Anthony Nesbit is an English as a Second Language teacher who is spending a few weeks of his summer engrossed in things science, technology, engineering and mathematics at Fleet Readiness Center East at Cherry Point.

The Craven County Schools language arts teacher is completing a three-week internship requisite for completing the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership, but mainly to enrich the learning experiences of his students.

“I am not an engineer, math or science person by trade,” he said. “When I was in high school, I loved reading, history and social studies. I really did not enjoy math and science.”

However, he realized that acquiring more knowledge and insight about the STEM arena was a necessity for readying youth for life when school’s out.

“In my teaching and working with students who are learning English as another language, I began to support them in other areas,” Nesbit said, “so I had to really start to understand science, math, technology [and engineering].”

Nesbit, who teaches at several schools including Havelock middle and high schools and Early College EAST, said he felt that he needed to modify his teaching approach and course content to ensure opportunities for developing intellectual skills were incorporated.

“What I really enjoy most about these STEM fields is the critical-thinking, collaboration and the thinking out-of-the-box; the systems approach that is involved naturally,” he said, explaining his desire to integrate STEM strategies into arts education curriculum. “I want to use that to help the students I work with to begin to do that. STEM knowledge is a by-product. I think it is a good thing since it exposes them to careers of the future that are going to be STEM-heavy.”

Nesbit said FRC East was the prime choice as an intern location because of its established partnership with the Kenan Fellows Program and STEM career-rich environment.

“I see the fellowship as connecting me to larger things,” he said, explaining the initial struggles of tying STEM into his lesson plans. “It’s created that network where I now have engineers … with whom I can collaborate. … I see, I don’t have to think of those ideas alone anymore. They’re out there and I have a network to support me [accomplishing my objectives].”

Research and Engineering Group Head Mark Meno said, “For us, he is reaching a growing population of future employees. Given our rural location, it remains our focus to grow our own engineering workforce and our partnership will help us expand that interest group of future technically inclined employees.”

Nesbit is completing the internship at FRC East with Meno as his mentor.

“Kenan Fellows affords us and a deserving teacher a unique opportunity to develop meaningful and collaborative lesson content for an area school,” said Meno. “The multiple weeks he is spending with us this summer, embedded with engineering experts in aviation sustainment, is providing him a number of broad and far reaching ideas that will include citizen science aspects as well as engineering design and fabrication.”

The Kenan Fellows Program is a yearlong teacher leadership program at North Carolina State University for about 25 to 50, kindergarten- to 12th-grade teachers selected from across the state. The teachers complete three-week summer internships, with a mentor in a research or applied STEM setting. They also acquire 80 hours of professional development aimed at building leadership skills and promoting curriculum designed to bridge classroom lessons to applications in employment.