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Bear Valley International School Opens STEM Lab

Dec. 18, 2017
Kyle Conroy and Damian Nevarez cut the ribbon at Bear Valley International School's new STEM lab.
Kyle Conroy of Western Area Power Administration and DPS student Damian Nevarez are joined by Board of Education member Angela Cobián to cut the ribbon at Bear Valley International School's new STEM lab.

The students at Bear Valley International School have received a major upgrade to their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) lab, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the Western Area Power Administration’s (WAPA) Electric Power Training Center. This equipment will help the school to expand its STEM lab and give students more opportunities to see the application of STEM in the electric utility industry.

The students’ interest in the STEM equipment started on a CareerSpark industry exploration event to the power training center this past spring. CareerSpark connects middle school students with Denver businesses to expose young people to professional work environments in STEM industries. The hosts for the event ramped up the excitement of the kids on the two-day visit and presented each one of them with a certificate upon completing the training program. The then-sixth-grade students were so intrigued by what they had learned that WAPA decided to donate the training modules to the school so the kids could continue their experiential learning.

“We’re happy to have had the opportunity to inspire students. I saw how engaged these sixth graders were on their visit— one even asked me for a job! These young men and women are the right audience for this equipment,” said Kyle Conroy, a manager for WAPA.

“Encouraging a student’s interest in STEM is particularly crucial during the middle school years— when many are starting to explore career options. Our goal is to make learning interactive and fun,” said DPS CareerSpark coordinator Antoinette West.

WAPA annually markets and transmits more than 25,000 gigawatt hours of clean, renewable power from 56 federal hydroelectric power plants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and International Boundary and Water Commission in 15 western and central states. The Electric Power Training Center is a one-of-a-kind facility offering a unique hands-on, real-world learning experience for power industry professionals to gain the knowledge and tools needed for managing America’s interconnected power grid.

On Monday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for Bear Valley International School’s new STEM lab.

“The difference between a job and a career is a career is something you love,” said newly-elected Board of Education member Angela Cobian as she visited with students in the new STEM lab.

“It was a rewarding experience seeing all the machines that promote clean, renewable power! The CareerSpark field trips give students hands-on experiences in careers we want to pursue,” added seventh-grade student Damian Nevarez.