News

Making STEM Opportunities Accessible to Schenectady Students

Posted on: Thursday, November 2, 2017

Schenectady has deep roots in industrial production and innovation. Most recently, Schenectady is experiencing a resurgence of its science and technology sectors. Established employers like GE are joined by a growing ecosystem of startups, incubators, and strong educational institutions, creating a diverse range of STEM-related career opportunities.

However, the fortunes of our city’s families and youth continue to be troubling. Our underfunded schools, faced with high levels of poverty, struggle to keep pace with the offerings of suburban areas. As a result, our students are far less likely to have exposure to STEM programming, or to see STEM careers as viable choices.

At the urging of community leaders, The Schenectady Foundation launched the STEM Alliance -- a coalition working to bridge the divide between under-resourced students and the growing opportunities in Tech Valley. By increasing collaboration between the private, non-profit, and educational sectors, we seek to more effectively build awareness and improve access to STEM educational and career opportunities.

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The Alliance’s first major project is called STEM Xplor a website application where, for the first time, teachers, students and parents will be able to search for STEM-related afterschool, weekend and summer learning programs in the Capital Region. The project will employ graduates of Albany Can Code’s college-level web development classes to deliver a professional level product at a fraction of the market cost. The project will be designed with the engagement of the users – teachers and students – to ensure that the product meets their needs.

Why STEM Xplor?  We see a strong passion for science among Schenectady students, and a dedicated core of teachers ready to get their kids connected and on the right track. However, teachers have shared with us a common story: requests for information by interested students send teachers on a wild goose chase through old email bulletins and dozens of websites. They are already strapped for time. If there was an easy place to look, teachers could feed many more students into local programs students would not find out about otherwise.

We need to be smarter about how we go about connecting our kids to STEM careers. STEM Xplor will seed a new way to make STEM opportunities transparent and accessible.

To go forward with this project the Foundation must raise $10,000 to complete and launch the STEM searchable database. We are only $3,500 from our goal.  Please support STEM Xplor by making a charitable contribution today!  You may use the PDF version of the pledge form to make your commitment to the project, or Donate Now.  100% of your donation will go toward the project!

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