AUGUSTA — As part of an initiative to promote STEM education, scholarships will be available for high school students in an architecture camp at the University of Maine at Augusta.

UMA is partnering with the Reach Center, a program of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance to encourage and support students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as STEM.

Up to 25 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors who sign up for the sustainable architecture course in the YoUMA summer camp and a yearlong group project will have their $250 registration fee paid by the Reach Center.

The course, “Inventing Your Sustainable Space,” taught by UMA professor Rob Sherman, is available in the first week of YoUMA, which runs July 16-27. Partial scholarships are also available for other courses, which offer college credit.

UMA admissions counselor Michael Cooley said students don’t have to be certain they want to go into architecture, engineering or another STEM-related field.

“By using YoUMA as a springboard, we can gauge a student’s interest and foster that,” Cooley said. “Even if they’re not 100 percent sure if that’s a career that they want to get into for the rest of their lives, this gives them an opportunity and a venue where they might not have had that before.”

The students do have to commit to traveling to Augusta several times in the next year and doing online work on a design project that will build on the architecture camp.

Reach Center Project Manager Jo Gates said the project will take a couple of hours a week, but she doesn’t know much beyond that because it will be up to the students to decide what they want to do.

The Reach Center launched in November and was created by a $3.2 million grant from an anonymous Maine benefactor. They want to identify talented students and offer them chances to learn more about STEM both in and out of school.

“Our goal is that enrichment and removing barriers for any interested students,” Gates said. “One barrier can be fees like that (for YoUMA).”

YoUMA is one of three summer camps for which the Reach Center is offering scholarships.

More information about the architecture course and registering for that or other YoUMA programs is available at

UMA Vice President of Enrollment Management Jonathan Henry said the partnership with the Reach Center will benefit the central Maine as well as the students who participate.

“I think introducing students into sustainability and energy and how it plays out is where Maine’s future lies,” Henry said. “There are careers and jobs to be had in this field, right in this region. We need students who are passionate about these issues.”

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]

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