NYA offers exciting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) opportunities in a broad range of experiential learning classes including robotics, rocketry and computer programming. As an extension of the Personal Best program at NYA, the STEM classes not only offer engaging learning opportunities, they also provide important career exposure. Unique to NYA, our STEM classes are group taught by volunteer engineers, rocket scientists, and computer programmers from industry-leading STEM companies including Boeing and Aerospace Corp.
STEM classes also play an important role in the personal development of our students. Since the classes are project-based, the students have the opportunity to work individually or in small groups on their own work-product. Along with the ups and downs of learning new skills, the students also develop self-confidence and grit. Programming one’s own video game or animating a robot leaves the students with a real sense of accomplishment and confidence which translates into many students asking, ‘What’s next?’
For NYA this year, ‘What’s next?’ is expanding STEM to satellites, growing our volunteer base and adding even more classes. As part of our focus of extending our model to other low-income communities, NYA is planning to teach robotics at additional locations. A grant recipient of a new type of simplified robot platform called “Hummingbird”, NYA added a class for younger students (4-5th grades) and is actively recruiting a new group of STEM volunteers for the program. A 3-D video game and movie class is also in development.