Adam Braun is a new STEM Coordinator at the Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky. Since he began in November 2013, his roles include serving as a Mission Commander to take middle school students on space missions. He also helps plan and develop other programs such as summer camps and after school programs, as well as to help write grants for new and continued programming.
Braun has had a passion for science education for as long as he can remember. “I believe if more students are trained to be scientists it will help to improve our region, our country, and will make our world a better place. The mission of the Challenger Center is to increase the interest in STEM subjects in our area. Since the mission of the Challenger center is so similar with my own personal interests, it seemed like a perfect fit,” he said.
The Challenger Center gives students the chance to see that education, especially in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects, can take them to places they did not know they could go. For example, some students do not really know what an engineer is or what an engineer does. When they come to the Challenger Center, they learn about this whole field called engineering that they did not understand before. Some of them may decide that it sounds like a great career path and pursue it. For others, just seeing the world from a broader point of view is beneficial. “We are able to expand the horizons for some students. We believe this will help them to achieve bigger and better things. When our students are achieving greater things, this region will benefit through their ideas and efforts,” he said.
Being with kids who are excited about visiting the center is an added bonus to Braun’s enjoyment of his work. “The kids are fantastic. When the kids are having fun, it’s hard to not enjoy your job,” he said.
Braun is a 2011 graduate of the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in science, majoring in physics and minoring in mathematics. He graduated from Louisville Male High School in Louisville. He and his wife now live in Hazard while his wife does rotations at ARH hospital; she attends medical school at Lincoln Memorial University DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. Adam’s goal is to attend medical school to become a doctor after his wife finishes her medical education.
“We’re very fortunate to have Adam working with us for the next couple of years,” said Tom Cravens, Director at the Challenger Learning Center. “His extensive math and science background and tutoring experience make him a perfect fit for the Challenger Center as we continue to expand our STEM programs into the high school level and focus more on math and engineering. He will also help increase the rigor of our existing programs. Combining Adam’s skills along with our new robotics coordinator, Joseph Collins, and the rest of our instructional team, allows the Challenger Center to continue to be an excellent educational resource for teachers and parents for years to come.”
Those wanting to visit the Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky located on the Hazard Campus of Hazard Community and Technical College can call (606) 487-3049.