Education Partners Unveil New STEM Institute

(Mobile, Ala.) – The Hargrove Foundation proudly announces a one of a kind science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) after school program for students ages 11 years to 15 years old in Mobile County called the Hargrove STEM Institute. A ceremony to kick-off this groundbreaking program was held Thursday, October 229 at 10:30am at the Kiwanis Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, 712 Rice Street.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, Mobile Area Education Foundation and the University of South Alabama College of Engineering joined forces to develop and implement the Hargrove STEM Institute. The purpose of the STEM Institute is to engage students in STEM areas, deepen their content knowledge in STEM subjects, and expose them to STEM careers. The program’s goals are a perfect fit for the Hargrove Foundation. “The Hargrove Foundation supports education initiatives in local communities where we can have an impact on lives by the giving of our resources and talents to bring greater opportunities for success and development,” said Hargrove Foundation Chairman Dennis Watson. “We are proud to sponsor the Hargrove STEM Institute at the Boys & Girls Club.”

Students participating in the STEM Institute will get a firsthand look at how STEM subjects relate to future career opportunities by taking field trips to local businesses in related engineering fields, hearing guest speakers, and touring college and university campuses. “We are very excited to bring this model program to our Boys & Girls Clubs beginning with the Kiwanis and Semmes locations,” said Mary Zoghby, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama.

“Many of our youngsters aren’t exposed to STEM subjects. Our goal is to change that.” The Hargrove STEM Institute consists of 14-16 sessions each school semester for a total of 28 sessions and will expand to other Boys & Girls Club sites in 2016 and 2017.

The Hargrove STEM Institute centers on the Mobile Area Education Foundation’s Engaging Youth through Engineering STEM curriculum, called EYE Modules. The modules are a set of eight comprehensive and extensive instructional guides complete with materials and equipment kits to give students opportunities to create solutions to engineering design challenges by learning and applying mathematics and science concepts. According to Dr. John Steadman, Dean of the University of South Alabama’s Engineering Department, “These challenges focus on real world issues and how to resolve them in different engineering fields.” For example, the design module called Let’s Get Moving utilizes skills in Mechanical Engineering and the module for Eco-Friendly Plastics is Materials Engineering.

“The Hargrove STEM Institute starts by targeting students in Mobile County,” said Carolyn Akers, executive director, Mobile Area Education Foundation. “But that’s just the beginning. Our long-term objective is to develop a model for after-school programs that can be implemented nationally.”