Services to Youth
In response to the increasing under-representation of ethnic and gender minorities in STEM-related careers, the Missouri City (TX) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and its partners have implemented a two-dimensional field and practical laboratory experiences program designed to provide 6th through 12th grade students from E-STEM Academy with experiential and in-service learning leading to careers in the STEM fields as well as in careers requiring STEM applications in the visual and performing arts.
The ultimate goal is to increase the number of ethnic and gender minorities in STEM and STEM-related careers by providing experiences that (1) increase their awareness of the vast number of STEM careers, (2) strengthen their interest and resolve for the academic rigor that will be required to prepare them for college majors in theses STEM careers, (3) stimulate aesthetic appreciation and link STEM-related competencies to the arts and (4) provide insight and experience into post-secondary STEM education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through our College for a Day.
To accomplish our goals we sponsor annually various activities: Parent and Teacher Orientation – Various meetings throughout the year to provide overview of the program activities, to continue to strengthen our parent and teachers partnership and to sustain and increase student participation in the program. NASA Teacher Training – NASA professionals administer a training program to train all of our teachers on what and how to use NASA STEM education material and how to integrate it into their curriculum. Aviation or Energy Conference Attendance and Tour – students attend a minority STEM conference and tour either an airport or plant, as applicable, to acquire a general understanding of the particular industry before attending the conference where they interact with minority STEM professional in that industry. Annual Computer Application, Robotics & Engineering Exposition – students attend a hands on computer application, robotics and engineering exposition sponsored by Schlumberger. College Application Process – students and parents attend workshops to assist with preparation of college applications, scholarship applications, SAT or ACT preparation and FAFSA preparation. The final activity which culminates and reinforces what the students have leaned all year and allows the students to apply some of this knowledge is College for a Day.
STEM-ulating College for a Day
The Missouri City (TX) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, The Choice Foundation, Inc., and Texas Southern University collaborate annually to provide “College For A Day: STEM-ulating the Next Generation of Creative STEM Professionals and Community Leaders”, a day-long experience with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.).
The STEM-ulating College For A Day program is designed to meet six primary objectives:
1. Emphasize to middle school and high school students that college is both desirable and possible;
2. Provide students with requirements for successful admissions into a four-year college and to provide eighth-graders with viable high school STEM magnet programs to consider;
3. Provide creative STEM-related career choices, in which under-represented ethnic and gender minorities participate in interactive career expositions presented by minority and women STEM-related professionals;
4. Prepare students to be successful in mastering the State Assessment Test (STAAR) in the areas of mathematics, science and reading;
5. Provide opportunities for the students to express themselves creatively in a public forum;
6. Promote students the opportunity to interact and work with graduate STEM students and professors in hands on laboratory work at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.