Walmart Supports STEM Programming

WaterBotics® STEM curriculum coming to 10 New Jersey-based Boys & Girls Clubs, via Walmart support and Stevens Institute of Technology partnership

An exciting new STEM program will be available to youngsters enrolled in 10 New Jersey Boys & Girls Clubs, through $82,461 in funding contributed by Walmart. Stevens Institute of Technology’s Center for Innovation in Engineering & Science Education (CIESE) is a partner in the initiative, which is known as WaterBotics®.

A research-based curriculum for teams of middle school and high school students, WaterBotics involves the design, building, programming, testing, and then redesigning of underwater robots that use LEGO® components and related programming tools.

The program kicks off May 6-8 at Stevens Institute of Technology, with the 2015 STEM Educator Institute, a  comprehensive, hands-on session conducted by CIESE for two educators from each of the participating Boys & Girls Clubs. This training will prepare the educators to lead WaterBotics summer camps or outside-of-school programs during the remainder of 2015. In summer and again in the early autumn (dates to be determined), CIESE will hold follow-up, one-hour webcasts to answer educator questions and provide further input. A final, in-person workshop (date to be determined) will enable educators to discuss their experiences while planning for future activities.

“What’s wonderful about WaterBotics is the breadth of educational opportunity it provides,” said Douglas Eagles, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County. “It will increase the number of our young people — including minorities and girls — who will develop an interest in STEM education and careers. And, it will provide all the youngsters involved with the chance to enhance their ability to overcome challenges in a group setting.”

The New Jersey Boys & Girls clubs that will participate in the 2015 WaterBotics program are Atlantic City (Atlantic City); Camden (Camden); Gloucester (Glassboro, Paulsboro); Lodi/Hackensack (Lodi, Hackensack); Monmouth County (Asbury Park); Newark (Newark); Northwestern New Jersey/Wayne (Wayne, Pequannock); Paterson/Passaic (Paterson, Passaic); Perth Amboy (Perth Amboy, Carteret); and Clifton (Clifton).

“More than ever, success in life, work, and citizenship demands deep and substantial scientific and engineering literacy,” said Arthur Camins, CIESE director at Stevens Institute of Technology.  “Support from Walmart for the WaterBotics program will help make that possible for an ever more diverse group of students.”

The funds contributed by Walmart will be used toward staffing and support of the professional development program, and each of the 10 participating Boys & Girls Clubs will receive $6,000 to cover the cost of materials and implementation.

“Walmart is proud to join with New Jersey Boys & Girls Clubs and Stevens Institute of Technology in bringing the WaterBotics curriculum to hundreds of young people across the state,” said Jennifer Hoehn, Walmart Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations in New Jersey. “We always seek the most impactful ways of contributing to the communities where we conduct business, and providing this strong introduction to the fields of research, robotics, and engineering has tremendous  value.”