Suncoast Science Center Unlocking STEAM Education for Underserved Students
Engineering, technology, and math disciplines are among the least diverse industries. Researchers argue that a combination of preconceptions, stereotypes, and cost barriers keep many students from fulfilling their potential as scientists. Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab (SSC) has recently increased their efforts to open pathways for underserved students to discover the world of science.
Access to state-of-the-art equipment and resources in the Fab Lab allows student instructors to design fun, hands on classes in areas like robotics, engineering, chemistry, coding, art and design and more. It is a state-of-the art learning center where kids (and adults) tinker and teach. This unique peer-learning model creates opportunities for older children to instruct their younger counterparts, which builds meaningful relationships and inspires increased understanding of the material.
A $50,000 grant from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation has recently helped the organization enhance the program by focusing on recruiting student instructors from high schools or organizations that primarily serve low-income communities. Funds will also be used to provide scholarships for those who cannot afford classes or camp fees.
“Too often children are boxed into pathways solely based on the zip code they were born into,” says Teri A Hansen, President|CEO of Barancik Foundation. “This work will open horizons into science and engineering for those who dream of becoming an astronaut or building the next great invention, but barriers to their learning have made them feel like it’s unattainable.”
In addition to exploring their interests in science, art, and math, the program also helps students build leadership, technical, and life skills. Workshops are also held to help students explore different careers, find mentorships, and earn community service hours for college scholarships.
“Broadening access to experiential STEAM learning is critical to foster a more diverse and inclusive community within our organization and beyond,” shared SSC Executive Director Ping Faulhaber. “We are grateful to the Barancik Foundation for helping us prioritize those who might not ordinarily be able to participate in our programs.”
About the Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab
The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded with the mission to inspire and support tomorrow’s innovators through experiential learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Through its fabrication lab and innovative programs, the Suncoast Science Center encourages people of all ages to explore ideas, build skills and confidence, and become lifelong learners. To learn more, visit the website or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation
The Charles and Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation—a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida. Barancik Foundation creates initiatives and awards grants in Sarasota and beyond in the areas of education, humanitarian causes, arts and culture, the environment, and medical research. For more information, visit HERE.
Feature Photo Caption:
1. Children learn how to solder electronic components with SSC student-instructor Natalie Carrion.
Photos from Suncoast Science Center