April 19, 2012
By Kendal Kuehler | Ranger Reporter
Despite it being a cloudy Saturday, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics club and several other zoo volunteers banded together in an effort to clean up Thompson Lake.
STEM is a new club offered at Amarillo College that helps students majoring in science fields to get grants for college.
The club, founded two semesters ago, is working steadily at planting its roots, said Rebecca Mitchell, STEM secretary and a biology major.
The STEM program has 200 people, but the club has only 10 active members with plans to continue growing in coming semesters.
STEM members and future prospects meet at noon every other Thursday in room 012 in the Lynn Library basement. STEM is looking for officers for next semester.
STEM’s long-term goal is to establish itself in local school districts to help motivate and encourage youth to pursue higher education.
Meanwhile, STEM is working on achieving its short-term goals, such as establishing relationships with the community, Mitchell said.
Volunteer work such as cleaning up Thompson Lake is part of STEM’s plan to increase community interaction.
The Amarillo Zoo also organized a group to help with the cleanup project. Several members of the community along with a couple dozen local teenagers gave up their Saturday to help the cause.
STEM members said volunteering gives the club an opportunity to expand and connect with a variety of people.
One of the cleanup leaders was Jim Hammons, a past AC student. Hammons referred to himself as “the biggest kid ever” and “a professional aggravator.”
Hammons a retiree from the Navy, is an associate pastor at an Amarillo Baptist Church.
STEM gives the members many opportunities and helps Amarillo’s community.
Two of STEM’s members agreed that their favorite aspect of STEM is the club’s advisers.
Reggie Martinez, an engineer major, said the advisers helped him map out his entire college plan and that they have been more than helpful.
“It keeps you on track and is very helpful for planning for the future,” he said.
Jose Lira, an engineering major, said he likes being able to go to talk to the advisers.
Lira said the advisers are accessible and knowledgeable.
The college has emphasized STEM-related education in recent semesters. AC received a five-year, $4.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to aid its programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
For more information on STEM club or any AC club, visit www.actx.edu/activities.