Investing in Community Prosperity Through STEM Summer Camps

By Lea M. Baylis - Corporate Community Engagement Manager
Aug 12, 2022 1:15 PM ET
Blog

August 12th is International Youth Day, a great day to highlight issues impacting the youth of today. How can we support the younger generations and the leaders of tomorrow? A crucial issue impacting youth around the world is access to quality education. One way Keysight is helping to address this is by sponsoring free STEM summer camps to over 5,000 students in the U.S. through partnerships with two inspiring programs working to empower the next generation of students.

We partnered with Girls Who Code, an organization on a mission to close the gender gap in technology, and Mike Hauser Academy for STEM, an award-winning program near corporate headquarters in Santa Rosa, California, providing extra math and science support to English Language Learners (ELL) and other incoming ninth grade students.

So how do these programs help students? First, they are 100% free for students to attend, eliminating a barrier many interested science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students face. Second, they are specifically geared towards the populations they serve, creating a personalized, inclusive approach that helps students feel welcomed into a field in which many of them are under-represented. Lastly, they are fun!

At Girls Who Code, over 5,000 ninth through 12th grade students who identify as girls or non-binary completed summer programs in 2022. In the free summer programs students gain the computer science skills they need to make an impact and prepare for tech careers. They create and share their own coding projects, get exposure to tech jobs, meet leaders in tech careers, and find community.

The Mike Hauser Academy for STEM is a local Sonoma County program that Keysight has sponsored since the program’s launch in 2006. This summer Keysight employee volunteers, including myself, brought a renewable energy theme to the classrooms to support the direct learning experience for around 50 students. We brought solar car kits from our Keysight After School program into the classrooms, and each student built and modified their own solar car with support from our engineer volunteers. Then we brought an electric vehicle (EV) car show to the school parking lot to dig deeper into the concept of batteries and renewable resources. Finally, we assembled panels of employees for some Q+A about STEM careers.

The employee panels are always my favorite part of these events. We try to share stories about failure and overcoming difficulties on these panels as a way to model resilience. I think there is value in specifically calling out the fact that trying and failing and learning and improving are all parts of engineering, and life. This year the best question for the panelists from the middle schoolers was sweeter than expected. It was a simple, “are your parents proud of you?”

Keysight is working to bring accessible STEM education opportunities to youth in our communities around the world. We know that STEM workers are paid more than their non-STEM counterparts across all education levels. Exposing students to STEM concepts early and encouraging students to pursue higher paying STEM careers supports community prosperity by creating higher standards of living for all. And that’s something we can all be proud of!