Initiative Makes Engineering Hands-on for Youth
More than 200 students participated in Engineering is Elementary this summer, led by Iowa State University Extension in Linn, Johnson and Iowa counties. And Gov. Chet Culver watched many of them learning and having fun with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at their wrap-up event Aug. 1, when he announced a $200,000 one-year grant from the Iowa Department of Education that will help develop a model for improving student learning through STEM programs and activities.
The six-week summer session for youth ages 6 to 12 was part of the Corridor STEM Initiative (CSI). The goals for the summer program were to increase youths’ understanding of technology in everyday life, to enhance and apply their knowledge in engineering and technology through hands-on experiments and to increase awareness of children and their families about career opportunities in these fields. The program was implemented by ISU Extension with program support from local businesses, Grant Wood Area Education Agency (AEA), school districts, University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College. Financial support came from the Carver Foundation and the Grow Iowa Fund.
“Youth involved in the summer program were able to meet Gov. Culver and showcase their projects,” said Lois Hunt, ISU Extension education director for Southeast Iowa. “The governor announced the competitive grant from the Iowa Department of Education, authorized by the Iowa Legislature, which will support science, technology, engineering and math learning. It will be administered through the Grant Wood AEA and will allow for more programming of this kind.”
Chad Schweitzer, parent of a participant, said, “I am happy to see the community reach out to children to promote math, science and engineering. My daughter participated and is ready to return next summer. Thanks to ISU Extension for bringing this much needed focus on the sciences to the faces of our future.”
For more information about this program, contact ISU Extension in Linn County at (319) 377-9839. Also see the ISU Extension website, www.extension.iastate.edu, for other information and educational resources.
Lois Hunt, Southeast Area Extension Director, (641) 682-8324, firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Bigley, Linn County Extension Director, (319) 377-9839, email@example.com
Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-0775, firstname.lastname@example.org