Tri-County STEMersion marks five years of connecting classrooms and careers

March 1, 2022

Tri-County STEMersion 2022 will celebrate five years of empowering educators to prepare our region’s future workforce during this summer’s professional development institute, to be held June 20-30.

STEMersion gives middle and high school instructors and counselors a firsthand look at emerging industry technology. Through hands-on activities and panel discussions with industry leaders, educators form connections between STEM education concepts and workforce preparation. Local STEM-focused companies including Bosch, Boeing and NIWC Atlantic shared insights and trends in workforce development with the 2021 cohort. Participants then applied these insights to develop industry-inspired lessons for use in the classroom. “STEMersion put the ‘why’ in what we teach students. We want our students to be great producers, and with this gained knowledge we can put ideas in our students’ minds,” said 2021 participant Angela LeVan-Woosley, a business education and computer science teacher at Westview Middle School.

In addition to STEM-related topics, STEMersion sessions highlight writing and soft skills as a means of strengthening the region’s talent pipeline. Numerous presenters expressed the importance of investing in human capital to drive innovation and problem-solving capacity within the workforce. Using feedback from these industry leaders, participants explored ways to cultivate students’ ability to communicate, and to think innovatively, to ensure workforce readiness.

“An eye-opening experience, Tri-County STEMersion connects the classroom to key competencies and technologies required in today’s work world. The institute builds career awareness, allows local educators to ‘touch’ their curriculum at a local industry site and catapults them to create standards-based, industry-inspired projects for their students to ‘solve by design!'” said S.C. Department of Commerce Regional Workforce Advisor Dr. Patricia Ferguson.

Applications for the 2022 cohort are now available at Twenty-two educators and counselors from Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties took part in the fourth annual session, which concluded June 30, 2021. The experience culminated in a capstone project competition, in which participants were divided into groups to apply STEM concepts such as proof of concept, prototypes, and design review into their final product. The winning project, created by four Berkeley County educators, applied the design and manufacturing processes to address the issue of bullying in schools. The project was then featured as a Day of Caring STEM design challenge in local schools in the region in November 2021.

Despite shifting to a virtual platform, STEMersion’s planning committee piloted several additions in 2021. School counselors joined this year’s cohort for the first time in the program’s history. The newly-launched STEMersion app served as a complement to the virtual sessions. Also, previous STEMersion participants were invited back to the institute as ambassadors. “I was so excited to serve as an Ambassador for STEMersion this year and look forward to being able to be back on-site next year. STEMersion helps teachers make connections between curriculum and careers. This helps teachers truly help students connect skills learned in the classrooms to skills used in the workforce and potential careers,” said Deborah (D.D.) Otap, a makerspace teacher and facilitator at the West Ashley Center for Advanced Studies.

STEMersion is hosted by the S.C. Department of Commerce and Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester County’s economic development offices. For more information, or to apply, visit

STEMersion Fast Facts

  1. Applications are now open for the 2022 session of Tri-County STEMersion, a professional development institute for middle and high school instructors and school counselors in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties to be held June 20-30, 2022.
  2. STEMersion, sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester economic development offices, reinforces the importance of math, science and soft skills for the region’s workforce and economic growth.
  3. Participants visit companies in all three counties, hear from business and educational leaders and take part in group projects to create new industry-inspired lessons for use in South Carolina’s K-12 system. These lessons are designed to propel all students to become global learners and thinkers and to facilitate the development of a pipeline of future qualified employees.
  4. STEMersion offers hands-on experiences with emerging industry technology such as AI, mechatronics and industry 4.0 and promotes connections between these concepts and classroom instruction.
  5. Participants learn the importance of investing in human capital to drive innovation and solve problems, as well as the organizations located within the region working to develop the talent pipeline.

Connect with Tri-County STEMersion: