BY SATHIYAN SIVAKUMARAN, HUBCAP III VISTA, THE HUB
During the summer of 2016, flooding destroyed over 1,000 homes and killed 23 people in southern West Virginia. Herbert Hoover High School, located in Clendenin, WV, was included in its destruction.
Art teacher Brian Barth noticed how the flooding and declines in the coal industry were causing many students to feel unsure about their career options after graduating high school, particularly regarding Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers.
From this concern, a solution was created.
STEMulate Success is an initiative started by Herbert Hoover High School to address student uncertainty about career opportunities.
The WV Council on STEM expects over 25,000 new STEM jobs to be added in 2018, and STEMulate Success hopes to prepare students for these opportunities by providing a few major resources.
“Lunch & Learn” events were formed as an opportunity for students to have lunch with STEM professionals from a variety of backgrounds in a personal setting, encouraging the students to participate in hands-on activities and to learn more about what steps to take to become a STEM professional.
Brian shared, “My students are incredibly talented and smart. They’re passionate about so many different things, but in many cases, they aren’t really sure how to turn those passions into careers. It’s our job as their teachers, parents, and community to support them in reaching those goals.”
The “Lunch & Learn” events are crucial to bridging the gap between school and industry. Software developers, chemical engineers, and a variety of other professionals will get the opportunity to interact with students to help them make the steps to turn their dreams into reality.
Participants in the initiative also have access to a STEMulate Success website with an abundance of information on STEM careers and opportunities. More importantly, the website provides a way for students and professionals to connect through a mentorship.
On the website, stemulatesuccess.net, both students and STEM professionals can complete forms expressing interest in the program. Students have the opportunity to express interest in connecting with a STEM mentor from a specific field, and STEM professionals can complete a form to display their willingness to participate as a mentor or “Lunch & Learn” guest.
Students from WVU’s Reed College of Media also teamed up with the school and community to help create and implement this initiative.
The program has already seen a flow of interest from students and professionals. Program facilitators hope to continue its growth through “Lunch & Learn” events, website, and mentorships.
Contact Brian Barth at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on future events.