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First Day of Mentoring - Brookstown

First Day of Mentoring - Brookstown

October 16, 2015 Baton Rouge, LA - Today Team IBM began their first mentor day at Brookstown Middle Magnet Academy. Brookstown students will be covering a semester long project on bioplastics. This was a great first day and even Principal Smith came down to join in on the fun! (Pictured above.) This first lesson was a brief introduction on the more complicated science of creating bioplastics. The students were tasked with creating their own bouncy ball! How cool is that? This project will be a challenge, but all the students are excited to start working on it! 

More Photos: 

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Second Day of Mentoring - Park Forest Middle


Second Day of Mentoring - Park Forest Middle 

October 16, 2015 Baton Rouge, LA - Today was Team Cisco's second day of mentoring at Park Forest Middle School. Today students began working on their first design sketches of the recycled race car they will be building this semester. These students came up with wonderful designs, and will continue to refine them in the upcoming lessons. Team Cisco has started to cover the engineering basics of what components go into building a successful race car, like a functional wheel and axel. Great to see these first steps and how they will evolve into a finished project! 

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Capitol Middle Awarded IBM Grant

Capitol Middle Awarded IBM Grant

October 14, 2015 Baton Rouge, LA - Today Capitol Middle School was awarded an IBM Grant! Our IBM mentor team has gone above and beyond to support STEM education and Capitol Middle! A big shout out and thank you for their generosity and volunteer spirit! It's a wonderful thing to support our schools and education. Capitol teachers and principal, IBM staff, and the Foundation for EBR Schools System members came together today to present and accept the grant. Thank you again to IBM for awarding this grant and their dedication to improve our local schools and community. 

Pictured (left to right): 
Marine Patterson, Science Coordinator
Ludy Guillermo, Science Teacher
Myra Johnson, Science Teacher
Viola Jackson, Capitol Middle School Principal
Anna Hileman, Team IBM Member
Beth O'Quin, IBM Talent Manager - Louisiana Client Innovation Centers
John Smith, Foundation for East Baton Rouge School System Board Member

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Second Day of Mentoring - Westdale Middle

Second Day of Mentoring - Westdale Middle

October 13, 2015 Baton Rouge, LA - Day two of Team Our Lady of the Lake College mentoring at Westdale Middle was a great success! Today, the students designed miniature crash helmets. The students were given a pasta shell (the skull) stuffed with a wet sand mixture (the brain) and were tasked with designing a helmet to protect the shell upon impact. The students used materials like, foam, cotton balls, and bubble wrap when designing their helmets. All the groups' helmets were a success! This mini lesson familiarized and prepared students for the larger scope of the semester long project, which is to design an more efficient sports helmet. Some students are interested in pursuing other engineering classes, and everyone in the class is excited to learn about the engineering process. Today was a great day of STEM learning and proof of how fun science and math can be! 

Check out more photos from today below: 

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First Day of Mentoring - Westdale Middle

October 7, 2015 Baton Rouge, LA - Today was the start of the Our Lady of the Lake College team mentoring at Westdale Middle School. The Westdale P.E. class will be designing crash helmets for their semester long project. For today's first lesson, the students were to design a wall for "Humpty Dumpty" to sit on without falling off and cracking. No two designs were the same and most student teams were successful and creating an effective wall! The main design components and ideas gained were to have internal wall support and an exterior pocket or box for the egg to rest in without rolling off. This first lesson exposed the students to concepts of impact, force, and design. Can't wait to see what these students come up with to design a more effective helmet! Check out more photos and designs from today's lesson below. 

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Second Day of Mentoring - Sherwood Middle

October 7, 2015 Baton Rouge, LA - Today the LA-WIT team and students of Sherwood Middle School began designing and testing airdrop aid packages. The final goal of this project is to create an airdrop package that can survive a long drop and hold and protect supplies. This STEM project works with the forces of gravity and air resistance, and it is also especially topical. There are many real life applications where more efficiently designed airdrop packages are necessary, especially in times of natural disaster like the recent South Carolina flooding. One of STEMup's main goals is to prepare students to tackle current real life challenges with creative problem solving. 

