Deloitte and the DC-area United Way created a virtual after-school program to boost STEM awareness - Technical.ly DC

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Apr. 20, 2021 3:56 pm

Deloitte and the DC-area United Way created a virtual after-school program to boost STEM awareness

Deloitte AI Institute for Government and United Way of the National Capital Area partnered to help middle school students in Prince George's County, Maryland, explore AI and human-centered design.
Prince George’s County middle school students are learning about what it means to be a technologist.

Prince George's County middle school students are learning about what it means to be a technologist.

(Photo courtesy of United Way NCA)

Students at middle schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland, have a new chance to learn about STEM opportunities this year.

The Deloitte AI Institute for Government and United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA) partnered to create a 12-week, STEM-themed after-school program, which began the first week of February. The one-hour program offers showcase engineering and career exploration activities in human centered design (HCD) and AI.

United Way NCA CEO Rosie Allen-Herring said that students have the chance to learn about new and future career opportunities in STEM and see themselves as the future professionals in the AI and HCD fields. United Way said this program is the first of many social responsibility efforts planned for the year.

Representatives from the school hope it will kickstart career goal-setting for the students.

“Our students are innately curious and instinctive when it comes to STEM practices just by the nature of growing up surrounded by technology and devices,” Kenneth Nance, principal of Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, said in a statement. “To help them unlock their potential is the opportunity to connect what they already know about HCD and AI and associate it with real-world application and career opportunities.”

Deloitte employees designed and teach the program virtually to the 50 students located across the county. Prince George’s community school coordinators and United Way volunteers also coach students in persistence and engagement.

The curriculum includes topics such as:

  • What it means to be a technologist
  • Introduction to HCD
  • AI vision, ethics and teams
  • Conversational AI/ AI framework

Tasha Austin, advisory principal at Deloitte, said that the program exposes students to the specific technologies and trends shaping industry opportunities. It’s the kind of perspective that comes when industry joins with educators.

“It’s one thing to provide general educational support to students through collaborations like this, but it’s another to give them a straight line into what’s commanding attention and success in the business world,” Austin said in a statement. “If only current business executives or students at certain schools are getting this, then we are creating unintended disparities.”

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The program is currently available to students at Tier 1 middle schools, including Buck Lodge Middle School, Andrew Jackson Academy, Drew Freeman Middle School, Hyattsville Middle School, Nicholas Orem Middle School, Oxon Hill Middle School, Samuel Massie Academy and William Wirt Middle School.

Companies: Deloitte, United Way
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