STEP Sponsors Twin Counties STEM Design Challenge

Purpose of this event:  To create an annual event for area middle school students to explore concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through a literary piece; collaborate with area industry engineers; and expose students to STEM career opportunities in the Twin Counties.  Additionally, Nash and Edgecombe counties will soon have an additional 1000+ new jobs related to STEM. 


The Twin-Counties STEM Design Challenge will be held April 3, 2019, 9:30-2:00 at the Rocky Mount Event Center.   Middle school teams from Edgecombe County Public Schools and Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools will be competing for the first time in a STEM design challenge.  The students in grades 6-8 have been challenged to build an object using K’NEX, a versatile, creative construction product.  Based on the novel Holes by Louis Sachar, the team’s challenge is to design and build a moving mechanism. 

Nationally, there is a gap in the supply of STEM workers.  The Twin Counties is no different.  Each STEM teams is sponsored by a local industry/company.  The teams have been collaborating with consulting engineers from their sponsor company on their design and engineering concepts since January.  Students have not only been exposed to area STEM career opportunities but the companies and products produced locally.  Along with a STEM skills gap that must be addressed is a soft skills gap. The STEM Design Challenge will also offer students practice in interviewing, team building, and effective communication/public speaking.  Finally, students can not prepare for jobs/careers they do not know about.  Collaborating with local business partners provides much needed career awareness and knowledge, products and the economic impact of them.


“I am so inspired as I visit the teams to not only see the students’ excitement about the competition but their understanding of design and engineering concepts.”  Pam Gould, Executive Director, STEP.  “It is also encouraging to have the commitment of so many company partners who see the need to become an active participant in creating their own talent pipeline.  Recruitment begins with career awareness.”

Team Sponsors:  Barnhill Contracting Company, Cummins-RMEP, ABB of Pinetops, Keihin Carolina System Technology, Edwards, Inc., Pfizer, Oakley Collier Architects, LS Cable & System. Awards Sponsor: Suddenlink by Altice
Grant Funding from Edgecombe Charitable Trust and Futrell-Maudlin


STEP, Strategic Twin-Counties Education Partnership, is improving the educational opportunities for students in the Twin Counties area – cradle to career – by facilitating collaboration between our schools, our community colleges, our community-based organizations, and our employers.