|STEM in the Middle Expo Connects Industry with 90 Girls from 3 RI Middle Schools|
Tech Collective’s third annual STEM workshop and career expo aims to increase STEM awareness and participation at a critical time in students’ education.
Hosted by The Rhode Island STEM Center at Rhode Island College.
Ninety female middle school students and 6 educators from John F. Deering Middle School (West Warwick), Gorton Junior High School (Warwick), and the Sophia Academy (Providence) today attended Tech Collective’s third annual STEM in the Middle Girls’ Career Expo.
The Expo was hosted by the Rhode Island STEM Center at Rhode Island College. It is funded through a Governor’s Workforce Board of Rhode Island Industry Partnership grant and sponsored by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems.
STEM in the Middle aims to raise awareness and participation in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields at the middle school level. Students attended three out of nine hands-on interactive STEM workshops throughout the day. Workshop topics included: computer technology and programming, social media, mathematics, geographic information systems, chemistry, art, and electronics.
The Expo workshops were designed and facilitated by female industry professionals and faculty. Companies and organizations bringing real-world insight and experience to the Expo were: Ahlers Designs, Free Geek Providence, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the Rhode Island Foundation, and Rhode Island College.
“STEM in the Middle fulfills a critical need for interactive and participatory programs for middle school students, especially girls,” said Carol Giuriceo, Ph.D., director of the Rhode Island STEM Center at Rhode Island College. “Interest in STEM disciplines starts to wane by middle school. Our workshops and activities engage students, inspire curiosity, and open new doors of opportunity. Although not everyone is going to work in the STEM fields, every girl should feel confident about her skills and be excited about STEM.”
“More and more, middle school continues to be identified as a turning point in students’ perception of and engagement in STEM,” said JoAnn Johnson, manager of youth and education programs for Tech Collective. “STEM in the Middle works to raise awareness of the STEM fields and its opportunities not only with students, but also with their educators and family members. The Expo’s combination of education, industry connection, and first-hand experience is its key success in engaging and inspiring these students here today. Thank you also to our industry participants and the Rhode Island STEM Center for hosting.”
Educators and industry commonly agree that students need to be exposed to STEM awareness and engagement at a young age. Middle school age is often recognized as a turning point, where adolescence begins and the pressures of peers and education increase. Students – particularly girls – can shy away from STEM due to gender stereotypes or a lack of awareness and perceived opportunities. STEM in the Middle’s mission is to erase these barriers through raising awareness and increasing opportunities for and participation of young women in the sciences.
The Rhode Island STEM Center at Rhode Island College
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