STEMM Foundation expands science programs

By Jay Wilson

The goal of the Henry Cluster STEMM Foundation to build partnerships with SDSU and other community resources continues to gain momentum.

On Dec. 13, members of the Henry Cluster STEMM Foundation met with Dr. Eric Frost, director of the Visualization Lab at SDSU, along with Dr. Pat Abbott, professor emeritus from the SDSU Geology Department, and Alicia Berg, the education program instructor for the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation, plus Olivia Allison and Denise Tayco, the Science Department chairs for Lewis and Pershing Middle Schools respectively.

The purpose was to discuss the curriculum for the seventh-grade science classes and how the professors at SDSU and Alicia Berg will be assisting in the education of the seventh-grade science students and incorporating the new way science is being taught in our schools.

On Dec. 15, Dr. Natalie Mladenov, a professor with the SDSU Engineering Department, and several of her grad students visited Mrs. Milse’s fifth-grade class at Dailard Elementary and conducted a water experiment and project as part of a science lesson which met the curriculum connected to the Next Generation Science Standards. There is a new way science is being taught in our schools.

First LEGO League to expand

The Henry Cluster STEMM Foundation is establishing FIRST (Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) community teams for K-12 students and parents in the Henry Cluster neighborhoods: FIRST LEGO League Jr. (for ages 6 to 9), FIRST LEGO League (for ages 9 to 14), and FIRST Tech Challenge (for grades seven to 12). Participants in the HCSTEMM FIRST programs will learn to use technology to solve real problems that affect their community, while learning the core values of collaboration, friendly competition, and gracious professionalism.

FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Robotics Competition programs are already very successful at Henry Cluster schools, and they are very popular with the students who participate. The HCSTEMM community teams will expand FIRST opportunities to students who are unable to participate in their school teams because they are in the wrong grade or cannot meet the school schedule, and to students who attend school without teams.

FIRST is an international nonprofit program that challenges and motivates young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills. There are thousands of FIRST teams worldwide, and the Henry Cluster STEMM Foundation is excited to add a few more teams at home.

A donation to the Henry Cluster STEMM Foundation will enable us to provide robot kits, challenge materials, project supplies, computer technology, and other resources to these community teams. Its network of experienced FIRST coaches and mentors provides knowledge, advice, and support to rookie teams and coaches who are preparing for their first competitions. Our winter fundraising goal for the 2018 season is $10,000.

Donations can be made via PayPal at the Henry Cluster STEMM Foundation website, The HCSTEMM has public board meetings each month; if you are interested in attending, please check the online calendar or email for more information.

—Jay Wilson writes on behalf of the Henry Cluster STEMM Foundation. Reach him at

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