THE STORY OF OUR STEM CITY
What Happens When A School District, Parents, And A Community Come Together?
Our STEM City teaches kids about STEM by building a bridge between our schools and the technology found locally. The concept for Our STEM City was born back in 2019. STEM is all around us. And the more we can show how our families, friends, and community embrace STEM daily, the more our kids will too.
In 2019, Bath hosted its first STEM night. Originally hoping for a school gym filled with a dozen hands-on experiments run by the school staff. Instead, 400+ students and parents walked into the Bath Middle School. They were met by over 30 vendors exhibiting everything from virtual reality to the chemistry of yeast.
Welcome to Bath, Maine. With a population of over 8,000, Bath is a quaint river town located on the midcoast. It's the kind of town where kids can safely ride their bikes, and you're sure to run into at least a neighbor or two at the grocery store picking up milk. However, Bath wasn't always a quiet, picturesque city. With a rich 300+ year history of building ships, Bath was one of the original technology-driven cities in the US. Bath's vibrant past was home to the fishing, ice, timber, and shipping industries. BIW (Bath Iron Works) continues to build state-of-the-art battleships on Bath's waterfront today.
In the fall of 2018, Bath parent and then PTA officer Karen DSilva met Paul Friedman, BIW's head designer for the Advanced Concepts Engineering group. She got Paul's email address and a very loose "maybe" to possibly be involved in the Bath Elementary PTA's STEM night. "Why can't we think big? BIW is a huge part of our city. They are precisely what STEM is all about. What better way to connect our kids with the concept of STEM?" At that moment, STEM night took shape. If BIW was interested in participating in our local STEM night, there might be others.
With a firm date on the calendar in the spring of 2019, Karen and her STEM Night co-creators: Monica Wright (a Bath Middle School science teacher), Meg Barker (the Fisher Mitchell librarian), Adam Deane (3rd-grade teacher at Fisher Mitchell) and a STEM enthusiast parent George Sprague worked together to organize RSU1's first STEM Night. The group's enthusiasm quickly convinced the Bath area schools, businesses, organizations, and clubs to come together for the sake of our kids.
In the end, BIW stood beside their cooking store, their Girl Scouts, The University of Maine, their middle school robotic club, and their Maritime Museum's boat-building program (to name a few) as the town of Bath came together to marvel at STEM. Kids, parents, teachers, and community members all walked out of the building with a new understanding of how STEM makes our city run.
Karen and Monica are currently planning another STEM event - Our STEM City for RSU1 in Bath on April 6th. As their plans ramp up, BIW is again the first to sign up as a partner. Are you interested in participating? Click on the button below to let us know what you need at your table, and visit our "Connect" page for information for who to reach out to Karen and Monica.
It takes a village to connect a student to a successful future.