Inspiring Students Through STEM Education

STEM Education

Economically, the need to provide future generations with STEM education has never been more pressing. Experts believe that up to 85% percent of the jobs today’s students will occupy don’t yet exist. Science and engineering career opportunities are expected to grow at double the rate of growth of the overall workforce and the vast majority of jobs in the next decade will require STEM skills.

How then do we prepare students for the careers of 2030? What skills, knowledge, and attitudes will help guide and prepare students for the technologically-infused careers of the future? While it might be up to a decade before today’s 6th graders enter the full-time workforce, middle school is the ideal time for students to begin seriously considering what may lay beyond high school.

Leading research indicates that most students form their career aspirations by age 14, a compelling rationale to bring career exploration front and center during the critical middle school years. Further research demonstrates that one of the leading indicators for student interest in STEM when departing high school is directly linked to the student’s interest in STEM when they entered high school. As such, it is critical to engage and sustain interest before students begin to think about selecting courses for high school.

Endeavor – STEM Career Exploration is EVERFI’s latest course to spark curiosity in STEM careers and reinforce critical STEM education in classrooms each day. This interactive digital program encourages learners to explore the wide world of STEM and inspires middle school students to consider how their individual qualities, skills, and interests might align with future STEM career opportunities.

Four key components comprise the backbone of the Endeavor course experience:

  • Exposure to real professionals. Throughout the course, students encounter a variety of STEM career opportunities and pathways. These careers represent diverse industries served by STEM and reflect a variety of educational and skill requirements.
  • Grounded in real-world activities. Research indicates a gap between students’ perception of “school science” versus science in the “real world”. Endeavor highlights novel, real-world applications of STEM in our surrounding world.
  • Deep personalization.  As students move through Endeavor, they are encouraged to explore careers and content that connect to their interests and skills.
  • Individualized take-away. As they complete different lessons, students build  an individualized Field Guide – a digital resource containing actionable next steps and course pathing suggestions for students to pursue now, and down the road, as they prepare for the careers of the future.

By connecting students’ interests to future STEM opportunities, Endeavor will engage students in critical STEM skills and encourage them to pursue future STEM careers, whether a contemporary occupation or a potential opportunity that currently only exists in possibility.

My Goal: Be the First to Complete My Education

Today we’re featuring a guest post from high school student Edgar who earned his EVERFI – Financial Literacy for High School certification last spring. Edgar shares about his family’s move to the United States, their focus on the value of schooling, and his goal to complete his education. We’re thrilled to learn the EVERFI program has helped him develop the financial foundations to achieving this goal! Congratulations to Edgar for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Student: Edgar
Teacher: Mrs. Wilke
School: Jefferson High School
State: Illinois
Sponsor: Rockford Bank & Trust

My parents always told me that I should go to college and finish school. I never really understood why until I came upon this website- EVERFI. EVERFI has opened my eyes and taught me that school and education are the key things that will help me be successful. And, to me, true success would be to achieve my dream of going to college and being the first generation in my family to actually finish my education. I want to prove to my parents that all of the sacrifices they made for me will pay off in the long run.

My mother and father are not from this country. Both of my parents are from a little town in a poor place in Mexico called Monclova, Coahuila. In his life in Mexico, my father confronted many conflicts such as; gangs, drug money, corrupt government, etc. I see my mother as a role model because she came from a place in Mexico where starvation and poverty were the norm. Since my mother was the oldest in her family, and her own mother was often working, my mother had to mature at a very young age and take care of her seven siblings. She had all of these responsibilities and, yet, she still had time for her education.

In fact, by the time she was 18, she had already finished high school with honors and finished college with a degree in criminal justice. She had all of this going for her but in 2001, at the age of 25, she married my father and, together, they decided to move to the United States. The sad part is, in the U.S., all of her education was worthless. She had no job, no valid education, and nowhere to live. Although, this did not stop her and, even though they were going through some really hard times, both my father and mother worked. They worked and worked a lot until they could finally afford a little apartment on the south west side of town.

Growing up, I heard many terms that I never understood like mortgage, down payment, inflation, and repossession. I never understood what these terms meant until now. Thanks to EVERFI, I understand how hard my parents have had to work in order to take care of us. Only now, do I understand why my mother always told me to stay in school and to appreciate, and take advantage of, the opportunities that America’s school system (which is nothing like it is in Mexico) offers. So, recently, I asked my mother why she would leave all of her hard work and all of the opportunities she could have had in Mexico. She responded by stating that all of the opportunities she could have had in Mexico, and all of the money that she could have made, would be no comparison to the joy she will feel once she sees me graduate from college. After hearing her say this, I am more determined than ever to succeed and work hard to get my education.

