Posted on August 11, 2017

BGCC Members Become STEM Heroes

Anthony proudly carries a 3D-printed shoe around the Club. “We’re learning how to design and build stuff to help other people, and that’s the best part,” says the 11-year-old about his experience with the Local Tech Heroes program.  This summer, Local Tech Heroes has spent three weeks at the Clubs. During the five-day program, members get an immersive experience in STEM using virtual reality, 3D printing, and coding.

Local Tech Heroes is a local non-profit that collaborates with businesses, youth, and emerging technologies to solve problems in the immediate community. The program empowers members to find creative and innovative solutions – like Anthony’s shoe – to relevant issues. This particular task was for members to design and 3D print a vessel that can be used to germinate seeds and grow healthy food. Anthony’s solution combined form and function.

In addition to building planters, students learned to use recycled coffee grounds to plant vegetables and herbs, and some students even designed planters that drain excess water to prevent root rotting – and that was just Day 1! Arielle, Associate Director of Programs & Club Operations, shared, “The kids are being introduced to engineering through virtual reality which is something that our members haven’t been exposed to yet. It allows the kids to think about what is useful for the world to have in a 3D space instead of being restricted to pen and paper. It’s been opening a lot of doors for kids to think about STEM-related careers in their futures.”

The enthusiasm that Local Tech Heroes has shared with the Clubs all summer has had great impacts on the youth. “When members tell us that coding a robot to navigate a smart city grid to deliver fresh vegetables to their neighborhood is “so easy,” we know our program is working!” they shared. With Local Tech Heroes’ help, our members will be equipped for 21st century careers in the ever-changing landscape of technology.  We are so grateful that Local Tech Heroes generously partnered with us for the summer and members are looking forward to continuing the STEM program into the school year!