STEM AmeriCorps Expands Education Effort

During the 2014 White House Science Fair, President Obama announced a major expansion of STEM AmeriCorps. A summer program will place 256 AmeriCorps VISTAs in six states to serve 18,000 at-risk students while another partnership with US2020 and Citizen Schools will place 25 VISTAs in seven cities.

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  1. Some background on why STEM education matters from our archives ...
  2. You will hear the acronym STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) a lot whenever the discussion turns to improving education in the United States, and there is a good reason. Those disciplines are the cornerstones of the jobs that will keep America competitive in the near and distant future, and we have to get our students ready for that future now.
  3. The big event took place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where President Obama met with several bright young scientists who demonstrated their projects.
  4. We also want to talk to one of the young scientists at the event ...
  5. The big news for us from the science fair was the announcement of an expansion of the STEM AmeriCorps program
  6. A new summer program will place 256 AmeriCorps VISTA members in six Southern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and West Virginia. These AmeriCorps members, serving through community groups, educational institutions, and corporate sponsors, will connect approximately 18,000 at-risk students in low-performing schools to STEM opportunities.
  7. CNCS also announced a new partnership with US2020 and Citizen Schools, committing 25 AmeriCorps VISTA members to support US2020’s goal of mobilizing 1 million STEM mentors by the year 2020.  Fifteen AmeriCorps VISTA members will serve in seven cities – Allentown, PA; Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Research Triangle Park, NC; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; and Wichita, KS – while 10 will support efforts nationwide.
  8. The following is a video of the President's remarks after touring the exhibits:
  9. President Obama Marvels at Brilliant Minds, Incredible Inventions at White House Science Fair | The White House
  10. If this falls in the TL;DR (or watch) category for you, here's the good part:
  11. More details from the White House Science Fair Fact Sheet & Backgrounder
  12. A major expansion of STEM AmeriCorps will provide STEM learning opportunities for 18,000 low-income students this summer:  Building on the President’s launch of STEM AmeriCorps at the White House Science Fair last year, the Corporation for National and Community Service today is announcing a major summer AmeriCorps VISTA initiative that includes six Southern states.  These 256 AmeriCorps members will connect approximately 18,000 at-risk students in low-performing schools to STEM opportunities. The AmeriCorps members will serve with community groups, educational institutions, and corporate sponsors that are committed to sharing their expertise to inspire new discovery and increase the students’ chances for academic achievement. This initiative will make it possible for students to learn about and build robots, engage with community members to solve challenging STEM tasks, write code that will be uploaded to the International Space Station, participate in a “scientist-for-a-day” program that explores various careers, and learn about food production. This AmeriCorps VISTA project, which expands access to STEM education through national service, is one part of the overall STEM AmeriCorps effort. Other STEM AmeriCorps initiatives include partnerships with FIRST Robotics, US2020, Maker Education Initiative, Citizen Schools, Teach for America, and other organizations – efforts collectively reaching tens of thousands of students engaging in STEM learning.
  13. The focus on STEM is part of the President's Educate to Innovate initiative.
  14. The Obama Administration stands committed to providing students at every level with the skills they need to excel in the high-paid, highly-rewarding fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). That’s why in November 2009, the President launched the Educate to Innovate initiative to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade. This campaign includes the efforts not only of the Federal Government, but also of leading companies, foundations, non-profits, and science and engineering societies who have come forward to answer the President’s call for all-hands-on deck.
  15. News outlets from California to New York covered the event.
  16. Mr. Obama used the event to announce a $35 million Education Department competition to help reach his goal of training 100,000 teachers. The president also said the administration was expanding an existing AmeriCorps program in an effort to improve STEM education for 18,000 low-income students.