The STEPS (Students Teaching Essential Pesticide Safety) Program is founded by a group of students who want to raise awareness for pesticides. The program is designed to improve human health and to train future biotech scientists and entrepreneurs through firsthand experience, focusing on the six goals below:
· Teaching the Impact of Pesticides on Human Health
· Training Middle and High School Students to Conduct Scientific Research
· Raising Food Safety Awareness & Education
· Establishing and Marketing of STEPS Program
· Developing Mobile Phone App and Cloud Database
· Creating an Active Food Safety Monitoring Network
Students in the program start by researching commonly used pesticides and the dangers of its frequent exposure. Using the ACE-III home-use rapid pesticide test on various produce, the STEPS team seeks to educate the public on the impacts of pesticide as well as raising food safety awareness. They learn to develop useful marketing skills to sell the program. Furthermore, STEPS developed a user-friendly mobile app where consumers can input the results of the pesticide test into a cloud database. The database will actively update this website, showcasing an active monitoring network of food safety throughout the nation.
STEPS is currently reaching out to various middle and high schools to implement the testing of various produce into science curriculums across the nation. Through this, a continuous stream of test results will update the database. To learn more about how you can participate, contact us at .
Meet the Team!
The STEPS Program was established in 2014 by a group of students in Newark, Delaware.
College Student Barnard College '17 "This summer was an investment, not only in academia and work experience, but in my character and future as well. Working on Project STEPS seeded my interest in marketing and project management that I hope to continue to build on."
College Student University of Delaware '16 Chemical Engineering "Over the course of this summer, I was able to overcome my shyness by conducting successful face-to-face product marketing and sales. As an international student, I enjoyed working and talking with people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds."
College Student Duke University '17 Biomedical Engineering "From knowing very little about pesticides and its impact on human health to being able to present in front of various bioscience professionals in about a month is truly a great learning experience for me. Now I can think more practically when I continue to pursue my biomedical career."
High School Student Charter School of Wilmington '15 "With my knowledge of computer programming, I was able to take the lead on website creation and mobile app programming. I am glad to have the opportunity to practice my leadership skills with this project."
High School Student Charter School of Wilmington '17 "Solving interface and computer problems has always been a hobby of mine. I am glad to have the opportunity to discuss and debate the possible solutions with others to solve some of the technical problems in this area."
High School Student Charter School of Wilmington '15 "My summer study has opened a door for me to the real world. I could never learn what I have by reading a textbook or listening to a lecture. I learned first hand how difficult it was to sell a product face-to-face. I was also exposed to the potential for a creative idea to become a booming business."
College Student Boston College '17 Business "I appreciate the opportunity of learning both the business and science aspects of this project, as well as practicing my leaderships skills in organizing various marketing and sales efforts. I enjoyed seeing what business in real life is like. This internship has set a good foundation for my future business career. "
High School Student Charter School of Wilmington '17 "During our summer studies, the students were responsible for their own work and were not micromanaged. We came up with various ideas in order to move the program forward and accomplished them. Working independently, yet as a team, made me feel less like a kid and more like a professional."
Middle School Student The Independence School '16 "Although working with older kids was intimidating, I learned a lot more from them than I would with people of my own age."
High School Student Tower Hill School '17 "This project has motivated me to learn both business and medical sciences, among other fascinating topics. Now I'm interested in pursuing a career in both areas to utilize the skills and knowledge that I gained from this program."
The Start of Project STEPS
Every summer, the Chinese American Community Center hosts the Delaware Chinese Festival for a packed weekend brimming with activities, including lion dances, oriental cuisine, and martial arts displays that saturate the community with authentic Chinese culture. Various businesses congregate and reach a large network of people over the span of three days. This year, the intern team behind Project STEPS, founded under ANP Technologies, gathered in Hockessin, Delaware to present the ACE-III rapid pesticide test, market it into homes, and raise food safety awareness. A team of seven, ranging from high school to third-year college students, dedicated weeks in preparation for their booth time at the Chinese Festival.
To promote a healthy team dynamic, they were split into smaller groups that rotated between shifts doing sales and presentations at the booth and being away from the booth marketing and advertising. Each group competed to build sales, and ultimately raise awareness for food safety.
Behind the booth was a vibrant poster declaring the impact of pesticides on human health with graph displays and statistics as well as how to use the rapid pesticide test. The students gathered around the table, engaging people in conversation and giving live demos.
From their presentations, one could tell the investment the interns made in researching the impact of pesticides on human health. Beyond the internship goals, each student was planting the knowledge into others with the desire to see food safety practices manifested in homes throughout the area. They spent weeks conducting research, understanding the science, and creating a display that would effectively communicate their findings. Each rapid pesticide test was carefully packaged, designed, and labeled specifically for this event. On top of that, they refined their presentation skills, engaging in hundreds of conversations over the course of the weekend, including Senator Coons and local news reporters. Intern Emily Yin says, “At first we were really nervous, but as time went on, our comfort levels rose and we were able to sell our products with more confidence!” Based off of their presentations, one could hardly notice that these students had become scholars in just a few weeks.
The results were promising – each team did fairly equally – and the STEPS team not only made financial profits, they planted seeds of interest throughout the community that are sure to bear fruit in more ways in the future. A valuable experience at the Chinese Festival kick started the STEPS program, and the interns continued to develop their entrepreneurial skills throughout the summer.