The reason that I completed EVERFI is not because of the grades my teacher is putting in for the modules but because I found this project relevant. Relevant to the way that I can use my money in the future and how I can invest it. EVERFI showed me different solutions to financial problems I might encounter. It showed me ways to help fund my college education. It taught me about mortgages and ways to plan for my retirement. All of these things that I didn’t understand before suddenly came together and made sense to me. EVERFI has helped me immensely because, now, I know about all of these things that people my age and, sometimes, even my parents do not understand.

Although my parents have faced all of these problems, they still have found a way to keep me out of a bad environment. Today, we are not rich. We don’t have a new car, and we don’t own a house. But, today, I can say that I live better than I did a couple of years ago. Today, I can say that I think differently than I did a while ago. It would be a great honor for me to earn the EVERFI scholarship, and I know it would make my family proud. Thank you.

 

EVERFI Helped Me Prepare for College Costs

Today we’re featuring a guest post from high school graduate Gina who earned her EVERFI – Financial Literacy for High School certification last spring. Gina shares how the EVERFI program helped her make financial decisions in advance of starting college this fall. Congratulations to Gina for being one of our scholarship recipients, and best of luck as you head off to school!

Student: Gina
Teacher: Mrs. Gilson
School: Wallenpaupack Area High School
State: Pennsylvania
Sponsor: The Honesdale National Bank

I have many goals and dreams that I want to accomplish in my life and because of EVERFI, which is a great tool, I have gained the knowledge and skills to get there.

I am attending college in the fall and need to save up and budget all my money to be able to pay for it. The college module helped me understand the FAFSA and how to fill it out for college financial assistance, which has helped me greatly. Once I graduate from college, I would love to be able to afford a place of my own and a nice, yet affordable car. I have traveled before and still want to in the future. I’d like to be able to splurge on things once and a while as well. I have learned so much from taking these online modules and quizzes and now can apply them to my life. Staying on budget has always been tricky, but I have learned different ways to stay in budget by differentiating wants from needs and knowing what you can and cannot afford.

I now understand the workings and importance of the banking system and how my credit score can affect me in getting loans or purchasing a car or house. Since I want to be able to afford and get both a car and house, I need to establish and monitor a good credit score for future use. I learned the different options when it comes to renting verses owning and how to choose what will work best in my situation. Renting an apartment with another person will most likely be a good option for me out of college so I can save up my money to eventually be able to afford my dream house. I never understood when looking at my paycheck why so much money came out of it every week, but now I know that by paying that money, it helps with a variety of things such as upkeep with public areas and roads, pays government workers, benefits citizens, etc.

What I thought impacted me the most was the importance of investing and saving my money for the future. Investing my money is a risk, but the greater the risk the greater the outcome, which could be put towards my retirement and my love of traveling. I also feel it is important to invest smart just like anything else you do. I have learned to make sure to educate myself before buying something and researching the best price or options. The best fact I could have learned from these modules is if you save $2,000 a year from around age twenty you will have just under a million dollars to retire with and if I use all of these modules together and invest, save, and spend wisely, I could have more and live the way I want to and achieve my goals and dreams.

 

INNOVATE – Summer 2017: New Resources Announced, and STEM Micro-credential Launching this Fall

Want a sneak peek at new K-12 courses that address prescription drug abuse, STEM career exploration, and nutrition & fitness? How about details on our first STEM Certified Teacher Program cohort launching this fall? Or perhaps you’d like a head start on creating your classes before school starts. Click below for all that and more in this first-ever Summer edition of INNOVATE:

INNOVATE - Summer 2017

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Three Students Win Big With the BB&T Financial Foundations Blog Contest

When the annual Spring BB&T Financial Foundations blog contest came around, Cecilia Kellar, a Personal Finance teacher at Odessa High, enthusiastically encouraged her students to participate. Cecilia uses the BB&T Financial Foundations digital course as a supplemental tool for her in-class curriculum. “The blog contest gives students the opportunity to voice how [the program] has affected them and for them to talk about personal finance,” she said. Little did Cecilia know, one of her own students, Ismael Lujan, would place among the contest winners.

Teachers like Cecilia have leveraged the contest to give students the opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned and, in some cases, receive credit toward their final grade. The contest also comes with a monetary prize for the first, second, and third place winners.

The Spring 2017 blog contest saw over 288 student entries from high schoolers across five states. Learners of all ages submitted their posts, and a number of common themes arose. Saving for college and financing higher education – a topic that is top of mind for many high schoolers across the United States – was the most popular. Many students also wrote about debt and credit. Across the board, entries displayed a wealth of knowledge gain and expressing a desire to apply the information they learned through the course to their daily lives.

So what did the winners have to say?

