First Responder Teen Cafés, begun in 2017, are a new version of the historical Teen Science Café for ME! cafés that started Spring 2014 and that, over the years, have served teens in Dexter/Dover, Machias, Central Lincoln County, & Oxford Hills. Current cafés are in South Paris and in Harrington. These teen science cafés are the first of its kind in the state of Maine. We work in rural areas where distances to science centers, museums, and universities are often very great. Our youth have limited access and exposure to out of school STEM opportunities and we aim to change that! At The Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, we bring STEM opportunities TO the youth we hope to inspire.
First Responder Teen Science Cafes are supported by MMSA’s STEM Guide’s project. One is at Oxford Hills Highschool in South Paris, ME and is being run by 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond with help from two STEM Guides there. The other is in Harrington, Maine at Narraguagus High School. That is also being organized by 4-H – but through the Washington County Cooperative Extension office in Machias – again with help from local MMSA STEM Guide in that county.
Disasters and emergencies are intriguing to youth, including those interested in helping others or in developing new technologies. Many teens want to know how they can help now, particularly when an event hits close to home. Others wonder whether their interests could lead to a career in the future, unaware of the adults in their community who are part of this field. That’s why Teen Science Cafes [TSCs] in Maine are currently honing in on the STEM in emergency management and response.
Rural students learn that a variety of pathways and opportunities exist for them to pursue their interests. Although many emergency management and response jobs require two- or four-year degrees, entry into the field can also begin with a high school diploma and specialized training and certification. Plus, opportunities to be part of this profession are present in most rural communities as well as beyond them.
Today, the field of emergency management is undergoing rapid change. Although it remains physically demanding, mentally challenging, and unpredictably paced, it is now adopting 21st century mobile device and broadband technologies that are revolutionizing its impact. It’s experiencing an information revolution that is rewriting how we find, diagnose, and treat people in need. Already, for example, EKGs can be recorded on a smartphone anywhere and transmitted to an Emergency Room physician; cheap ultrasound devices can detect internal bleeding right at the scene of an accident; and infrared detectors can amplify the search and rescue capabilities of dogs, drones, and wardens.
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