Since 2008, STEM-X (formerly “STEM Institutes”) has operated with a vision to create STEM confidence and competence in ALL students. It began at one school serving 76 students and has now grown to a 2019 enrollment of about 800! When the program was initiated, true to its initial designation “STEM Institutes”, the focus was primarily only on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math courses. However, over the past few years, there has been intentional expansion to include classes that would be considered more Arts, Theater, and Music-based—hence, the renaming to “STEM-X”! This was enacted with the understanding that none of these disciplines exists in isolation and there is opportunity for all to be interwoven. It is our hope that this brand embodies the idea that STEM is important, and that it is an inclusive term that can represent all the STEM entry points students can experience.
The immediate benefit of a summer camp, such as STEM-X, is that we keep students engaged over the summer months camps, reduce summer learning loss, and give students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they’ve gained over the school year. With respect to the long-term gain, STEM-X’s aim is to help students develop skill sets to thrive in any field, but in particular to give them opportunities to learn more about and build a sense of belonging in STEM fields. Our overarching mission is to create confidence and competence in ALL students in ALL fields, but more specifically, one of our primary goals is to reduce any detrimental gaps to broaden all students’ academic and professional opportunities in STEM fields.