STEM Week 2021

In October, we celebrated Mass STEM Week – a statewide initiative to help inspire students to see themselves in STEAM careers and create a more equitable STEAM career pipeline for our region.  

The theme of this year’s Mass STEM Week was “See Yourself in STEM” with a plethora of activities, panels and programs geared toward educators and students alike to foster a love of STEM. Our BoSTEM program was heavily involved, partnering with local organizations like the Boston Public Schools, the Boston PIC, the Children’s Museum, the New England Zoo, Autodesk, Digital Ready, Mass Robotics and the Boston Society for Architecture and many others to create engaging activities for the week. A big thank you to everyone who partnered with us to create and engaging program! 

Thanks to a generous grant from the Massachusetts Department of Education, BoSTEM also launched a STEM Week design challenge in partnership with Boston Public Schools. The impact of social justice issues on youth has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and our current racial injustice climate so this exercise asked students to explore ways to use STEM as the lever for change. Throughout the challenge, teachers supported them in collecting local data and synthesizing ideas to create a social justice message and project around equity in Boston. The issues ranged from climate change to lack of affordable housing to food insecurity. 

I was really excited to have our students see themselves as part of the solution in solving issues facing our communities and city.” – Beth Milewski, Executive Director of STEM for BPS 

Inspiring students to see themselves in STEAM – BOSTEM’S STEM WEEK LINE UP

As part of the push to develop Boston’s STEAM talent pipeline, the BoSTEM team also hosted a series of themed career panels throughout the week. STEM experts came on to share their advice and expertise with curious students. We’re sharing them with you here as a future resource for classroom activities, afterschool learning opportunities or your home learning agenda! 

Monday (Science Theme) 

  • Andrew Rodriguez (Millipore Sigma and Latinos in Bio), Ndidi Rickert (UltraGenyx), Ramsey Johnson (Phoenix Tissue Repair and OUTBio), Larson Hogstrom (Thrive: Exact Science) 

Tuesday (Tech and Trade) 

  • Savy Francis (Cox Engineering), Sherri-Ann Smith (Berkshire Grey), Sayed Shah (Vertex Pharmaceuticals), Brandon Cramer, Autodesk 

Wednesday (BPS Alumni) 

  • Clifford Freeman, Bea Mitchell, Sgardy Pena, Hassan Sakhta, and Hannah Mei 

Thursday (Engineering) 

  • Naseem Razi (Jacobs Engineering), Nalin Ratnayake (NASA), Heather Audet (GZA GeoEnvironmental) Karina Pena (PMA Consultants) 

Friday (Math) 

  • Jessica Sanon (SySTEMic Flow), Michelle Barnes (Covalent Bonds), Keli Callaghan (Algorand) 

Getting hands on 

On October 20thDigital Ready hosted BoSTEM, Boston Society for ArchitectureAutodeskMassRobotics, and Citizen Schools at the Codman Square Library for a hands-on STEM pop-up. Organizations came together to offer engaging, in-person activities in architecture, engineering and computer science for students and families of all ages.  

The activities included:  

  • Building a rock, paper, scissors game with Micro:bits (BoSTEM/Citizen Schools)
  • Creating your dream makerspace with crafting supplies (BoSTEM/Citizen Schools) 
  • Designing avatars in Tinkercad and bringing them into augmented reality (Autodesk) 
  • Operating a robotic arm (MassRobotics) 
  • Structure challenge to design a space for the neighborhood with just paper and paper clips (Boston Society for Architecture) 
  • Look at a neighborhood on a map, and use Legos to place what kids thought the neighborhood needed (Boston Society for Architecture) 

To wrap, BoSTEM and the Boston Public Schools came together to give students and their families free access to the Franklin Park Zoo that Saturday. What better way to celebrate STEM than by learning together?  

Want to learn more about United Way’s BoSTEM program? Click here.  

You can also follow along with BoSTEM on Instagram here.