evolving mission. This includes working more with local busiesses and the academic community. Our primary goal is to create a sustainable and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program that will reach at-risk and under-represented middle school/high school youth to help prepare for the STEM employment requirements of the 21st century.