Well, maybe not rockstars per se, but a rockstar "attitude" is certainly required to get the next generation engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Our energetic and dedicated corps of Paige & Paxton Make-a-thon STEM Leads bring this to the table and so much more. It's because of them that Paige & Paxton Make-a-thons are rapidly becoming one of the very best STEM experiences a kid, ages 4-7, can have.
It's this nurturing and collaborative environment that allows young minds to tinker, create, build and iterate to their hearts' desire.
“Your staff and event volunteers were amazing. What a wonderful, enthusiastic teaching team! I wish we had them in our elementary school." - Sarah Iles, Mom of 6-Year-Old Twins (Chicago)
Our Paige & Paxton Make-a-thon Team Members come from all corners of the globe, and represent a unique and diverse set of backgrounds, experiences, and "non-traditional" pathways to STEM, but they have a few things in common.
#1: They know that kids have what it takes
Pictured: Desmond Martin, Paige & Paxton Curriculum Lead, B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor
Our STEM leads recognize that kids already think scientifically and have an engineering mindset. With this in mind, they guide kids through the challenges, helping them model and apply science, engineering and math practices to solve problems in daily life.
#2: They know that perception is everything—in STEM and in life
Pictured: Rohit Singh, Graduate Computer Science Student at Illinois Institute of Technology
If we are to meet tomorrow’s demand for STEM professionals, it's essential that today's kids “see” themselves in those careers, just as they "see" themselves as firefighters, police officers, fairy princesses and super heroes. And perhaps, most importantly, the adults around them must "see" them in these fields.
Using the Paige & Paxton power of storytelling, our STEM leads help kids connect their passions, skills and abilities to STEM, showing them that they too have what it takes to be tomorrow's software developers, botanists, structural engineers and much more.
#3: They are more like rock stars than STEM folk
Pictured: Melissa Stroud, Associate Electrical Engineer at Environmental Systems Design, Inc.
The momentum behind movements such as the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign, are pushing the concept of identity to the forefront of the STEM pipeline conversation. The stereotype of the lone, socially awkward, geek working in isolation in a dark room can cause many kids to turn away from STEM subjects, even if they have a knack for it.
Smart, artistic, charming, witty and (gasp!) even fun to hang out with, our STEM leads became more like rock stars, giving kids a group of engineers and scientists to look up to, admire and even aspire to.
#4: And they look really good on camera…like all rock stars!
The WGN-TV News Crew stopped by our Windy City STEM Make-a-thon to get a glimpse of what we were doing, and our Paige & Paxton Team was camera ready. The Make-a-thon attracted kids and their families from all across the Chicago metropolitan area.
Check out the clip below.
Thank you, Chicago! We had a blast!
What's Next? Washington, D.C.!
We're looking for a few good, no great, STEM professionals and STEM enthusiasts in the D.C. area to volunteer for our Paige & Paxton STEM Make-a-thon on October 24th at Cedar Tree Academy.
The Academy is one of the most comprehensive and trusted early childhood schools in Washington, D.C., and we're honored to serve the faculty, teachers, the students and their families.
If you (or know someone) are in the D.C. area who would love to get the next generation excited about engineering, science and technology, go to www.paigeandpaxton.com/events to learn more and register.
We've been to New York City, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Tell us where we should go next!