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All Aboard for a STEMtastic Experience

The AFCEA Palmetto Chapter received a school bus from the Sumter School District and is converting it into a mobile learning lab—the STEM BUSters—for students in K-12.

The AFCEA Palmetto Chapter received a school bus from the Sumter School District and is converting it into a mobile learning lab—the STEM BUSters—for students in K-12.

The AFCEA Palmetto Chapter’s STEM BUSters project started many months ago with the idea of transporting donated network equipment to schools in South Carolina’s Sumter County to better bring STEM tools to students K-12.

This project will benefit the students and community at large and highlights how dedicated volunteers and donors can realize the need cost-effectively for any school system, said James Crawford, AFCEA regional vice president for the Carolinas Region.

This idea blossomed into a major overhaul of a full-sized, donated school bus that will feature a complete network along with workstations capable of providing the students with learning opportunities for network operations, cybersecurity, defensive cyber operations, robotics and programming.

 

 

Because of the hard work of chapter volunteers, the bus has become a focus of the newly formed Sumter Cyber Innovation Coalition. In partnership with this coalition, the STEM BUSters will help identify and fill gaps for the emerging cybersecurity professionals and promote a healthy and supportive environment to expedite those professionals through the cybersecurity pipeline, Crawford said.

Throughout the overhaul process, the weather hampered some of the progress. Days of 100+ degrees temperature with humidity made it very hard to work—but tremendous gains have been made. Next up: Installing tables, chairs, equipment racks, an instructor workspace, servers, a router, and monitors, all from local resources.

AFCEA International’s Educational Foundation made a generous donation that bought a lot of must-haves for this project, and the chapter members are most grateful.