The STEM Saturdays program, launched in 2017 under the direction of George Delagrammatikas, professor of mechanical engineering at the Cooper Union, aims to engage talented, at-risk New York City high school students in engineering activities. The curriculum focuses on teaching in-depth understanding of microcontroller applications and computer programming skills and includes lunch time presentations on the college admissions process, career development, intellectual property, and patent law. Students work with electronic circuits, switches, resistors, digital inputs, LCDs, DC motors, photocells, RFID modules, and IR receivers. They also learn to program computers to create a “smart home,” with connected lighting, HVAC, and motion alarm systems; and work in teams to develop a design project using engineering principles to solve current, real-world problems.
This grant provides three years of operational support for the continuation of STEM Saturdays. In addition to continued operation of the program, grant funds will support a series of program improvements, including increased training of the mentors, and more timely access to instructional materials. In addition, Cooper Union will formally link STEM Saturdays with their long?running Summer STEM program to create a progression of STEM college readiness support for underserved students; formally incorporate both programs into their undergraduate admissions strategy to increase diversity within their STEM enrollment; develop the financial and institutional support for long?term sustainability of the program; and engage other New York City STEM outreach programs to expand opportunities for students across New York City.