Inspiring Bridgeport’s Next Generation of Doers

An after-school program for STEM-oriented students enrolled in Bridgeport Public Schools

STEM Accelerators: Future Innovators is an advanced after-school program for Bridgeport Public School students in Grades 5 and up. Students are vetted by their teachers and are usually selected as 5th graders through an application process that involves an essay and sometimes an interview. Students are bused weekly to the Museum from their schools for 90-minute workshops that cover an array of STEM content designed to challenge and inspire participants. Students remain in the program throughout high school and take on mentoring and leadership roles as STEM Ambassadors to fellow participants in younger grades.

We are very proud to be entering into our fifth year of providing participants with a safe and welcoming environment that allows them to come out of their shells and learn cool science with their peers. The STEM Accelerators program has introduced students to coding, 3-D printing and design, astronomy, biology, physics, chemistry, and so much more. Our students have dissected sharks, coded robots, built and launched rockets, and mapped the stars. Many of them have self-selected to participate in local and regional science fairs and competitions, utilizing our expertise and resources to complete their projects. Additionally, all STEM Accelerators are offered scholarships to Discovery’s summer programs so they can focus on the STEM areas that interest them the most.

Support

We would not be able to provide this impactful program without the generous support of our funders. STEM Accelerators: Future Innovators has received funding in this past year from foundations and corporate donors including The PCLB Foundation, People’s United Community Foundation, PSEG Foundation, and Henry E. Niles Foundation.

Additional corporate and foundation support will allow us to serve more students and grow the impact of this program. Contact John Chamberlain, Chief Development Officer to learn more about how you can join our community of support for this or other STEM Learning Programs. John can be reached at 203.372.3521 ext. 128 or chamberlain@discoverymuseum.org.

How can I enroll my child?

Applications are disseminated to 5th grade science and/or homeroom teachers at all Bridgeport Public Schools. Teachers then disseminate those applications at their discretion. We occasionally have openings beyond the 5th grade level; Schools with students already enrolled in the program are occasionally invited to disseminate applications to would-be participants beyond the 5th grade level.

How many students are in the program?

We currently have four cohorts of students in grades 5-9. We aim to cap classroom sizes at roughly 20 students per cohort.

Which schools participate?

Currently, 12 Bridgeport Public Schools have students participating in the program. All Bridgeport Public Schools are invited.

What are your program fees?

There are none, thanks to the generosity of our wonderful community, corporate, and private funders.

Why an advanced program?

In comparison with surrounding suburban towns, there are few outlets for advanced students to be challenged and hone their talents. When we first launched this program, we reached out to Bridgeport Public Schools hoping for 20 qualified students, and uncovered prodigious need in the community. We received over 200 teacher-vetted applications.

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