Inspiring students to pursue jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is no easy task. But with a $75,000 grant from Dell, George Mason University plans to make these subjects all the more attractive.
The Hoffman-Boston Elementary School STEM program – located within George Mason’s College of Education and Development’s Center for Digital Media, Innovation and Diversity – recently received the funding from Dell’s Powering the Possible for Communities Youth Learning Initiative. It’s a donation made with great confidence in George Mason’s ability to pique the interest of 6- to 11-year-olds.
“This grant provides us with a great opportunity to introduce students to STEM concepts in a variety of nontraditional ways,” said Kevin Clark, a professor of education in CEHD’s division of learning technologies. “Whether they are focusing on digital media literacy and development or web-based applications, this program gives students firsthand experiences of STEM content knowledge.”
The multidisciplinary approach will involve tools like robotics and digital media, with the goal of providing underserved students at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School with more exposure to STEM careers. Hopes are that students enrolled in the school – located in Arlington, Va. – will be more motivated to learn about STEM fields if they’re given a greater opportunity to explore the subjects.
According to the university website, George Mason will be aiming to help Hoffman-Boston Elementary School meet their goals of “introducing STEM concepts to students by bridging their school, community and home environments.” To do so, GMU will be instituting the following:
- An after-school club, which will include activities that build upon STEM content students learn in school,
- In-school demonstrations and workshops, which will connect STEM activities in the afterschool club to what is being taught in school,
- Parents academy, which provides parents with the skills and knowledge to support their children,
- Project Edison, a program that teaches students 21st-century skills through the use and application of digital media in their school and community, and
- STEM summer camp, which will provide STEM-focused activities in areas such as robotics and physics to nearly 100 elementary school students.
Time will tell, of course, how effective the program will be. But with $75,000 to work with, chances are that George Mason will be able to change students’ perspectives on future STEM careers for the better.