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STEMducate’s Exposes Students To STEM Opportunities And Careers, Enabling Them To Make Their Dreams A Reality

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Below is our recent interview with Zack Okun, Founder and Executive Director at STEMducate:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your organization?

A: STEMducate is an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that is dedicated to its mission of promoting STEM to students from a young age to increase their curiosity and imagination. Our goal is to expose students to STEM opportunities and careers, enabling them to dream big and make their dreams a reality. STEMducate was founded in 2019 to solve a need in the educational community. STEM Education and STEM resources are so valuable to a successful education, and STEMducate aims to expand access to these resources to all communities around the world. STEM Education promotes real-world critical thinking skills that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

We provide positive and powerful opportunities and experiences in STEM fields for people of all ages through a variety of initiatives that will hopefully entice students toward becoming the next innovators, educators, researchers, and world-leaders. We also aim to reduce the number of unfilled jobs due to the lack of specialized skills that are needed to perform job tasks.

Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?

A: This year, STEMducate expanded even further into offering our first international competition for students to compete against each other while learning STEM skills. This competition is the STEMducate STEM Olympiad. The STEM Olympiad is an annual competition in which students compete to test and learn new STEM skills, and complete STEM projects. The idea for the STEMducate STEM Olympiad came a few years ago as a way to offer real-world challenges to students. Following beta testing with students in Arizona, we have expanded this program with a new challenge that is FREE to any student worldwide! This has assisted us in reaching our target demographic of students from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

The STEM Olympiad competition consists of 3 challenges, each for a different age level and each representing the ideals of STEM education. Students can choose to compete in the category of their age level or any higher age level category. For this year, the theme is tremendous transportation, and all challenges relate to the incredible transportation engineering field. An example of one of our elementary school challenges is the efficient car ramp design challenge. This is a challenge for elementary school students to use toy cars and design a ramp that fits design specifications much like those given in a real engineering task. Students then compete using their ramps to speed the toy car up so it travels as fast as possible.

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Q: Can you give us more insights into your offerings?

A: In order to achieve our mission, we have undertaken a variety of initiatives. Through our initiatives, we have been able to have a global reach, helping communities around the world and helping to make the children of the world brighter, better prepared, and more task-oriented. Everything that STEMducate offers is offered completely free to use, including all of our initiatives.

Our initiatives include:

  1. STEM Curriculum: STEMducate has a large and continuously growing portfolio of free STEM resources, videos, and curricula for teachers in elementary, middle, and high school. Our curriculum is teacher approved and meets national and state standards.
  2. AIM Kits: Advancing Innovative Mindsets kits are project-based kits that are available by request for all grade levels. Each AIM Kit comes with an Interesting STEM Lesson, Practice Materials, and a Physical Project or Virtual Experience for students to complete. Each month a new AIM Kit will be released.
  3. STEM Olympiad Competition: The STEM Olympiad is an annual competition in which students compete to win prizes, test and learn new
  4. STEM skills, and complete STEM projects. The competition is available for elementary, middle, and high school students.
  5. STEM Institute: The Virtual STEM Institute is a completely free program recommended for 9th-12th graders in which students will gain valuable experience in CAD, Programming, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Business, Leadership, and more!
  6. Student STEM Advisory Council: The STEMducate Student STEM Advisory Council helps STEMducate programs throughout the year. Students work collaboratively with other students, disseminate information, promote STEMducate resources, provide feedback on programs, and meet quarterly via teleconference.
  7. STEM Institute: The Virtual STEM Institute is a completely free program recommended for 9th-12th graders in which students will gain valuable experience in CAD, Programming, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Business, Leadership, and more!
  8. Mentorship Program: The STEMducate Mentorship Program connects high school students (Grades 9-12) with professionals in their chosen career type. These mentorships give students the ability to gain knowledge from people with experience in the chosen career path of the student.
  9. STEM Hotline and Tutoring: STEMducate is proud to offer a hotline service to support anyone with STEM needs. This hotline has helped to support students with tutoring needs, senior citizens with technology support needs, and many more. STEMducate also provides free tutoring, both virtual and in-person (in local communities), for students, in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics topics.
  10. And More!

Q: What can we expect from your organization in the next 6 months? What are your plans?

A: In the next 6 months, STEMducate has a lot of plans in order to continue our mission and strengthen our impact. Firstly, the STEMducate STEM Olympiad, which ends will require submissions by the deadline of November 16th; STEMducate will then host a virtual awards ceremony on November 18th where participants will learn from guest speakers and win awards. Also, with summer coming around, we are hard at work developing a one-of-a-kind STEM summer camp that is free to all students. Finding engaging summer plans for ambitious all while on a budget is growing more and more challenging. Our summer camp will help us remove economic barriers from summer programs as it will be provided for free. We are also hard at work expanding our STEM Institute program to more grade levels including elementary and middle schoolers who will join the high schoolers that are currently participating in the Institute. Lastly, we will continue to expand on our current initiatives and we look forward to starting new programs that are able to help students and educators in their STEM journey.

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Q: What is the best thing about your organization that people might not know about?

A: One thing that many people may not know is that our organization is actually completely student-made and student-led. We designed our organization for students, by students. Our organization helps students by giving them the opportunities to dream big and make their goals a reality. We hope to provide students with the opportunity to gain a clearer vision for when they enter college and into their futures. We have learned from our experiences in order to help students succeed in the best way possible. We have determined that students need to be exposed to opportunities and have ways to immerse themselves in fun projects. Therefore, STEMducate has worked to accomplish these goals and provide for our users.

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