Industry, government, and education leaders in the Montgomery area have launched one of Alabama’s first regional STEM ecosystems. The launch event, called TechMGM, saw over 850 kids engaging in various science-related activities, including making elephant toothpaste, riding hovercrafts, and watching a sheep heart dissection. The ecosystem aims to provide more opportunities for students in the Montgomery, Tuskegee, and Auburn areas to explore STEM careers and possibilities.
TechMGM executive director Charisse Stokes emphasized the importance of exposing students to STEM careers and showcasing the endless possibilities that STEM education offers. Stokes is also a member of the executive committee for the Alabama STEM Council, which was established by Governor Kay Ivey in 2020 to enhance STEM education and workforce development in the state. The council has been working to create a STEM Learning Ecosystem for Alabama, and the recent launch of the I-85 STEM Learning Ecosystem is part of this effort.
The Alabama STEM Ecosystem, along with 10 other new ecosystems, has joined the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice Leadership Coordinating Council. This network aims to expand opportunities and diversity in STEM education and careers. By creating regional ecosystems, the initiatives hope to provide more diverse scholars with access to STEM opportunities and support them in realizing the potential of a STEM career.
The Montgomery-area ecosystem takes inspiration from STEM NOLA, a successful nonprofit organization that has consistently expanded science, technology, engineering, and math activities for students in Louisiana. Alabama’s state and regional initiatives seek to leverage existing opportunities like school robotics programs and Girls Who Code, while also creating new avenues for STEM exploration. The goal is to address the thousands of vacant STEM job positions and build a digitally competent and competitive talent pool.
The launch event of the I-85 STEM Learning Ecosystem reflects a promising start towards achieving the main goal of reaching as many children as possible with STEM education. With the establishment of the ecosystem, students in the Montgomery area and beyond can look forward to more accessible and engaging STEM learning experiences.
Source: Montgomery Advertiser