 

FIRST PLACE WINNER

Angelina Neely, Downingtown S.T.E.M. Academy

“The BB&T Financial Foundations program has helped me plan for my future and allowed me to take the first steps in reaching my lifelong goals without several financial problems. The first step is receiving a higher education. The BB&T Financial Foundations program has started dialogue in my family about the finances available to me for school. I have been searching for scholarships as well as putting a certain amount away in my savings to hopefully decrease the amount of student loans I will need to take out. I now understand all the necessary steps and documents needed to make my financial college experience as simple as possible. Looking past college, the BB&T Financial Foundations program has also prepared me to receive my dream job.”


SECOND PLACE WINNER

Caroline Clapp, Chatham Charter School

“Through the BB&T Financial Foundations Program, I have become aware of many ways to grow my money. I have wanted to see the world for as long as I can remember, but I had never taken into consideration how expensive it is to travel. I recently realized my goals were costly and I probably would not be able to afford to travel, so I was disappointed. After completing all nine modules, I now understand it is going to take more than just keeping my money in a checking account if I want to travel the world. I have since invested all my savings into a diversified investment portfolio. A portion of the money I make from investing will go towards my dream to travel. The rest will go towards other important things like college and my retirement plan. I’m only sixteen, but the BB&T Financial Foundations Program taught me that I can never start saving too early because the longer my money is invested, the more it will grow.


THIRD PLACE WINNER

Ismael Lujan, Odessa High School

Learning with the BB&T Financial Foundations program’s concepts and lessons has made it simple for me to understand how to stay on track and reach my goals while also saving money and still having fun and being happy. The BB&T Financial Foundations program really opens your eyes to the truth and reality that is money. For instance, I never thought of money being a tool, and it is a very powerful tool which we can all use to our advantage. This program has really showed the more intellectual side of handling and saving money. I can safely say that I view the world a little more differently now, but the most important lesson it has taught me is that it is important to save and plan ahead, only use what you need.”

Vault Brings Learning Up a Notch

Today we’re featuring a guest post from elementary student Natalie who earned her Vault – Understanding Money certification this spring. Natalie shares how the Vault program started out as just an assignment, but quickly became a valuable learning experience for her future. Congrats to Natalie for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Natalie

Student: Natalie
Teacher: Ms. Caterina
School: Mammoth Heights Elementary School
State: Colorado
Sponsor: Colorado Office of the Attorney General

My name is Natalie and I am 12 years old. EVERFI’s Vault was a life changer for me. I learned so much and had so much fun doing it! It took me a while, but it was worth it. I learned so much within the six lessons, but learned the most out of Responsible Money Choices, Income and Careers , and Planning and Money Management. At first I started out doing it for an assignment and ended up doing it for fun.

The first world within the program was about Responsible Money Choices. When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I started a savings account. I would earn the money and go to the bank to deliver it straight into my savings account. I stopped after a while as I yearned to go the mall or movies with my friends. I ended up almost using all my money except for the money in my savings account. When I started the Responsible Money Choices lesson on EVERFI, I started feeling guilty and ended up putting money in my savings account again. I keep a little money in my wallet for things I really need but the rest of my money goes in the savings account. I learned that having a savings account is an important thing and money isn’t meant to be wasted. I should also save my money now so that I can have it for the future. Such as college, or maybe even my career. I hope I never use all my money up again for silly things.

When I was done with the first world I was excited to see what was next. It ended up being the Income and Careers lesson. At first I didn’t know what income was, but as I continued through that activity’s lessons I learned that it is hard earned money through a career. A career is usually a passion that is turned into something that will be happening for the rest of a life. I first started out bored and confused but ended up learning that income is very important and is not just about making money. It is about making money and having fun doing it.

In the third lesson, Planning and Money Management, I learned so much. I have a very big structured brain, which means that I am very organized. Planning is a big part of your future. With my organized brain I am sure that I can take my knowledge to the next level. I can think about my money. I learned that it is the best time when you are around my age to start saving up and stop spending. That is why I started a savings account. It helps my organized brain think. I also learned that it can be so confusing to do taxes and checks. As I got deeper into Vault, I learned that can be quite simple.

EVERFI is such an amazing and really helpful tool. It helped me through some tough times. I hope everyone around the world uses EVERFI’s Vault. It may start out as an assignment, but will for sure turn out as a thing to do for fun. It brings learning up a notch and is very helpful for teachers. EVERFI is a life changer.

Teacher Feature: I am motivated everyday to see my students explore

At EVERFI, we know our best STEM advocates are our educators.

Today we’re featuring Ms. Scarfogliero, a science teacher at PS/IS 109 Glenwood Academy of Science and Technology in New York.

How do you implement EVERFI’s resources in your classroom?

