YPSILANTI – Science is cool, according to eight area Webelos II Cub Scouts who each received the Supernova Award – the highest Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) award given in Cub Scouts – during a ceremony on Wednesday at Estabrook Elementary School.
The Boy Scouts of America introduced the STEM initiative in 2012. The Supernova Award is the first major new award for the BSA in the 21st century, said Rod Foster, BSA Supernova Mentor Webelos II Assistant Leader for Pack 283. He said the boys began working towards the Supernova Award two years ago.
“I had not expected that we would end up with this level of cohesion. They started working on this when they were 8- years-old,” said Foster, a retired science teacher who specialized in bat research. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of the parents. We did a lot of the activities on the weekends or before and after den meetings.”
The Scouts are members of the Michigan Crossroads Council which represents Scouts and adult volunteers throughout the state of Michigan.
The award recipients are:
Dominic Bent – age 10, a student at South Arbor Charter Academy in Ypsilanti
Toren Clouse – age 10, a student at Estabrook Elementary in Ypsilanti
Abraham Diawara – age 10, a student at Rawsonville Elementary in Ypsilanti
Lake Foster – age 10, a student at Symons Elementary in Milan
Miles Heddle – age 10, a student at Pleasant Ridge Elementary in Saline
Reed Maes – age 10, a student at East Arbor Charter Academy in Ypsilanti
Samual Read – age 10, a student at Carpenter Elementary in Ann Arbor
Brendan Smith – age 9, a student at East Arbor Charter Academy in Ypsilanti
In order to work towards the Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award it is recommended the scout earn at least two Nova Awards. The eight Webelos honored earned three Nova awards. They also completed 21 required STEM activities. The entire process for the Nova and Supernova Awards took two years.
Dr. Townes shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964 for his research leading to the development of the maser and then laser (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). Lasers are employed in CDs, optical fiber communication, surveying equipment, printers, light shows (Pink Floyd), and laser pointers (also known as a cat entertainment device), cutting metal, performing surgery, trapping atoms, and initiating nuclear fusion. Dr. Townes was the first to measure the mass of a black hole using lasers.
Foster said STEM-based education plays an ever-increasing role in the jobs of the future. He said more and more careers will end up being science-based. He said the more traditional, labor-intense jobs are disappearing.
“Those job opportunities have more and more requirements for a science background and the foundation needs to be there to help people get the training to get those types of jobs,” Foster said.