In August 2011, Dr. Tonya Stone, an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering, implemented The NanoClub, an outreach program at the Boys and Girls Club of Starkville funded through a National Science Foundation BRIGE grant and supported by the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems and the Mechanical Engineering Department at Mississippi State University (MSU).
The NanoClub meets every Friday afternoon from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and services fourteen students in grades sixth through ninth. With the assistance of undergraduate students leading the activities, the Nanoclub is able to achieve its primary goal, which is to expose minority students at the Starkville Boy and Girls Club to nanotechnology through activities and experiments designed to boost their critical thinking and analytical skills.
NanoClub students also participate in hands-on activities in other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) areas which Dr. Stone hopes will having a lasting impact and will spark a continued interest in STEM so that when the time comes for the students to make decisions about college, they will consider majoring in a STEM-related field at MSU.
NanoClub leaders hope the students’ enthusiasm will continue. This generation is the future—the next scientists, chemists, mathematicians, and engineers. Their interest in STEM-related fields is vital for the livelihood of those who came before them and will come after them. That is why Dr. Stone and her team of undergraduate students (Palara Grant- Mechanical Engineering, Cameron Hardin- Mechanical Engineering (graduated), Jasmine Danzy- Mechanical Engineering, Jericho Harris- Industrial Engineering, Jazzetta Anthony- Electrical Engineering, Justin Fisher -Civil Engineering) invest and share their time, knowledge, and experiences with the youth at the Boys and Girls Club of Starkville. The NanoClub has been so successful that the Boys and Girls Club leaders are interested in a similar implementation at the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus.
The Boys and Girls Club of Starkville is led by Jeanette Roach (Director) and Joyce Ellenwood (Chief Professional Officer of B&G Clubs of the Golden Triangle).