We are STEM + Youth, a recently established student-run nonprofit on a mission to foster curiosity, learning, and innovation by engaging students of all genders and backgrounds in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). This year, we’re launching a new program called STEMY Academy. STEMY Academy will be a two-pronged educational initiative that aims to cultivate scientific curiosity in 60 to 90 local middle school students—particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds. By engaging these students in exciting and educational activities, the program will challenge participants to think critically, add a deeper layer to their scientific understanding, and reveal the numerous real-world applications of the information they’re learning. As a result, this unique exposure can spark an interest in STEM and encourage students to pursue STEM throughout school and into a career.
The first part of STEMY Academy will be an afterschool science workshop specifically aiming to demonstrate that STEM can be exciting. For example, participants will explore fluid dynamics and physics through an egg drop challenge and learn about the biology of life by building edible DNA strands. By engaging students who may have had little previous exposure to STEM in a series of fun challenges, we can show them how fascinating STEM can be and recruit students for the second, more education-focused part of STEMY Academy.
The second part of this initiative will educate students about real-world issues that can be solved through STEM. Participants will learn about major problems currently affecting our global society and our environment (such as the overuse of natural resources), work in groups to discuss these problems, and explore different ways to address them through hands-on activities. For example, students will learn about sustainable technology while building solar ovens. This part of the program will challenge students to apply what we teach them to solving real problems.
Funded by Louisville, KY (October 2017)