Midland is known as the City of Modern Explorers.
And while not everyone has to be good at science or math, it is good to know that there is community support for young scientists through ideas like the “science officers” program at Saginaw Valley State University.
That college is making sure local middle and high school students get all the encouragement they need to excel in science this fall through this mentoring program.
Students are elected by their peers to be a “chief science officer” and then are empowered to influence a wide range of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) opportunities in their schools and communities. The goal is to have students take an active role in increasing student interest in the STEM fields and ultimately create a diverse pipeline of STEM leaders.
The university received a $40,000 grant from The Dow Chemical Co. Foundation to run the community-minded pilot program at middle schools and high schools in Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties for the 2017-18 school year.
“We are proud to collaborate with our longtime partner SVSU to bring the chief science officer program to the Great Lakes Bay Region,” said Rob Vallentine, president of The Dow Chemical Company Foundation. “This program will empower students and educators to be local STEM leaders, who by sharing their knowledge in our community will create a multiplier effect of more young people getting excited about and prepared in STEM subjects, and hopefully interested in pursuing STEM careers.”
The funds will support up to two students and a teacher mentor from each participating school to attend a two-day summer institute that will bring middle school and high school students to SVSU on Aug. 22-23. About 50 students are expected to participate for the upcoming year.
Money from the grant also is set aside to provide mini-grants of up to $250 to support the “chief science officers” who develop plans for STEM projects to serve their school or community. Participating school districts include Bay City, Freeland and Midland Public Schools. And, additional schools that are interested in joining the program can still get involved through the U.S. Department of Technology.
We need more scientists. And the Midland area, taking advantage of its history of science job creators, can lead the way in this part of the state.
So while not everyone may be interested in science, it’s good to know that those who are interested have plenty of support and encouragement.