The initial designs were tested at a 5 ft drop and most were successful. The students found that materials like pompoms and felt were better able to break the fall. Check out more photos below. 

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First Day of Mentoring - Park Forest Middle

First Day of Mentoring - Park Forest Middle

October 2, 2015  Baton Rouge, LA -  Today was the start of Team Cisco mentoring at Park Forest Middle School. The first day was a great success. Park Forest will be designing recycled race cars for their semester long hands-on project. This first lesson involved constructing a tower out of note cards that had to support the weight of a stuffed monkey toy. All the kids' designs varied greatly, but they were all successful! The students were very eager to learn and experiment with different options. Both the students and volunteers had a blast working together on the first day. Based on the first day, this will be a great team/class pairing. We can't wait to see what other amazing ideas these kids come up with! 
Check out more photos from the day below! 
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BR Mini Maker Faire - Shooting for the Stars!

BR Mini Maker Faire - Shooting for the Stars! 

September 28, 2015  Baton Rouge, LA -  This Saturday, September 26th STEMup BR participated in the Baton Rouge Mini Maker Faire held at the East Baton Rouge Public Library - Goodwood Branch. The faire was a call to all makers; creators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. The goal was simple, make something awesome! STEMup BR participated in the faire by having our own booth. We set up rocket launch stations and provided recycled materials for kids to create their own rocket or hovercraft. This provided kids with an opportunity to experiment with concepts like motion, force, gravity, and resistance in a fun and creative way. And these rockets soared! Everyone had a blast, and the whole Maker Faire was truly an amazing experience to participate in. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the faire, and we want to thank everyone at the Baton Rouge Mini Maker Faire and EBR Public Library for putting on this event. 
We also want to thank all of the City Year Baton Rouge and Americorps VISTA volunteers who helped plan our projects and staff our booth. We could not have had such a successful day without the help of these amazing individuals. 
Check out some of the photos from the event and go build your own rocket or hovercraft today! See how far we can all soar if we shoot for the stars! Let's continue to STEMup Baton Rouge! 
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First Day of Mentoring - Sherwood Middle

First Day of Mentoring - Sherwood Middle

September 23, 2015  Baton Rouge, LA -  Today was the kickoff to this semester of STEMup mentoring! The LA-WIT team was the first group to begin STEM mentoring this school year at Sherwood Middle Academic Magnet School. The first day was a great success! The students had wonderful ideas and really started to get an understanding of the engineering process. Here are some student comments about the first day: 
"I learned that ANYONE can be an engineer, even me." - Molly D. 
"I learned today that engineers always try to improve their work and make it better." - Cameron F. 
"I learned that technology is actually anything engineered by a person that solves a problem." - Jakobe A. 
"Working with groups is better than working alone, and engineers help us in many ways." - Luke W. 
I'd say this is the start to a great semester long project! Check out the photos of the towers the students built below. 
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Capital One STEM Supply Drive a Success

Capital One STEM Supply Drive a Success

September 22, 2015  Baton Rouge, LA -  Our partner Capital One Investing for Good recently held a STEM Supply Drive at all of their Baton Rouge bank branches. The drive aimed to collect recycled paper and plastic materials that STEMup BR uses for many of its project-based learning lessons. As you can see the drive was a huge success! We were thrilled with the amount of materials collected and all the support from the local community to help supply the resources needed the STEM learning initiative. We want to give a big thank you to Capital One, Mona McDaniels and Tammy Boyd (pictured above), and all of the members of the community who collected and donated supplies! We could not have collected this many materials without all of your help. The students will be thrilled to have more materials to build and experiment with this semester. 
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IBM win at US2020 STEM Mentoring Awards

IBM Honored in Washington, D.C. for STEMup Baton Rouge Efforts

July 23, 2015

 IBM HONORED IN WASHINGTON, D.C. FOR STEMUP BATON ROUGE EFFORTS

July 23, 2015  Washington, D.C. – This morning, US2020 announced that IBM was named one of six national winners of the 2015 STEM Mentoring Awards, a competition launched earlier this year at the White House Science Fair.  In the  Excellence in Corporate Culture category, IBM was recognized for its work with STEMup Baton Rouge.
 
