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A&M-Commerce inspiring M2T2 campers

By Brent Lyday

Commerce – Students from Cooper and Commerce Independent School District are in the midst of the Maximizing Motivation, Targeting Technology (M2T2) summer camp at Texas A&M University-Commerce. The camp is an innovative program targeting technology to motivate students to pursue careers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) workforce.

"Students learn about science and technology in order to generate interest in the STEM field," said Dr. Gil Naizer, A&M-Commerce associate professor of curriculum and instruction. "The hope is that they are inspired to go to college and major in these areas."

The M2T2 program is funded by the National Science Foundation and provides year round programming following an intensive summer camp for teachers and students from middle schools in northeast Texas. The primary purpose of the program is to "exploit" the cultural phenomenon of gaming and technology and relate it to real world of math and science concepts.

"Our focus is on computer programming with Gamemaker and Lego Robotics, along with other science and engineering activities," Naizer said.

Overall, Cooper and Commerce ISD each have 18 students in grades 6-8 enrolled in the camp that began June 7 and lasts through June 18. Two middle school teachers from each district are also attending.

Dr. Brent Donham, A&M-Commerce head and associate professor of industrial engineering and technology, is co-hosting the M2T2 camp with funding from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board through an Engineering Summer Program (ESP) grant. The ESP grant has provided an increased focus on engineering careers through robotics, an engineering panel, and a tour of L-3 in Greenville, Texas.

"The synergy of the two camps provides students with a richer experience than would be afforded by either camp alone," Donham said.