SciTech Institute inspires future STEM leaders
Now more than ever, receiving a high-quality education rich in mathematics and sciences provides a solid foundation for opportunity in the workforce, especially for students in rural communities. Millions of students across the country exist in STEM deserts — meaning they lack access to rigorous and engaging math and science courses.
To improve the situation and close the gap in STEM access, the SciTech Institute, in partnership with the Local First Arizona Foundation and Freeport-McMoRan, recently held a successful Science Happens Here event at Lafe Nelson Elementary School in Safford, Ariz. Dedicated to supporting STEM education across the region and the world, SciTech Institute is focused on cultivating an ecosystem of conscious STEM communities through awareness, connections and empowerment.
The event promoted the importance of STEM education and cultivating students’ interest long before they enter the workforce. The school won the Science Happens Here grand prize this semester by collecting the most Science Happens Here cards from community businesses. Each card outlines a scientific, technological, engineering or mathematical (STEM) process used in the business and unlocks at-home experiments on the Science Happens Here website. Those experiments earn each student a point for their classroom, with the most points earning the grand prize.
The class of fourth-grade students participated in a coding exercise, using pocket-sized coding robots called “ozobots.” The exercise helped the students explore how colors and patterns guided ozobots across a page at different speeds. The students enjoyed being able to create paths and functions to direct the pocket-sized robots from one place to another.
“SciTech Institute is invested in creating STEM leaders of tomorrow,” said SciTech Institute Executive Director Jeremy Babendure. The Science Happens Here event in Safford shows our commitment to STEM, encouraging technological literacy as a crucial component to workforce success, and helping the country remain competitive in today’s global economy.”
“It is inspiring to see so many kids participating in the Science Happens Here program,” said Kimber Lanning, founding director of the Local First Arizona Foundation. “Our organization’s mission is to support local communities and economies through collaborative partnerships, and Science Happens Here does just that by bringing families through the doors of local businesses, engaging kids in science and strengthening the unique sense of place of Arizona’s rural communities.”
Visit www.scitechinstitute.org to learn more about SciTech Institute’s dedication to promoting and enhancing STEM engagements through a variety of programs including the Chief Science Officers Program, SciTech Festival, RAIN, Science for All, Science Bowl, and the National Counting Bee.