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WNY students challenged to put hands & minds to good work this summer


Sat, Jun 2nd 2018 07:00 am
WNY STEM Hub & partners offer two STEM/STEAM projects for students
Summer 2018 is all about sun, sand and STEM!
WNY STEM Hub is collaborating with other partners to present two summer activities that make science, technology, engineering and math engagement fun for students in grades 6 through 12.
The Girls Coding Project is a two-week learning experience in collaboration with the Girl Scouts of WNY and SUNY Buffalo State. Sessions will be held July 9-24 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) in the SUNY Buffalo State Technology Building, home of the college's computer information systems department. The Girls Coding Project will give up to 36 girls from local middle and high schools an opportunity to learn coding skills and introduce them to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career paths, with an emphasis on computer science.
Girls will learn from campus professors and tech professionals. During the program, girls will work individually and in teams to learn language used in coding apps, creating digital storyboards, animated movies, learning games and website development. Women mentors will introduce the girls to entrepreneurship, leadership development, and the wide range of career pathways available to a computer scientist and skilled computer coder.
This is the third year for The Girls Coding Project, which began in 2016 with support from AT&T. General Motors Tonawanda Engine joined as the lead corporate sponsor in 2017.
"We are very excited to work with WNY SEM Hub and inspire the next generation of innovators to work in STEM-related careers," said Ram Ramanujam, GM Tonawanda Engine Plant director. "I'm also pleased that our partnership will help students get access and opportunities to not only learn about the possibilities, but also the rewards of a STEM education. This partnership is just one more step in Tonawanda Engine's commitment to encouraging and growing diverse future leaders in our local community."
The Girls Coding Project is unique in WNY. Technology is a largely male-dominated field, with limitless opportunities for women engage as innovators and entrepreneurs.
"The Girl Scouts of WNY organization is proud of our success rate with developing the STEM workforce. Eighty percent of all female tech leaders were once Girl Scouts," said Alison Wilcox, chief operating officer, Girl Scouts of WNY. "In our safe, all-girl environment, girls have the courage to try new skills and step out of their comfort zones, and the confidence and grit to thrive in STEM fields. Employers are calling out for their need to build a more diverse STEM workforce, and that starts with today's girls. We are excited to be a partner of The Girls Coding Project."
Introducing middle school and high school students to computer science education through hands-on learning is a powerful incentive to pursue further learning and take first steps on an in-demand career pathway. Computer science is a foundational skill for 21st century learning, and is the basis for 58 percent of new STEM jobs, according to Code.org, an international organization dedicated to expanding student access to computer science.
"We look forward to hosting the third annual Girls Coding Project at Buffalo State later this summer," Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner said. "Because of this wonderful initiative, the Western New York community has a new cadre of young female STEM leaders who will be incredibly prepared and equipped for the workforce of tomorrow. Buffalo State thanks its partners at WNY STEM, and the Girl Scouts of Western New York for their commitment to this important work."
Registration is $75 at https://gswny.wufoo.com/forms/2018-girls-coding-project. Scholarship support is available for students in need.
From Aug. 13-24, male and female youth are invited to participate in "Hand in Hand," another hands-on experience where they will design prosthetic hands using 3-D printers and other tech tools. The custom-designed prosthetic hands will be donated to five youth in need, three in Western New York and two abroad.
The STEAM-focused program will expose students from local middle and high schools to basic anatomy and careers in medical technology, plus fundamental technology skills in 3-D printing, engineering design, computer coding and advanced fabrication, in addition to providing leadership training and service learning.
"Hand in Hand" will be held at the Health Sciences Charter School, 1140 Ellicott St., Buffalo. Interested students should email [email protected] for registration and scholarship information. The program is limited to 30 student team members who will enter grades 7 through 12 next fall. All students will acquire basic knowledge of anatomy, technology and engineering design. Registration is required, and is $30 per student. Scholarships are available to eliminate any economic barriers.
"Hand in Hand" began in 2017 with support from AT&T. The 2018 program is possible through sponsorship from The Garman Family Foundation administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, UB MD Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, PhARMA, New York Health Works.
"Making STEM learning lively and meaningful for youth is central to WNY STEM Hub's mission," said Cherie Messore, executive director. "Today's students are truly tomorrow's innovators, and they will also be a vital part of our next generation workforce. Guiding students to a technology-based career pathway begins with engaging their imaginations and introducing them to a wealth of opportunities."

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