I implement EVERFI’s resources in my classroom through the Future Goals – Hockey Scholar program.  This is my second year using the program in my 8th grade science classes.  Before Hockey Scholar, most of my students were unfamiliar with the game of hockey, and the entire program was a new experience for them.  My students loved it!  They obtain a great deal of STEM knowledge in each module and love competing to win trophies.  

 

Why do you use EVERFI’s resources?

I continue to use EVERFI’s resources to increase student motivation and engagement. Students are exposed to real life experiences and observe first hand the connection between science and sports. My students are always motivated to use the program to learn new content.   I like the ease of use EVERFI’s programs and differentiation the program adds to my classroom.  Hockey Scholar is easily accessible to all types of learners.  

 

How do you think technology will change education over the next 10 years?

I feel technology is the largest area for growth in education today.  Students are always on their phones or computers; we should harness that level of engagement and interaction into academic success.  EVERFI’s partnership has offered both a beneficial technology and additional interactive STEM component to my science classroom.  This partnership has also made a positive impact on my pedagogy. Technology fuels student excitement and successfully differentiates instruction.  Using the program to explore science, technology, engineering and math topics has helped my students to think critically, design, collaborate, problem solve, use the scientific method and learn about the engineering process.  I am motivated everyday to see my students explore new concepts and be passionate about science.  

 

What impact have these programs had on your classroom?

Over the past two years using the program, I have seen improvement in student motivation and understanding of many topics, including physical science topics such as force and motion.  The program has also exposed my students to different fields of science and sports as well as possible future career paths. Thank you for offering such a beneficial teaching tool!

 

Thank YOU, Ms. Scarfogliero!

 Ms. Scarfogliero

Laura Scarfogliero

Science Teacher

PS/IS 109 Glenwood Academy of Science and Technology

Learning Through EVERFI Has Settled Some of My Financial Worries

Today we’re featuring a guest post from student Miranda who shares her experience with EverFi – Financial Literacy and how she believes the program has helped her better prepare for life after high school. Congrats to Miranda for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Student: Miranda
Teacher: Mr. Keller
School: Oliver Wendell Holmes High School
State: Texas
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

There is no such thing as being 100 percent prepared for anything in life. In school we are taught how to write better, solve math problems quicker, and memorize scientific and historical facts longer, but we are never directly taught how to do important fundamentals of life. Often times I have heard stories from my friends who wish they would have known this or didn’t find out until it was too late, and it has made me wonder why aren’t students informed sooner? I believe the reason people are unsuccessful in their finances is not because they failed to prepare themselves for future circumstances, but rather they simply were not given the tools to know for themselves. EVERFI is the tool that can and does help numerous students transition securely into their new financial circumstances. The three topics I believe will help me directly after high school are higher education, credit scores, and investing. By understanding these three topics better, I feel more prepared and assured in myself to increase my financial stability for the future.

Learning about higher education, credit scores, and investing through EVERFI has settled some of my financial worries by exposing me to various paths and helping me to choose the best ones for me. The higher education portion of the module has made me feel better prepared on how to pay for college. Understanding how my FAFSA provides a personalized limit on money I can use toward college, how filing for subsidized loans is a better choice, and how to get more grant and scholarship opportunities has benefited me in organizing a suitable way to pay for college. This section taught me how to handle my payments and debts for college in a way so that once I graduate, I will not feel overwhelmed or stressed like many other graduates often do.

Before using the module I didn’t know the advantages and disadvantages of having a credit card nor how it could effect my credit scores. I will now be encouraged to pay my future credit bills on time so that credit lenders will know I am dependable; furthermore, making me eligible to receive loans in the future. The investment section taught me how it’s better to prepare for situations that are years ahead rather than months away. I’ve learned that bonds are loans to business and are safer choices than stocks where the profit I earn fluctuates along with success of that particular business. I now know undoubtedly by saving more today I can enjoy the benefits tomorrow .

I appreciate this module for teaching myself, alongside many other users, how to not be afraid of our future responsibilities. I believe that the reason so many people stress over their finances is because they don’t know what to expect. This module may not take care of all of the financial burdens people face, but it does help to educate and prepare them for when situations arise.

Future Goals STEM Scholarship Winners

 

Announcing the winners of the Future Goals STEM Scholarship!

More than 1,000 students across the country submitted entries for our Future Goals STEM Scholarship competition! We were blown away by students’ stories detailing how The Future Goals Program helped them learn important STEM skills and career opportunities. Thank you to all of the students and teachers who participated.

Congratulations to the winners who will each receive a $1,000 529 College Savings Scholarship to help fund their STEM educations:

Mallory S, Oblock Junior High School, PA
Caitlyn Z, Whitt Fine Arts Academy, TX
Natalie M, Garrett Junior High School, NV