Summer of STEM = Success in School!

 |   Shelley Stern Grach

Labor Day is here. Where did the summer go? As we sharpen our pencils, get new gym shoes and start the back-to-school rhythm, it’s important to give a shout out to two great programs that are helping lay the groundwork for Chicago’s students’ success throughout the school year. Both programs are supported by City Hall and CPS and both programs are targeted to increasing workforce skills with the Early College STEM Schools (ECSS) students. The programs are ECSS Summer Internship Celebration and Summer STEM Launch Camps.

Here’s a look at the great work being done to support our Youth.

ECSS Summer Internship Celebration

You are well aware of the Early College STEM School program (ECSS) and the partnership Microsoft has with Lake View High School. Part of that partnership includes financial support for Summer Internships for Lake View students. Over the past two years, Microsoft has worked with CompTIA and Lake View to help identify summer jobs that are STEM related and to place students into paying jobs. This provides the students with a real work/life experience, helps introduce the companies to the ECSS program, and provides Over the past two years, Microsoft has worked with CompTIA and Lake View to help identify summer jobs that are STEM related and to place students into paying jobs. This provides the students with a real work/life experience, helps introduce the companies to the ECSS program, and provides an outstanding experience for students’ resumes for college applications.

 

ECSS2

ECSS3

This year, there was a grand celebration of 101 internships throughout the city for the ECSS students! The celebration evening event included a welcome from Rukiya Curvery-Johnson, CPS Executive Director of STEM Initiatives, Partner recognition by Veenu Verma, CPS Executive Director of Early College and Career Education, comments from the corporate partners, including remarks from Simon Ibbitt, Microsoft Education Account Manager and me.

The best part of the celebration were the presentations from the students about their amazing summer experiences. We’d like to do a special shout out to the students below who articulated what they learned so well:

  • James Hampton (Corliss High School)
  • Kevin Bautista (Lake View High School)
  • Jasmine Ramirez (Lake View High School)
  • Jauron Morrison (Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy)
  • Daria Lloyd (Michele Clark High School)
  • Jacobi Chapman (Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy)

Microsoft was honored to receive a certificate of appreciation from CPS and the Creating IT Futures Foundation and we look forward to continuing our support for summer interns for ECSS students in Summer of 2017.

MSFT-Certificate

The second program which focused on developing workforce skills in STEM is the Summer STEM Launch Camps.
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Summer STEM Launch is a collaborative initiative to provide a 2-week long summer intensive academic skills and enrichment camp for 40 CPS students from the five Early College STEM Schools.  The camp was funded by the Critical MASS grant which is a 5-year $2M grant awarded by the Office of Naval Research with the aim of exposing more students to STEM; STEM in the Navy; higher education; and careers. The camp location at Robert Morris University, course content, professors, field trips, and guest speakers all support these overarching program goals. On the day I observed the students, I saw students deeply engaged in robotics and coding classes. There are two elements to the curriculum:

  • Electronics – In this 2-week course taught by Project Syncere (@ProjectSYNCERE), a wonderful local nonprofit focusing on youth and engineering skills,  students  worked in teams to learn about digital electronics and basic electrical principles. Students will apply this knowledge to construct, test, and program their own smart robot integrated with infrared and Bluetooth technology.
    summer-stem-robot
  • Game Design – Robert Morris University staff taught this course.  Students learned the fundamentals of writing computer programs using Java, including basic object-oriented features,  debugging techniques and code-writing in programming style conventions. This photo is of Lake View High School students programming a game real time.Summer-stem-students

The Summer STEM Camp faculty was stellar — Robert Morris University, including faculty from the Institute of Technology and Media, as well as the engineering experts at Project Syncere. In addition to classes, the students also did field trips to Motorola Mobility and ComEd, as well as a Hackathon. We invite the students to visit Microsoft in 2017!

Congratulations to James Richmond, Project Manager, STEM Programs at CPS, for developing and managing this outstanding program.

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Shelley Stern Grach

They say that great work stems from a combination of passion and commitment, something that Shelley certainly possesses when it comes to her life and career. She currently serves on the boards of the Women’s Business Development Center, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Thrive Chicago, Year Up and LISC Chicago. At Microsoft Chicago, she’s the Director of Civic Engagement, working at the intersection of computing and community, promoting STEM programs and using Microsoft technology to spur growth in the community. So no matter if it's work, play, or giving back, Shelley always makes sure her drive and professionalism help her complete her life's goals.