Welcome to 2017 at Project Exploration! We are so excited for all that we have planned for Spring semester in our programs!

Our Sisters4Science programs are going strong at all four schools we are working with this year: Frederick Funston Elementary School (Logan Square), Jose Orozco Community Academy (Pilsen), Ariel Community Academy (Kenwood), and Carter G. Woodson South Middle School (Bronzeville).

At Funston, our STEM Facilitator, Bori Kim is excited to introduce some new and exciting experiments to her girls, along with facilitating visits from amazing female STEM Professionals, such as Ms. Amy Kryston, from the US Army Corps of Engineers who will speak with our girls in Logan Square about environmental engineering and water resources – such an important topic in today’s scientific community!

At Orozco, we are so excited that Angelina Jaimes, a three-year STEM Facilitator veteran, will be taking over the program and presenting the girls with materials that she has been learning in her Master’s program at UIC. Orozco will also be hosting some amazing visitors including Ms. Ayanna Hardy-Fuller and Ms. Munah Gwyan, both civil engineers that work for Infrastructure here in Chicago.

At Ariel Community Academy, Meghan Bagley will be hosting a return visitor, Ms. Becca Thompson from the University of Chicago, who will be bringing some new and exciting hands-on activities to teach the girls about Physical Chemistry.

And at Carter G. Woodson, we are welcoming our newest STEM Facilitator, Annie Yung, who studied Biology at North Park University and is working towards getting into medical school, will be leading our girls through some medical science activities, as well as hosting visitors such as Ms. Krissa Skogan from Chicago Botanic Garden to talk about botany and pollinators!

Also, this semester, in partnership with After School Matters, Forensic Investigators will be returning at a brand new location – Phoenix Military Academy in the Near West Side! We’ve been working hard building an interesting and engaging hands-on curriculum including forensic sciences, criminal justice, and criminal science. We are also excited to bring on a fantastic new instructor, Karen Duquette, who studied Forensic Science at Marian University. Her knowledge base and experience in the forensic-arena will be an outstanding addition to our Forensics program!

Moving to Garfield Park, our veteran STEM Facilitator Meghan Bagley is gearing up for another amazing semester of Science Giants. The shift from teaching our high-schoolers a curriculum to training them to be ‘Junior STEM Facilitators’ for youth in the community has been welcomed with enthusiasm and eagerness by our students. This semester we’ll be giving them an opportunity to work with youth attending programs with the Chicago Park District in addition to continuing our work with Channing’s Child Care in Austin neighborhood. These partnerships will provide countless opportunities for leadership development for our students.

Our Environmental Adventurers (EA) program will continue at Austin College and Career Academy with our STEM Facilitator, Kyle Reid. This semester the students will be focusing on researching environmental issues as well as research techniques to build their own project and develop data to assess environmental quality and biodiversity of the parks in the Austin neighborhood. The Program Team is currently working on planning possible fields trips for our EA students with partners such as the Alliance for the Great Lakes to talk about water resources and quality. Also, Columbia College to participate in their Annual STEAM Conference, as an opportunity for the students to present their work.

Our Brothers4Science (B4S) program, at Funston Elementary School is still under the fearless leadership from our STEM Facilitator Nigel Ray. This semester, the students will be working on a new curriculum centered around mechanics and engineering. Through a newly developed partnership with the James Dyson Foundation – yes, the company with the fancy vacuums – Nigel will be trained in their “Design.Build.Test” curriculum and bring this into his B4S sessions. Through this curriculum and the activities included, the boys will have an opportunity to disassemble, work with, and rebuild an actual Dyson products.

Last but certainly not least in programming, our Explore Technology (ET) program is ready to embark on a truly “stellar” semester. Our very own Project Exploration Board Chair, Dr. Judy Lubin, will be teaching and working with our ET students to learn about, design, and build their very own rockets. They will start with some basic physics concepts and work toward gaining knowledge of the general structure and function of rockets. The students will then split into groups and build their very own functioning rockets, which will be tested and launched during a field trip to Wisconsin in April. Our STEM Facilitator, Nigel, will also be helping out with the logistics and technological part of the work. We are very excited to have our Board Chair so deeply involved with our programs!

We have a busy semester ahead of us, but I think our team is ready for the challenge. We look forward to sharing our adventures, successes, and hilarious anecdotes throughout the semester!

Written by: Jaclyn Carmichael, Program Director

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