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Stillman College recently announced a partnership with Verizon and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship to offer a free, project-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning program for sixth- to eighth-grade students to learn design thinking, 3D printing, augmented reality, and social entrepreneurship.

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Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers is part of the company’s education initiative that helps to address barriers to digital inclusion under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan to help move the world forward for all.

STEM Achievers empowers middle school students in under-resourced communities to explore STEM subjects, learn problem-solving skills, and gain exposure to career opportunities in technology fields. The program is designed to create a more diverse pipeline for future careers in STEM fields; no prior knowledge or experience is required.

According to the press release, participating students will receive mentorship, access to next-gen technology, and hands-on training during in-person camps held from  July 10-30. Enrichment classes were also held in June and run Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Activities will be led by more than a dozen Stillman students involved in leadership groups across campus.

“The program is focused on kids who are affected by the digital divide, to not only get acquainted with technology but to develop new skills and interests in areas such as coding and robotics,” said Carly Erby, Stillman senior psychology major and camp instructor for Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers. “We’ll also offer STEM-related field trips and other activities such as bowling, swimming, and skating.”

Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers helps to address critical roadblocks to pursuing STEM-related degrees, including disparities in access to high-quality STEM educational resources, lack of role models, and a shortage of highly trained, minority STEM educators.

The program increases opportunities for females and students of color – populations often underrepresented in STEM fields. Additionally, the project-based learning opportunities are connected to real-world challenges and invite STEM learning, career exploration, and personal development.

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