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STEM-on-the-Go Van Visits Dayton Chief Science Officers

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STEM-on-the-Go Van Visits Dayton Chief Science Officers
Sinclair Community College hosts high schoolers for hands-on STEM learning

Dayton, OH- [March 12, 2024] – The STEM-on-the-Go Van, a Mobile Digital Fabrication/Machining Van, is making its way through Ohio the week of March 11 with a final stop in Dayton on March 15 at Sinclair Community College, bringing hands-on STEM learning to high school students who are Chief Science Officers from throughout Montgomery and Greene counties.

“We are excited to welcome the STEM-on-the-Go van and provide our Chief Science Officers the opportunity to get hands-on experience with digital fabrication tools,” said Sarah Heist, the program coordinator of STEM Education & Partnerships, University Partnerships at Sinclair. “Instead of theorizing, they will be able to build out ideas and practice real-world skills, helping them envision themselves as future engineers, scientists and inventors.”

Heist said she is excited for the CSOs to have the opportunity to work all day on a hands-on project involving computer-aided design, soldering and laser engraving that they will be able to take home at the end of the day.

“In my work within education, and specifically STEM education, one of the barriers teachers face is access and transportation, so having this kind of mobile access for STEM opportunities can really help in mitigating some of that,” Heist said.

TIES Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM operates the STEM-on-the-GO Mobile Digital Fabrication/Machining Van as part of its collaboration with the Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC). The programming in the van is facilitated by STEM-on-the-Go Mobile Fabrication Lab Manager Mike Harris who is a Marine Corps veteran with a bachelor’s degree in Middle School Education from the University of North Carolina. The van engages students in solving real-world STEM challenges using the Engineering Design Process while learning how to use design software and the digital fabrication and machining equipment in the van.

There are 18 Chief Science Officers (CSOs), half of whom are female, from grades 9 through 12 representing 14 different school districts from Montgomery and Greene counties in the program. The CSOs serve as STEM ambassadors and liaisons for STEM opportunities in their communities. This is the first year for the program in Ohio and was coordinated through a partnership between Sinclair Community College and the Dayton Regional STEM Center with funding from the Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC).

Dayton is a Regional Hub for the Defense STEM Education Consortium. The three other DSEC Regional Hubs are in San Diego, California, San Antonio, Texas, and Baltimore, Maryland. The visit of the STEM-on-the-Go Van to Ohio will bring exposure to Digital Fabrication technology to DoD STEM partners in Ohio as well as to the growing network of STEM Learning Ecosystems.

The van also is traveling to other locations in Ohio including Caldwell Schools in Noble County and Fort Frye Local Schools in Washington County prior to the Dayton stop in an effort to open students’ and educators’ eyes to digital fabrication technology, the Engineering Design Process and STEM careers, with a focus on those areas that otherwise may not have access to this kind of equipment. TIES also supports a statewide Community of Practice around digital fabrication. To learn more please contact Rita Mikita at

If you would like to schedule the van’s visit to your school, district, or community event, please reach out to Toby Bothel at for more information and to make arrangements.

About TIES and the SLECoP

With philanthropic support from some of the nation’s leading businesses and foundations, and TIES as its co-founder and backbone, the STEM Learning Ecosystems have grown to 111+ Ecosystems across the globe. Ecosystems work to improve STEM learning for all and bring together leaders from K-12, higher education, business and industry, government and philanthropy to support meaningful STEM opportunities and learn from one another.

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