A combination of preconceptions, stereotypes, and cost barriers keep many students from fulfilling their potential as scientists. Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab (SCC) has recently increased their efforts to open pathways for underserved students to discover the world of science.
Access to state-of-the-art equipment and resources in the Fab Lab allows student instructors to design fun, hands on classes in areas like robotics, engineering, chemistry, coding, art and design and more. It is a state-of-the art learning center where kids (and adults) tinker and teach. This unique peer-learning model creates opportunities for older children to instruct their younger counterparts, which builds meaningful relationships and inspires increased understanding of the material.
A $50,000 grant from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation has helped the organization enhance the program by focusing on recruiting student instructors from high schools or organizations that primarily serve low-income communities. Funds will also be used to provide scholarships for those who cannot afford classes or camp fees.
“Too often children are boxed into pathways solely based on the zip code they were born into,” says Teri A Hansen, President|CEO of Barancik Foundation. “This work will open horizons into science and engineering for those who dream of becoming an astronaut or building the next great invention, but barriers to their learning have made them feel like it’s unattainable.”
In addition to exploring their interests in science, art, and math, the program also helps students build leadership, technical, and life skills. Workshops are also held to help students explore different careers, find mentorships, and earn community service hours for college scholarships.