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New STEM Program Focuses on America's Rural Girls

New STEM Program Focuses on America's Rural Girls

Nationally, only 3 in 10 parents report that their child’s afterschool program offers technology and engineering learning opportunities – but for parents living in rural communities, that’s even less likely (21%). It’s also reported that 3.1 million rural children who aren’t in an afterschool program would be enrolled in a program if one were available.

The new Verizon Innovative Learning program aims to address the need for more girls, especially those in rural America, to be prepared for the science, technology, engineering and math careers of the future. On community college campuses over the summer, middle school girls will be introduced to the fundamentals of augmented reality, coding, 3D design, entrepreneurship and design thinking principles, as well as to female mentors.

Leveraging an augmented reality interface and app, students will create a culminating project that identifies – and solves – a community problem that aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Focus areas of the SDGs include poverty reduction, quality education, good health and well-being, climate action, peace and justice or gender equality. Following the summer program, students will continue to participate in monthly courses both in-person and virtually, to build upon learnings and complete their final augmented reality products.