Indy wins national competition and funding for STEM mentoring

CAPTION: President Obama speaks at the White House Science Fair where US2020 announced the seven winning cities of a national competition to create multi-year campaigns to boost STEM mentorship across the country. (Inset Photos: Laura Dodds, executive director, TechPoint Foundation for Youth met entrepreneur and US2020 champion Dean Kamen, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Bill Nye the Science Guy at the White House today,)

Today at the White House Science Fair, responding to President Obama’s call to action to get more girls and boys engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), US2020 announced seven cities as the winners of a national competition to encourage mentoring in STEM.

Sponsored by Cisco and launched at the Clinton Global Initiative, the US2020 City Competition challenged cities to develop innovative models for dramatically increasing the number of STEM professionals mentoring and teaching students through hands-on projects. US2020 is specifically focused on increasing STEM opportunities and STEM excitement for girls, underrepresented minorities, and children from low-income families. Public/private coalitions from 52 cities across the nation applied, engaging nearly 600 companies and civic organizations.

READ the winning Indianapolis citywide #TeamIndy US2020 Plan

“Indy is quickly building a strong national reputation for promoting STEM education through our Citywide VEX Robotics Championships and being one of seven cities to win this national grant competition,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. “Indy is proud to answer the White House’s call to get more boys and girls interested in STEM subjects. One of the best ways to lift the economic fortune of our city and its residents is to adequately prepare them for the careers of tomorrow.”

The seven winning city coalitions, representing over 200 companies and organizations, are:

  • Allentown, PA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Research Triangle Park, NC
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Wichita, KS

The winners will share $1 million in financial, consulting, and staff support over the next year to launch their plans.

A guiding coalition of 40 founding partners was convened in Indianapolis to help with the proposal and application earlier this year. TechPoint Foundation for Youth, a venture philanthropy organization dedicated to growing STEM programming for underserved students, will serve as the city’s project manager for the Indianapolis plan.

“At Roche Diagnostics, we know that community investment demonstrates good corporate citizenship and benefits not only the communities in which we operate, but our employees as well,” said Tom Adkins, Senior Vice President and Head of Roche Diagnostics Operations. “When you pair that culture of volunteerism with our focus on education, specifically those projects that inspire young people to study STEM subjects, it’s no wonder we are firmly committed to supporting Indianapolis’ US2020 project and look forward to supplying our employees with the opportunity to instill among future generations an interest in STEM careers.”

The pilot for Indianapolis’ six-year plan will launch in August 2014 with a select group of Citywide Founding Partners, including:  City of Indianapolis, TechPoint Foundation for Youth, Eli Lilly and Company, Roche Diagnostics, First Internet Bank, Dow AgroSciences, Cummins, Rolls-Royce, ExactTarget-a Salesforce Company, 3M, Interactive Intelligence, Raytheon, Corporation for National and Community Service, Women & Hi Tech, Society for Information Management – Indianapolis Chapter, Black Data Processing Association – Indianapolis Chapter, IUPUI Schools of Science and Engineering & Technology, Indiana University School of Informatics & Computing, MSD of Pike Township, MSD of Lawrence Township, Indianapolis Public Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, IndianaFIRST, Project Lead The Way, REC Foundation, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, Girls Inc., Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, Net Literacy, Coder Dojo, NASA Ignite!, Science Olympiad Indiana, I-STEM Resource Network, STEM Education Research Institute of IUPUI, Conexus, Indiana Afterschool Network, Marion County Commission on Youth, Peace Learning Center, and Wisdom Tools.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), in partnership with US2020 and Citizen Schools, has made a total investment of 29 AmeriCorps VISTAs to do the important work of engaging communities in this STEM mentoring initiative. Four VISTAs will be serving in Indianapolis under the direction of the TechPoint Foundation for Youth. These VISTAs will serve as the points of contact to help recruit professional mentors from local STEM-related companies, connect those mentors to previously vetted, hands-on STEM programs, and administer evaluations and collect data for reporting on both a national and local scale.

“Our #TeamIndy plan consists simply of connecting dots and removing the obstacles that often prevent cross-sector collaborations of this scale from being successful,” said Laura Dodds, Executive Director of the TechPoint Foundation for Youth. “During the pilot year, the Indy plan will focus on actively increasing the supply of STEM professionals interested in mentoring K-12 students, then connecting those professionals to carefully vetted, hands-on, high-impact STEM programming at select pilot schools and community centers.”

Indianapolis, along with local partners, US2020, and other winning cities, is pushing forward a movement. The vision of this movement is an America where every child, especially every girl, every child of color, and every child from a low-income family, has the opportunity to be inspired to pursue a STEM career.

“A commitment to serving those students classified as ‘underserved’ – minorities, women, and those from low income households – should be a priority for our city,” said David Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Internet Bank. “We are excited to support programming and community activities, like those present in Indianapolis’ US2020 plan, to identify and nurture tomorrow’s scientists, technicians, engineers, and mathematicians.”

To learn more about US2020 and Indianapolis’ city plan, please visit www.US2020.org/city-competition/indianapolis.

SOURCE: US2020 and TechPoint Foundation for Youth

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joshua Hall is editor of techpoint.org. He writes about Indiana tech companies, jobs, people & events. @joshua2349