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STEM Star of the Month: Brent Harris Jr. in Bradford

Brent is a sixth grader at Floyd C. Fretz Middle School in Bradford and our Channel 2 STEM Star of the Month for October 2021.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Brent Harris Jr., a sixth grader at Floyd C. Fretz Middle School in Bradford, Pennsylvania, is our WGRZ STEM Star of the Month for October 2021.

His interest in science began when he was in third grade and wants to let his passion for the subject carry him into a career as a science teacher. 

He's had the support of family, friends and his school to further explore scientific principles, to which STEM related coursework is now a standard within the curriculum at his school.

The recent attention on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields within elementary education is recent but rewarding, as one of his teachers explains to Storm Team 2 Meteorologist Elyse Smith.

"Within the last few years STEM has really taken off. I know a few years ago we didn't have STEM classes, and now one of the specials in rotation is STEM. ... We're trying to get them started at a younger age, and I think Bradford is doing a great job of developing the program and the students for the future," sixth grade Social Studies teacher Doug Atteberry said. 

Atteberry went on to mention that the Bradford Area School District introduces students as young as kindergarten age to STEM, and by the time they get to middle and high school, they're ready to put their knowledge to the test in a dedicated STEM Lab.

That's where students such as Brent can explore, learn and plan a potential career path in STEM fields.

But for Brent, he's already taken steps to establishing a foundation in these fields by attending an invitational STEM summer camp. Brent is a graduate of the National Youth Leadership Forum: Pathways to STEM program which he attended in Pittsburg in 2019. 

"It was very exciting because usually some people wont know what I’m talking about when I go science related. But the kids there knew what I was talking about," Brent said about his experience at the camp and reiterated that he made lots of new friends.

He also hopes to attend similar science camps in the future. 

Credit: Jordan Harris

You can tell that the focus in STEM-related coursework is already paying off through inspiring young minds like Brent's. He may not even know it, but Brent is already fulfilling that teacher role he aspires to be as a role model to his younger brothers and classmates.

"I'd tell them not to give up on their dreams. There's always going to be that one teacher that you have that's always going to help you along that," he said when asked to give advice to even the next generation after him. 

If you know of a student who excels in science, technology, engineering, or math-related fields, nominate them to be the next STEM Star here.