STEM programs typically target students who already have an interest in science, technology, engineering or math. Junior Achievement’s STEM Initiative aims to reach all students at grade level and to inspire students who were not already interested in these areas.
The STEM Summit is a free daylong conference for ninth graders, held at local high schools, that showcases STEM-based career opportunities and gives students the opportunity to perform hands-on science and engineering experiments. Junior Achievement brings the program, materials and volunteers to each school with the goal of inspiring students to choose STEM-related courses throughout high school.
The conference is fast-paced, interactive, engaging and fun. Participants are divided into nine groups that rotate through three types of activities: career panels, experiments and competitions. Each module runs 30 minutes, and experiments and competitions showcase how science, technology and engineering connect to the professional world. The day closes with a wrap-up session ending with a ‘wow moment’ chemistry experiment.
The program was developed by Junior Achievement of South Central Pennsylvania, and the Simons Foundation provided support to extend the program nationally.