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Center for the Advancement of
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

The mission of our Center for the Advancement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CASTEM) is to encourage West Virginia's youth to pursue careers in STEM fields and inspire them to become future engineers, scientists, researchers, teachers and leaders.

Here's how we do that:
  • We provide STEM education activities, programs, and research opportunities starting at K-12 grades and extending to university level.
  • We offer professional development to K-12 teachers.
  • We encourage the participation of parents and family members to expand their knowledge regarding STEM education opportunities.
  • We provide undergraduate and graduate research opportunities for college level students.
  • We seek funding which will create opportunities for participation of STEM faculty in student research experiences and promote faculty development.
  • We help boost vital life skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork, compassion and hard work.

CASTEM operates two STEM Education Centers, in Charleston and Beckley, fully equipped with educational equipment and tools including LEGO robotics kits, science labs, STAR LABs, wind tunnels, flight simulators, project-based learning curriculum as well as NASA approved STEM curriculum. We encourage the facilitation of programs & curriculums offered by national and international STEM organizations such as 4-H, FIRST Robotics, VEX Robotics, NASA, Clean Energy, Upward Bound and GLOBE. In addition, we provide math tutoring to K-12 as well as college level students, both campus and facilitating after-school visits.

We partner with other WVSU extension services such as the 4-H Youth Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Community & Economic Development, Family & Consumer Sciences, the Department of Communications and also the WVSU College of Natural Sciences to further our mission of developing STEM growth and awareness. We build relationships with other academic universities such as West Virgina University, Marshall University, MIT and Texas A&M University to collaborate in common endeavors.

STEM education is an integral part of our day to day life. Our team believes in providing learning opportunities to kids, teachers and adults, so they can explore the exciting world of STEM and pursue a future in such fields. We encourage critical and analytical thinking, problem solving skills, creativity and the effective implementation of knowledge to real-life issues. Together, we are inspiring minds and expanding opportunities in the underrepresented areas of our community. 
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowNASA SEMAA

NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy 

NASA SEMAA is an innovative national project designed to increase participation and retention of underrepresented youth in grades K-12 in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

We offer SEMAA sessions through local school partnerships during the academic year and in day-camp scenarios during the summer months, as well as various enrichment opportunties throughout the year.

Program Components
This program is designed to INSPIRE a more diverse student population to pursue careers in STEM-related fields; ENGAGE students, parents/caregivers, family members and teachers by incorporating emerging technologies into instruction; and EDUCATE students utilizing rigorous STEM curriculum designed and implemented as only NASA can. Our program has five core components: 

Hands-on K-12 STEM Curricula
Aligned to  national common core, math, science and technology standards, these unique STEM courses provide SEMAA students with up to 411 hours of advanced studies in STEM prior to enrollment in a post-secondary institution.

Aerospace Education Laboratories (AELs)
Developed by NASA and equipped with 12 workstations, the AEL is an electronically enhanced, computerized classroom that puts cutting-edge technology at the fingertips of NASA SEMAA students. Each computerized research station provides real-life challenges involving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In addition to being an extraordinary tool for educating students, the AEL serves as an excellent training facility for pre-service and in-service teachers on the SEMAA curriculum. We manage two AELs, one on the WVSU campus and another in Beckley.
Family Cafe
Parents/Caregivers learn about a variety of issues such as educational planning, family budgeting, healthy eating and STEM activities to do with their children. 
Community Outreach
We provide a variety of specialized outreach programs, which are conducted in support of local schools, community centers and other stakeholders for the purpose of improving external STEM education efforts. These customized programs take place in various off-site locations or often in conjunction with the AEL sites.
Professional Development
We provide ongoing professional development for area teachers each year. This training component is focused on equipping teachers with the latest teaching tools and techniques to support their efforts to increase student interest and proficiency in STEM.

Learn more at 
WVSU NASA SEMAA Raleigh County/Southern WV
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowNSF EPSCoR
National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research

CASTEM plays an active role in promoting research opportunities for in-service, early career and pre-service teachers on the WVSU campus. These opportunities allow them to work alongside our research faculty and engage in learning about the latest advancements in STEM.

Learn more about the National Science Foundation EPSCoR program outreach efforts and research study here.
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowNSF LSAMP
National Science Foundation Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation

In an effort to promote and develop undergraduate research opportunities for minority students, CASTEM and WVSU are honored to be a part of the Kentucky-West Virginia NSF LSAMP program, alongside other universities such as Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Center College, Kentucky State University, Marshall University, The University of Louisville, West Virginia University and Western Kentucky University.

KY-WV LSAMP is a consortium of colleges and universities working together to create, enhance and expand programs designed to broaden participation and increase the quality and quantity of students from underrepresented populations who receive degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Program goals and activities focus on undergraduate research experiences, graduate school preparation, and international experiences.
Learn more about the KY-WV NSF LSAMP program and activities here.

Download our brochure: English | Spanish
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowResearch Rookies
Research Rookies
Research is an important part of the undergraduate experience. Students engage in enriching research experiences that allows them to explore their intended majors, develop relationships with faculty in their field, and cultivate critical thinking skills.

WVSU has partnered with DOW Chemical Company and AT&T to develop the Research Rookies program, which provides stipends for freshman and sophomore students who engage in yearlong research projects. At the end of the academic year, the students are given the platform to present their research at the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Annual Research Symposium.

Successful candidates must be highly motivated, have a strong academic performance and a commitment to discovery. Students admitted to the Research Rookies Program will be paired with a faculty member in their field of interest for an innovative research experience.

Download our brochure: English | Spanish
Apply Here!

Our Team

Hannah Payne
Director of CASTEM
(304) 553-8218
Crystal Bishop
STEM Education Coordinator
(304) 252-6970
Reasonable accommodations will be made to provide this content into reasonable alternate accessible formats upon request. Please contact the WVSU Extension Service office at (304) 204-4305 or

West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or veteran status in any of its programs or activities. 
Castem Program

Upcoming Events

Watershed Detectives Day Camp
Join us in investigating the effects of water contamination in a dynamic water system. 
  • Build your own watershed
  • Learn about macroinvertebrates
  • Perform on-site water testing
  • Discover new ways to present your findings
Dates: June 15-19
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Audience: Students in grades 8-11
Location: WVSU Campus
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