With constant changes in the healthcare industry affecting a variety of aspects in our lives, it is surprising to think the next generation of life sciences professionals are sitting in classrooms right now. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education has never been as important in developing students’ skills that will prepare them to become the next healthcare professionals, biomedical engineers, pharmacists, and more in the life science industry as it is today. To capitalize on the MCA’s effort to support the life sciences industry and workforce in the El Paso/Juarez region, the MCA STEM Innovation Lab hosted a summer HealthTech STEM Camp to create an opportunity for students to be exposed to different areas of healthcare that they wouldn’t have elsewhere.
MCA’s HealthTech is a one-week STEM camp that introduced twelve middle school students to the power of technology in healthcare through exposure to the life sciences industry, distinguished guest speakers in cutting-edge fields, programming activities, and a unique and challenging robotics competition. Over the course of a week, the students prepared their own unique vision for a transport robot inspired by the real-life T.U.G. medical transport robot used in hospitals around the country. To win the competition, the students took inspiration from real-life medical technology to assemble their robots from scratch, program them to work effectively using VEXcode, and innovate to push their creations to their limits. While many STEM camps are based around an individual’s progress in learning and lessons, students at the MCA HealthTech STEM camp were assigned to groups early on and learned teamwork and perseverance to compete with their peers.
The MCA STEM Innovation Lab fosters a uniquely collaborative environment where students learn to work together to take on challenging tasks. The skills that the students developed allowed them to expand their perspective and learn perseverance and resilience. Additionally, students learned and adapted new problem-solving strategies reminiscent of the strategies used in science and tech companies around the world. Industry leaders gave students exposure to the world of STEM and the innovations that are shifting the field, from rapid DNA cloning to supercomputers. In addition, with the support of Workforce Borderplex Solutions, students were exposed to El Paso’s regional workforce statistics in the healthcare and biomedical industry.
The MCA hopes to re-introduce one-day STEM camps this upcoming fall semester for middle school classes across the region. The MCA STEM Innovation Lab Camp focuses on the introduction of different life sciences objectives and careers to middle school students. The STEM Innovation Lab is FREE to attend and attends one class per day. For updates on the STEM Innovation Lab or to learn more, sign-up for our newsletter at the link below contact Vianey Romo, MCA Workforce Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.