The 2015 STEM Mentoring Awards winners will be recognized today for their exceptional work in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) mentoring in conjunction with the first US2020 STEM Mentoring Symposium. The Symposium will bring together leaders from the public, private, and social sectors to discuss common challenges, share best practices, and reaffirm STEM mentoring as a powerful tool for education reform.  STEMup Baton Rouge will participate as a panelist at the symposium discussing, “Building a Local STEM Movement.”
 
The STEM Mentoring Awards included the  Most Innovative Hands-On ProjectExcellence in Volunteer
Experience and  Excellence in Corporate Culture. In addition to IBM, NetApp was also recognized in the Corporate Culture category.  Other winners are: the Chicago Student Invention Convention and University City Science Center FirstHand for  Most Innovative Hands-On Project; and Iridescent and We Teach Science for  Excellence in Volunteer Experience. For the inaugural STEM Mentoring Awards, US2020 received submissions from more than 80 organizations in 30 cities representing 13 states across the country.
 
Nearly 20 mentors from IBM’s Baton Rouge Client Innovation Center participated in STEMup Baton Rouge during the 2014-15 spring semester, serving at Capitol Middle School. 
 
“We at IBM are honored with this national recognition of the Baton Rouge Center and our corporate culture of technology innovation and volunteerism.  IBM's mission in Baton Rouge is to serve our clients with an educated, dynamic and skilled workforce. Globally and in Baton Rouge, IBM volunteers motivate young people to see the value of STEM in their education and as a career option. I'm proud of my fellow IBM STEMup volunteers for making a difference at Capitol Middle School,” said Christine Alford, General Manager of the IBM Service Center in Baton Rouge. 
 
STEMup Baton Rouge, an initiative of the Foundation for East Baton Rouge School System (EBRSS) in partnership with the Capital Area United Way, and a member of the US2020 City Network, brings business and industry mentors into East Baton Rouge Parish public middle schools using a high-impact mentoring model. The goal is to increase the number of students who ultimately enter and remain in STEM careers. Mentors engage in the classroom leading activities using the Engineering Everywhere curriculum, a research-based, award-winning middle school curriculum from the Museum of Science in Boston.  STEMup BR is funded by Capital One Investing for Good.
 
"By providing these opportunities for meaningful engagement of our students in STEM projects, partners like IBM help ensure our students leave us more prepared for the workplace of the future. I am extremely grateful for the strong support of our industry partners in providing resources and personnel to increase access to STEM experiences for public school students," said Warren Drake, superintendent of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.
 
“The success of STEMup Baton Rouge depends on our mentors,” says Ted Firnberg, president of the Foundation for EBRSS. “IBM has demonstrated through the depth and breadth of its participation the importance of public-private partnerships in educating our public school students. We are grateful that national focus has been brought to bear on this innovative approach to increasing the number of students who ultimately enter and remain in STEM careers.”
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Tinkering in STEM

Tinkering offers educators a playful, collaborative, and inquiry-based approach to engaging youth in STEM-rich learning.
Tinkering places a low barrier for exploring STEM phenomena because projects use everyday materials, educators welcome playful and collaborative designs, and the whole community can connect everyday interests and experiences from in-school and out-of-school environments in surprising and unexpected ways. Encouraging creativity and critical thinking in STEM education can happen in many ways and tinkering provides a powerful venue to support imaginative and diverse ways of engaging with STEM phenomena and practices.

Learn more about  Tinkering in STEM Education.  Attend webinar:  Digging into Research:  Making and Tinkering in Afterschool (June 25th).
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Four Keys to Inspire Girls to Explore STEM

Wednesday's SXSW Talk emphasizes the importance of STEM messaging for girls.  Jackie Bastardi and Adele Falco of Curious-on-Hudson unveiled four strategies they use to encourage girls to explore STEM during their SXSWEdu presentation - You go (far), girl!

  • Emphasize the fun of the journey. When talking about the training involved in STEM fields, let students know how much fun they’ll have on this journey, advised Falco...
  • Create personal connections. Let the girls see your human side, Bastardi recommended...
  • Introduce them to relevant role models. Bastardi introduces the girls to her high-school and college friends that now work in the engineering field...
  • Link it to purpose. Girls want to do something that will contribute to the world around them...

