Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
Benton Middle School has set a goal to not just teach Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM), but through their Introduce a Girl to STEAM Day, provide students with valuable insight into what could someday be their career and the pivotal role they will play in innovation. Students from Ashland, Coles, Henderson, Marshall, Old Bridge, Signal Hill and Springwoods Elementary Schools also attended the event, hosted by Benton Middle School.
Wells Fargo senior strategy consultant Gary Simms Sr., Chandria Poole, senior program manager for Northrup Grumman and partners from The Boeing Company, Microsoft, and Lockheed Martin came up with the idea for the annual event.
The event started with dinner provided by Chick-Fil-A. Keynote speaker Sasha Ariel Alston, author of Sasha Savvy Loves to Code, Alston shared how an internship at Microsoft during her sophomore year of high school changed her opinion of STEAM-related careers. She is currently attending Pace University in New York, where she is majoring in information systems and minoring in marketing.
Wells Fargo’s Simms stated that the event “not only supports the educational values consistent with STEM & STEAM disciplines within Prince William County Schools, but inspires young minds and opens doors for students to become global 21st century learners. The initiative incorporates industry best practices for educational development and is designed to include parents, teachers, and faculty to ensure a sustainable curriculum and program. This partnership serves to promote the development of creative, interpersonal, math and science skills these young bright minds will need to compete in the global economy.”
Students had the opportunity to attend six of the 13 breakout sessions where industry professionals shared real-world experiences. Employees from Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, NASA, the FBI, Northrup Grumann, The Boeing Company and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics provided insight on how they use STEAM in their jobs. Other sessions were presented by firefighters from Prince William County, chiropractors practicing sports medicine, a pediatric neurologist, an environmental scientist and George Mason University’s Game and Technology Academy.
The Innovation Booth gave attendees the chance to speak one-on-one with representatives from Wells Fargo, the Systemic Solutions Program at Northern Virginia Community College, Britto Orthodontist and many of the companies and organizations featured in the breakout sessions.