JROTC STEM Leadership Academy


The purpose of the six-day residential JROTC STEM Leadership Academy is to engage a unique population of high school students, 9th and 10th grade JROTC cadets, in STEM content, skills, and fields of study needed by business and industry today. The Academy is designed to increase awareness of good-paying STEM career opportunities in the local area and what it takes to secure these jobs. The Academy integrates five types of activities to ultimately increase the number of JROTC cadets interested in and prepared for the STEM-dependent jobs that are in high demand locally.

Types of Activities


Teambuilding, Communication, and Leadership Development Activities


Team STEM Design Challenges


University, College, and Educational Field Trips


Industry Site Visits and Guest Speakers


JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge Activities

In 2018, the Mobile County Public School System was awarded approximately one million dollars from the National Science Foundation’s ITEST (Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers) to study the short-term and long-term impacts of participation in the program. This webpage is dedicated to showcasing the Academy, the curriculum developed for the Academy, and the resulting impacts (short-term and long-term) on high school students. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No.1759430.

Academy Short-Term & Long-Term Impacts

Since its inception in 2015, the JROTC STEM Leadership Academy has shown positive impacts in students’ knowledge of mathematics and science content as well as the engineering design process and learning from failure. While the real-world connection (e.g. aerospace, maritime, or advanced manufacturing) changes each year, and the STEM content changes each year, the Academy has shown increased knowledge of math/science content, increased confidence and awareness of teamwork and leadership, and consistently high levels of satisfaction. Full evaluation reports can be provided upon request.

Academy Design & Framework

This hybrid JCLC + STEM + Workforce Academy was conceived as three distinct, yet interconnected, key components: (1) JROTC, (2) STEM Learning, and (3) Workforce Experiences. The foundation of the model lies in the JROTC character education curriculum and culture. Students who participate in the Academy come with differing levels of the character traits, but all have been exposed to the JROTC culture and curriculum for at least one school year prior to the summer experience. The inputs and outcomes of this component are equivalent to the traditional JCLC camp.

The STEM Learning component consists of a series of scaffolded STEM experiences woven through the traditional summer JROTC activities. These STEM lessons extend mathematics and science content knowledge and provide first-hand experience with STEM technology and challenges in order to build interest and efficacy around STEM.

Workforce experiences such as site visits to local colleges and area industries and evening motivational guest speakers, reinforce the JROTC character traits and STEM learning. These workforce experiences are designed to engage students in vicarious STEM learning, meaning students learn about STEM and build a STEM identity by observing expert-level STEM professionals at work.

2023 JROTC STEM Leadership Academies:

Curriculum Samples

Click on the topics below to view and download samples of the STEM Curriculum:

STEM on the Ground Curriculum Sample

STEM on the Water Curriculum Sample

STEM in the Air Curriculum Sample

DoD Scale-Up Project:

Summary of our grant proposal we made to the DOD:
Scaling Up the JROTC STEM Leadership Academy: Leveraging the JROTC Network to Increase the STEM Pipeline

In September of 2021, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) awarded the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) over six million dollars through its DoD-STEM program to replicate the JROTC STEM Leadership Academy model across the country to new school districts with active JROTC programs.

MCPSS has partnered with STEMWorksII (SWII) to lead the replication site selection process and provide support for Academy implementation; and with the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) to lead the research and reporting to DoD. The long-term goal of this project is to not only implement the Academy model in new sites, but also to help each district build capacity within the local community to sustain the Academy after the grant is concluded.