#SXSWEdu: You go (far), girl! Inspiring girls in STEM

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Don't Run Off - Studying the Effects of Harmful Storm Runoff

Team Cisco wrapped up their six-week mentoring session at Broadmoor Middle yesterday with teams of students showcasing their solutions. The six week challenge was to study the effects of harmful storm runoff and design solutions that would reduce the amount of damage to the water supply due to this type of pollution. It was very powerful to see students engaged in solving a real-world problem - gaining skills, knowledge, and attitudes of working engineers.  

Full article featured in The Baton Rouge Advocate:  Science, engineering experts mentoring East Baton Rouge middle school students

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STEMup Salutes LA-WIT for Hosting IT GIRL Day

Check out images from yesterday's IT-GIRLS Day  sponsored by Louisiana Women in Technology (LA-WIT).  

Sixty-Five girls representing ten EBR middle schools attended the event at Lee High School which featured "creative programming" and professional skills workshops. The goal of this annual event is to to increase middle school girl’s interest and access to STEM (particularly IT) careers through 1) Hands-on creative computing activities; 2) Exposure to high tech role models; and 3) Projects that mimic real-world IT careers.  Free programming, or coding tools, such as MIT's Scratch and Mozilla AppMaker were used in the workshops that were led by IT professionals and assisted by over 25 local role models in STEM and several teachers and students at Lee Magnet High School (where technology-enriched elective classes are offered, such as TV/Film Production, Digital Photography, and Web Design).

Photographs provided by:  Lawles Bourque III with LED FastStart

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Using models built from bottles and broken toys, middle school students from Louisiana and Mississippi did their best on Saturday to convince judges of a concept still well in the future — creating a self-sustaining city that relies on renewable resources. Students presented their visions to a panel of judges at LSU as part of the regional finals for Shell’s “Future City Competition.” The winning team from each region heads to Washington, D.C. for a national competition in early February.

See full article by Daniel Bethencourt at: http://theadvocate.com/home/11412803-125/middle-school-kids-imagine-cities#comments  (photo by: Travis Spradling)

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Get Inspired for 2015!

In terms of increasing STEM identity, interest, and even an entrepreneurial spirit, as in the case of Czarina Walker (founder of InfiniEdge Software), few strategies are as effective as work-based internships. In this recent Baton Rouge Advocate article, Walker credits an internship at Pennington Biomedical Research Center as career changing and her company continues to pay it forward through extensive K-20 volunteer engagement in our region.

See Article:  Cutting ‘InfiniEdge’ Technology: La. company custom designs software for clients

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BRAC Report:  More STEM Graduates Needed to Fill Jobs in Capital Area

As Louisiana's business climate flourishes, our state is transitioning from a low-skill, low-wage economy to a high-skill, knowledge-based economy driven b


ytechnology and innovation. These changes demand a changing workforce - one with the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills embedded within the critical 21st Century skills required for successful citizenship. Recognizing the need for a collective community response to our regional STEM talent needs, The Baton Rouge Area Chamber recently conducted a study and has issued key strategic recommendations as a response to our regional STEM talent needs.  Check out the Baton Rouge Advocate article and download the study to learn more.

 

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IBM leads Water Run Off Experiment with McKinley Students

4th Annual IT Girls Creative Coding Day

Last week on St. Patrick’s Day, seventy girls representing middle schools all over town were lucky enough to attend the fourth annual IT-Girls Creative Computing event.  Sponsored by Louisiana Women in Technology and supported by STEMup Baton Rouge and the Foundation for East Baton Rouge School System, the goal of the program is to introduce girls to the field of information technology by exploring programming tools like Scratch and JavaScript (p5.js).  In addition to the fun coding challenges that included game and web design products, the girls were also exposed to over 30 volunteers representing either IT companies or career fields.  Big thanks goes out to key sponsors who included Louisiana Tech Park, Geocent, Sparkhound, General Informatics, New Aperio, NexusLA, Giraphics, K&J Home Services and the Foundation for East Baton Rouge School System.  We also wish to thank Costco, Bet-R and Whole Foods who supplied snacks for the day.