In 2015, WSP launched an expanded version of its classic one-week, liberal arts/humanities course by adding a two-week course with the second week of instruction focused on a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum. During this two-week course, the first week of instruction focused on the established liberal arts curriculum. The second week shifted to a STEM curriculum and focused on the foundational concepts of physics (including two-dimensional motion and Newtonian gravity), which are generally taught in introductory college physics and essential for success in all STEM majors. WSP’s STEM curriculum was developed by one of our Academic Advisory Board Members, Dr. Marla Geha. Dr. Geha is an Astrophysicist and a current Professor at Yale University. During STEM week, our participants attended lectures led by university STEM professors, and gained hands-on experience in afternoon labs, and conducted group research projects. The goal of developing a WSP’s STEM course was to help warrior-scholars develop key fundamental mathematical and scientific reasoning skills, which are imperative for success when pursuing a STEM major in college.
The WSP STEM course includes daily lectures covering basic physics topics by top professors, independent research projects, and tours of major science facilities and labs to expose students to a wide range of topics. In response to student feedback, we developed new one-week research projects centered around biology and added an ‘optional tour’ day to better tailor material to student interests.
Problem solving and technical skills are routine training for our military service members. The science community seeks individuals with problem solving skills who bring their own unique perspectives to scientific problems. The match seems obvious. The WSP STEM program aims to increase recruitment and retention of veterans into undergraduate science majors.
Course topics include the following:
Day 1: One Dimensional Motion
Day 2: Newton’s Laws and Gravitation
Day 3: Projectile Motion
Day 4: Energy and Work, Escape Velocity and Orbits, and Kepler's Third Law
Day 5: Exoplanets and Extraterrestrial Life in the Universe
After the highly successful 2015 Yale pilot course WSP has continued to expand the STEM program each year. As of 2018 WSP held STEM program at seven campuses: Yale University, Harvard University / MIT, the University of Arizona, Princeton University, Texas A&M University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Oklahoma. WSP plans to continue to expand our STEM program to meet the need of transitioning enlisted veterans.