On August 25, 2022, The Ripken Foundation partnered with Devon Energy and Marathon Oil to host a STEM Center ribbon cutting ceremony and assembly at Edwin Loe Elementary School. This STEM Center was special because it was the first of its kind to be on a Native American Reservation. The event was even featured on KX News, which you can see here.
30 teachers and mentors joined youth at the ceremony, allowing them additional time and opportunities to get hands-on experience with the STEM Center products. The Center has been supplied with fun and educational tools like Bee-Bots, Snap Circuits, a brand-new 3D printer, and Ozobots.
Ripken STEM Centers like this provide k-12 students with the STEM resources and education they may have previous lacked, preparing them for a job market rapidly growing with STEM opportunities. Stephanie Green, the Ripken Foundation's senior director of development, had this to say: “I think really, you know, we want to have these STEM centers and make this equitable across the country. We really want to have all youth have access to this. There is no reason any youth can’t have access, and we want every youth to succeed and get more involved in STEM education. It’s such a big thing now."
One student, Jace, at the event has taken a particular liking to STEM fields. “When I grow up, my dream thing is a baker, ’cause I like baking, but I’ve always thought of that as a side job. If I wanted to be something, I’ve always thought of being one of those scientists that build robotic limbs, prosthetics. I’ve always liked and wanted to do that,” said the fourth grader.
By providing students like Jace a Ripken STEM Center, they not only have access to the building blocks for learning science, math, technology and engineering, but they also get new and entertaining ways to learn, and the might even find a passion within the field.
For more information about the Ripken Foundation STEM Centers, click here.