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New program to make high-quality STEM available for all Tulsa area students

Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance
Posted at 4:11 PM, Dec 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-08 19:13:20-05

TULSA, Okla. — A local nonprofit is working with educators to even the playing field for after-school STEM programs.

The Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance unveiled a new program Thursday to make high-quality STEM available for all students.

“Whenever I hear about STEM, I run towards it,” said Abraham Kamara.

STEM is more than just a passion for Kamara, it’s his livelihood. He’s been a STEM teacher at Memorial Middle School for 17 years and heads an after-school STEM program for students.

“STEM has no limits,” Kamara said. “There is always a problem that comes up in the world whether in technology or whether in medicine so they have to keep working.”

Kamara was at the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance’s launch of Momentum, Thursday afternoon. Dozens of educators were there to hear about the new initiative aimed at empowering after-school programs to make high-quality STEM accessible to all students.

“How do we improve the quality of those opportunities, improve access to the opportunities, and give our students credit for those experiences so they can pursue careers and a life that they’re excited about?” said Levi Patrick.

Patrick is the Executive Director at the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance. He says Momentum has four components including professional learning opportunities, localized partnerships, program evaluations, and digital badges that certify the STEM skills students learn in after-school programs.

“The idea of introducing badges for students, I’m all here for it,” Kamara said.

“Digital badges in my mind really allow the opportunity to add value to non-traditional learning,” Jackie DuPont said.

DuPont is the interim Executive Director of The Opportunity Project. It supports after-school programs across Tulsa.

“In the out-of-school time space, we see digital badges really being that vehicle to allow students to showcase all of those skills that they develop through these different activities,” DuPont said.

As students take part in science, technology, engineering and math, they’ll have the chance to earn recognition for their work that the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance says could be showcased for employment, scholarships or potentially college admission.

“We want students to see the things that their learning in school have value and have purpose in their world,” Patrick said.

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