Middle School STEM Expo Connects Industry with 125 Girls from 4 RI Schools

 

Tech Collective’s annual STEM in the Middle workshop and career expo aims to increase STEM awareness, interest, and participation at a critical time in students’ education and development. Hosted by The Rhode Island STEAM Center at Rhode Island College.

 

Providence, R.I.  November 4, 2016 One hundred and twenty five middle school students and ten educators from Sophia Academy (Providence, RI), Woonsocket Middle School (Woonsocket, RI), Paul Cuffee Middle School (Providence, RI) and Calcutt Middle School (Central Falls, RI) today attended Tech Collective’s sixth annual STEM in the Middle Girls’ Career Expo.

The Expo was hosted by the Rhode Island STEAM Center at Rhode Island College. It is funded through a Real Jobs Rhode Island grant and is sponsored by IBM and Dassault Systemes Simulia .

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 will attend three hands-on interactive STEM workshops throughout the morning. The workshops are designed and facilitated by female industry professionals, RIC faculty and high school students from Wm. Davies Career and Technical High School (Lincoln) and North Kingstown High School. Workshop topics include: computer science, cosmology, biotechnology, engineering, environmental science and engineering, marine science, wearable technology and laser printing.

The Expo workshops were designed and facilitated by 30 female industry professionals, faculty, and students. Companies and organizations bringing real-world insight and experience to the Expo were: Amgen, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Dassault Systemes Simulia, Ocean Exploration Trust (URI), NASA, Fidelity Investments, Hasbro, RI State Police, TEALs, and RI College

“The middle school years represent a crucial time of exploration and self-discovery for girls,” said Carol Giuriceo, Ph.D., director of the Rhode Island STEAM Center at Rhode Island College. “STEM in the Middle exposes them to new experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Hopefully, when the girls return to their schools, they will have a more comprehensive understanding of and connection to STEM and STEAM.”

“With middle school being a turning point for a student’s perception and engagement in STEM, the STEM in the Middle program is providing the necessary education and first-hand experience needed to engage and inspire these young women, said JoAnn Johnson, director of youth and education programs for Tech Collective.” “The industry members who are here today are truly an inspiration and their knowledge and enthusiasm will help spark innovation at a young age. Thank you to the Rhode Island STEM Center and the volunteers for contributing to the benefit of these young women’s lives and the growth of the workforce pipeline in Rhode Island.”   

In addition, this year we are delighted to have high school girls facilitating two of the engineering sessions.  Viviana Barrientos from the Wm. Davies Career and Tech Center; and Sophie Girard, North Kingstown High School both won a Tech Collective/URI Scholarship essay contest at GRRL Tech last year. The theme of the essay was to design a hands-on STEAM related workshop for middle school girls.

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
The Rhode Island STEM Center at Rhode Island College is committed to facilitating state-of-the-art professional development, research, and collaborative partnerships among PreK-college educators, teacher candidates, students, and other community stakeholders to advance STEM education and literacy.

Tech Collective
Tech Collective is Rhode Island’s Information Technology and Bioscience Industry Association. We foster the growth, innovation, and economic momentum of Rhode Island’s high-tech industries and workforce. Collaborating with local and national government, industry, and academic partners, Tech Collective programs directly impact Rhode Island. Since its transition from the Rhode Island Technology Council (RITEC) in 2004, Tech Collective has received more than $12M in federal, state, and private grant funding. Awards and funding include Governor’s Workforce Board RI Industry Partnerships, Real Jobs RI, Ready to Work/ Tech Force RI, and national recognition with the state of Rhode Island from President Obama’s TechHire initiative.

Get connected to Tech Collective at www.tech-collective.org, on LinkedIn (Tech-Collective), on Twitter (@Tech_Collective), and on Facebook (TechCollectiveRI).

 

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