August 14, 2018
SVSU hosts program empowering middle and high school students as leaders in STEM studies
With demand expected to rise in STEM-related jobs across Michigan, Saginaw Valley State University and regional partners are continuing a collaboration aimed at developing and growing the next generation of leaders in the sciences.
This week, SVSU is hosting a program — now in its second year — that will train 66 Bay, Midland and Saginaw county middle and high school students as “chief science officers.”
Modeled after a similar program that has proven successful in Arizona, middle and high school students are elected by their peers to be a “chief science officer” and then are empowered at the workshops to influence a wide range of STEM opportunities in their schools and communities. The goal is to have students take an active role in increasing student interest in the STEM fields, ultimately creating a diverse pipeline of STEM leaders.
“It’s so impactful to have students become a voice for STEM in our region,” said Adrianne Cole, director of STEM at SVSU.
“When we gather people around the table to talk about how we are engaging students in STEM, too often there aren’t students at that table. We want to put them at that table.”
The two-day session — planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 14-15 — will include workshops, team-building exercises and fun activities led by STEM industry professionals from SVSU, The Dow Chemical Company, Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, Hemlock Semiconductor and MidMichigan Health.
The students will lead individual presentations based on their experience at the program from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, in SVSU’s Gilbertson Hall, rooms GS 221 and GS 222. The public is invited to the free and open session. The presentations will include demonstrations showcasing how the students plan to engage their peers in STEM-related activities.
Last year, 50 students participated in the program. Of the 66 involved in this year's initiative, 22 are returnees from that inaugural class.
SVSU received a $40,000 grant from The Dow Chemical Company Foundation to start the community-minded pilot program last year. The foundation donated another $40,000 to fund this year’s initiative.