CEMO, a collaboration between Mississippi Valley State University and Scotland Fisheries, is a comprehensive program designed to integrate experientially-based STEM learning into high school curriculum in 13 rural Mississippi Delta schools. The poverty-stricken Delta claims some of the nation's highest illiteracy rates, and only a handful of industries generating jobs, among them the catfish farming industry. Over a 3-year period, CEMO will train 1500 students and 75 teachers in the core skills of the catfish farming industry — water chemistry, fish disease microbiology, and environmental science — offering students a pathway to STEM careers, and providing knowledge and skills that are transferable to other environmental fields.
With the creation of a local study pond, students and teachers practice
emerging skills and develop a working knowledge of the relationship
between organisms and their environment, then put this to practice in
a working catfish farm. This video profile demonstrates the power of
context-based learning, as students confront the uncertainty
and untidiness of science and develop problem-solving strategies
with the guidance and support of their teachers and industry professionals.
CEMO also supports teachers with summer workshops, lab equipment for
the classroom, and ongoing technical assistance throughout the academic
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