Metro Detroit nonprofit helps children get early start in STEM careers

DAPCEP encourages students to pursue STEM careers

DETROIT – You've probably heard of STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- careers, but how do you actually get into the industry?

This week in our Your Neighborhood series, a local nonprofit organization explains that it starts at a young age. They're helping kids across Metro Detroit learn early.

"I started, like, loving it,” said high school senior Devon Isaac. “I don't know what happened but I fell in love with the program."

Isaac spends time outside of school learning about science, technology, engineering and math. The 17-year-old is one of nearly 11,000 Metro Detroit students involved with DAPCEP, a nonprofit organization focusing on STEM careers.

"I want to study environmental science," Isaac said. "DAPCEP gave me a confidence to take harder classes because I never would have taken an AP class."

The Detroit Area Pre College Engineering Program has been helping students find their way in the STEM field for 43 years. Executive Director Michelle Reaves understands how important this is.

"Because that's really the way of the world at this point," she said. "It's really important for kids to start as early as possible learning about various STEM fields."

Students meet on Saturdays in the fall and spring and in a camp style format over the summer on area university campuses. DAPCEP had Isaac interning at an energy company over the summer. The opportunity has given him confidence to push himself in school during his senior year.

"Where do you think you would be without DAPCEP?” Local 4's Evrod Cassimy asked Isaac.

“I probably wouldn't be taking as hard of classes and I probably wouldn't be as focused because I wasn't really focused on school before I went to DAPCEP," Isaac said.

"You can see the expansion and the growth in who they are as a human. I think that is--it's just mind blowing for me," Reaves said..

Reaves has watched students like Isaac go on and succeed after going through the program. She and his parents couldn't be more proud of him. For Isaac, it's been a positive, life-changing experience. He believes it will have the same effect for other students.

"It's the best thing that could ever happen to anybody. Like, it just teaches you about so much stuff that you never knew you would need to know," he said.

Enrollment for DAPCEP begins in December for the next semester. There's a registration fee for six or eight week classes.

Click here for more information.

About the Author:

Evrod Cassimy is the morning anchor for Local 4 News Today. He joined WDIV in August of 2013. He is an award winning journalist and a six-time Emmy Award nominee. Evrod was born in Michigan but grew up in the Chicagoland area.