Summer STEAM Partnerships
July 12, 2021
The first week of the STEAM Camp, meant to energize your child and immerse them into engaging experiences, allowed campers to learn about calories and serving sizes, make their own juice, and take a field trip to the Fair Oaks Dairy Farm. Professional Chef and Personal Trainer Arron Sain gave a lesson about nutrition while MasterChef Junior Season Five Champion Jasmine Stewart spoke about the importance of cooking! Running until August 13, each week offers hands-on, real world, active STEAM activities, with spots in the upcoming weeks for children ages 15 to 17 available right now!
Enrollment for the remaining weeks of the summer camp only has a few spots left, thanks to one of After the Peanut’s community partnerships. Plainfield School District 202 was excited to share the information about Summer STEAM Camp with parents and students who begin to register immediately back in April. The successful enrollment of so many students was made possible by Tom Hernandez, Director of Community Relations at Plainfield School District 202, who advocates for students to start learning of STEAM opportunities early in their education.
“When you have an opportunity like this program [After the Peanut], they’re going to bolster those skills,” said Hernandez. “Science, technology, engineering, and math drive everything, in that one little word, you’re getting medicine, computer science, gaming design, and those are the things that drive society...Now you throw in the ‘A’...the exposure to art and to humanity is critically important.”
As Hernandez knows, creating a hands-on STEAM program, especially now, is imperative for students to gain an understanding and develop a passion for an area of study they’re interested in, whether it be in science or the arts. During the past year, online learning and the difficulty of safely engaging students in an in-person classroom has only been exasperated, a truth that the STEAM Summer Camps addresses in its fully in-person curriculum.
“Remote learning is really good for only a couple of snow days, it’s not designed to support learning for days or weeks or months,” said Hernandez. “Some subjects are harder to teach over a computer than they are in-person, so when you have an adult who is a content expert being there with the students to help them understand, to answer questions, to give individual coaching, small group support, all that...is exponentially harder when you’re trying to do that over a screen.”
Not only has an accessible STEAM education been difficult for some students to receive, but especially for young girls, taking part in a program about science or technology, fields traditionally dominated by men, helps them realize that a career in STEAM is possible. According to the American Association of University Women, women make up only 28% of the workforce in STEM careers. Making these fields more welcoming to girls brings these STEM careers one step closer to ending this disparity.
“STEM science is only a tool, it’s like your phone,” said Hernandez. “The value and the weight and the meaning and the magic of it comes through the user. If you’re interested in the sciences and math, and I say this as the father of daughters and as the grandfather of a granddaughter...I think it’s especially important for women to go into the world of science and technology.”
In addition to teaching students about careers in science, technology, engineering and math, STEAM education includes the arts, part of the reason why having the Summer STEAM Camp at a liberal arts college like Lewis University is essential. Campers can access state-of-the-art classrooms and resources on campus, and also have the opportunity to tour the university and ask current Lewis students any questions they may have about higher education.
Hernandez, who graduated with the class of ‘88, remembers his time at Lewis as one of the most impactful experiences of his life. “It’s a wonderful liberal arts university,” said Hernandez. “Universities like Lewis that give you opportunities to explore music and culture, the human aspects of being a human being, that’s also vitally important...Going to Lewis was one of the defining moments of my life.”
Next week, After the Peanut will continue to provide an immerse, hands-on STEAM education for kids in their Game Development and Design week! Visit https://www.afterthepeanut.com//camp to register your child for this one-of-a-kind STEAM experience! A sibling discount is available with the registration of more than one child and students who are enrolled in five or more weeks at one time will receive a discount as well. Spots for upcoming weeks for children 15 to 17 are open right now, so register your child today!
Inspired by George Washington Carver, After the Peanut was founded in 2014 and opened its STEM Center in 2018. The company focuses on the power of knowledge and education in the face of adversity and challenges. Their goal is to transform communities by increasing educational opportunities for underrepresented groups in STEM. You can follow After the Peanut on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @afterthepeanut.