McLean, Va. — As part of the global commitment to develop a robust STEM workforce for the future, Cricket Media, Inc. and IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization advancing technology for humanity, announced a partnership to create TryEngineering Together, a unique “eMentorship” platform giving companies a resource to mobilize their employees as volunteers to inspire and educate the next generation of engineers, scientists and technical professionals.
The new platform leverages the deep STEM knowledge of IEEE and Cricket Media’s award-winning STEM content. TryEngineering Together is modeled on the CricketTogether eMentoring platform, giving companies and their employees meaningful volunteer opportunities to engage online with students and teachers in grades 3-5, particularly with those in economically underserved communities.
The program’s design is simple and designed to achieve results. Students and company volunteers are matched 1:1 in eMentoring relationships to create safe, powerful STEM learning experiences. Guided by a curriculum designed to be engaging, interactive and thought-provoking, students and their eMentors read short, timely articles related to STEM subjects and discuss hands-on activities that students are experiencing in class. Throughout the academic year, students and mentors communicate regularly online to ask questions, share ideas, investigate new developments and complete projects together. Because the interaction happens online, volunteers can participate anytime from anywhere.
“As the demand for diverse STEM workers continues to outpace supply, forward thinking companies realize that eMentoring will excite and prepare their next-generation workforce,” said Nina Zolt, founder of Cricket Media. “We need to start early if we want to ensure that there is a diverse talent pool of scientists, engineers and technologists to drive the future of innovation. But we can’t do this alone. We need corporate support to reach all of the students who can benefit.”
The focus on delivering STEM mentorship in grades 3-5 is intentional. Once students reach fourth grade, research shows one-third have lost an interest in science, and by eighth grade nearly 50 percent have lost interest or deemed it irrelevant to their education or career plans. Reaching and inspiring elementary school students is critical to building young people’s confidence and acumen in STEM.
“By giving students the opportunity to make a personal connection with someone who may be using the same fundamental STEM skills in their everyday work, eMentoring helps reinforce the message that what students are learning in the classroom today will also be of value in the workplaces of tomorrow,” says IEEE Fellow Dr. S. K. Ramesh, IEEE Educational Activities Board Vice President. “This kind of exposure and personal interaction can help plant the seeds that will launch future engineers and technology professionals.”
Launching in January 2018, IEEE and Cricket Media are partnering with STEM-focused companies to lead the launch of TryEngineering Together. To learn more or to discuss sponsorship opportunities during the 2017-2018 school year, visit www.tryengineeringtogether.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.