Back to Blog
Partners in STEM

AEOP: Our Partner in Engaging Future STEM Leaders

Since 2011, the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) has partnered with the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) to provide scholarships for underserved students to attend Camp Invention® and benefit from the program’s innovative curriculum.

Last year, across 26 sites local to Army Research Centers and Laboratories across the country, AEOP impacted more than 2,000 students in need through Camp Invention.

“NIHF’s use of hands-on activities, creativity and problem solving perfectly aligns with AEOP’s goals to engage and inspire the next generation of STEM innovators,” Brian Leftridge, deputy AEOP cooperative agreement manager, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, said. “Regardless of whether or not that student chooses to pursue higher education or a career in STEM, these experiences at such a young, impressionable age have an important impact on students’ intellectual development.”


AEOP’s Mission

Since its foundation, AEOP’s mission has been to provide both students and teachers with a collaborative, cohesive portfolio of Army-sponsored STEM programs that effectively engage, inspire and attract the next generation of STEM talent with programs for kindergarten through college, exposing them to Department of Defense (DoD) STEM careers. AEOP envisions a future with a diverse, agile, highly competent STEM talent pool that is representative of our nation’s demographics and will strengthen the Army, the DoD and the nation’s workforce.

As the demand for STEM professionals continues to grow, AEOP understands the importance of developing a STEM workforce full of leaders who are representative of our diverse country. AEOP promotes the importance of mentorship when it comes to helping diversify the nation’s STEM talent pool. When students can connect with mentors that look like they do and come from similar backgrounds, they can more easily envision themselves pursuing a STEM pathway.


The GEMS Program

AEOP provides scholarships for Camp Invention sites located near Army Research Centers and Laboratories that host their Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) program — a summer STEM enrichment program for fifth through 12th grade. GEMS reaches young people who might not otherwise give serious thought to becoming scientists or engineers, sparking their interest in STEM careers early, so they can attain the appropriate academic training.

AEOP believes GEMS is a perfect next step for Camp Invention alumni and encourages anyone who might be interested to apply today.

More STEM Opportunities

With a variety of programs, AEOP meets students where they are in their STEM learning journey, whether they are in elementary school or college. These opportunities range from STEM enrichment programs to research competitions to apprenticeships.

Middle school students can engage in the GEMS program and put their STEM skills to the test by competing in eCYBERMISSION and Junior Solar Sprint. For high school students interested in exploring STEM at an entry level, AEOP offers STEM enrichment through both GEMS and Unite. Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) gives high school students the chance to present their research to their peers and STEM professionals in a Tri-Service (Army, Navy, Air Force) competition at the national level.

For high school and undergraduate students seriously considering higher education or a career in STEM, AEOP offers apprenticeships focused on research within Army Research Labs. Interested students can also apply for several scholarship and grant opportunities.

For educators, AEOP offers a teacher professional development program through Research Experiences for STEM Educators and Teachers (RESET).

All AEOP programming is free of cost to participants and many programs provide offer stipends or awards upon completion.


A Special Thank You

At NIHF, we remain grateful for our partnership with AEOP, and we look forward to many more years of collaboration as our organizations continue helping transform today’s students into the innovators of tomorrow.

Related Articles