Dogwood City Chapter Links Support S.T.E.M. Education at M. Agnes Jones Elementary

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    dogwoodcityscienfairjpgMembers of the Dogwood City Chapter of The Links, Inc. are working to ensure that the next generation of scientists includes more women and minorities. Joining with the Center for Sustainable Communities, the chapter has formed a partnership with M. Agnes Jones Elementary School to enhance its S.T.E.M. education programming.

    Initiatives include S.T.E.M. teacher workshops, school and teacher certifications, and field trips for students. The chapter recently developed and participated in a field day exercise on water conservation and after-school instruction on an energy-related topic. The chapter and its partners judged more than 80 projects as part of a school-wide science fair; projects reflected topics such as energy, the environment, bio-sciences, physics, chemistry, and engineering. Several of the school’s winners will be sent to the regional science fair.

    The Dogwood City Chapter is also developing a “Scholars” program to identify and support students displaying an aptitude and potential for higher education and careers in S.T.E.M. subjects. The partnership will provide the Scholars with unique academic experiences and support, sustaining them from elementary school through graduate school.

    “The early inclusion of minorities and women in the S.T.E.M. process is essential to ensure their readiness to participate in the science and technology changes that will help create the innovation necessary for our future growth and prosperity,” said Sharmeen Hawkins, chair of the chapter’s S.T.E.M. Committee.

    Several research studies show that the inclusion of minorities and women in S.T.E.M. fields is essential in light of several factors, including: diversity drives innovation; racial and ethnic minorities and women are two of the largest segments of the workforce; job growth for S.T.E.M. occupations is extremely high; there are great job opportunities in S.T.E.M. fields across educational levels; and S.T.E.M. jobs yield relatively high salaries.

    The Links, Inc. is a predominantly African-American women’s volunteer service organization founded in 1946. Its members are committed and talented women who work to enhance the quality of life in the communities in which they live. S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) education and career readiness has long been an important initiative in the organization, with the goal of equipping students of color with the skills to compete and excel in a global workforce that increasingly relies on individuals with S.T.E.M. related proficiencies.

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