Athens State STEAM Roller provides year-round education opportunities to Limestone County’s youth, with a distinct focus on STEAM-based design thinking, community application, and career exploration. The STEAM Roller provides on-site, instructor-led activities with a mobile trailer equipped with supplies and opportunities such as virtual reality, additive manufacturing (3D printing), robotics, and computer-aided design (CAD) software to provide experiential learning.
The Athens State Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) exists to serve as the education and community outreach extension of the larger university. Located on the square in downtown Athens, the Center, through its programming, is often the first contact point between community members and the university. For the past six years, the Center has hosted summer youth camps to provide area youth with enrichment opportunities in the summer. On average, the Center reaches about 160 youth each year.
In the summer of 2021, the CLL revamped the summer youth camps to focus predominantly on STEAM-based programming. Despite the pandemic, record enrollment reflected a tremendous interest in courses such as coding, visual graphics, engineering, and movie-making. However, the camps’ location, cost, and availability are not accessible to all area youth. The lack of diversity among participants broadly illustrates this concept. These issues serve as barriers to the CLL reaching Limestone’s most vulnerable populations.
In 2022, Athens State received funding from Mazda Toyota for the creation of the STEAM Roller, a mobile STEM lab that will travel to Limestone County elementary schools and community organizations. The STEAM Roller visits schools, community centers, churches, and neighborhood organizations.
If you are interested in STEAM Roller projects with your organization, please contact Elizabeth Bowden at 256-233-8138 or Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org.