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STEM Competition for PA Students Unveiled

The Corbett administration is hoping that a statewide competition to allow students to showcase their skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will further spark interest in STEM learning and related jobs.

“STEM jobs are the jobs of the future, and that will be what our economy will be based on, so it’s important that we train the workforce to be ready for the new jobs,” said Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq, who unveiled the competition Friday.

The competition is open to public, nonpublic and private school Students in grades 9-12 in public and private schools are eligible. Interested schools will each select a team of five students who will explore STEM opportunities in their communities. According to Dumaresq, the students will then select a real-world problem, conduct research and design and build a prototype device that can improve the quality of life for residents.

In February, Pennsylvania’s 27 intermediate units will host regional competitions with the winners advancing to the statewide contest May 29 at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster.

“The five members of the teams, first, second and third place, will have [scholarship] awards given to them to be used in post-secondary education,” Dumaresq said.

First place team members will each receive $2,000; second place winners will receive $1,000 apiece, and for third place, each student will receive $500.  If the winning students enroll in a state-owned university, they will receive an additional $1,000 for first place and an extra $500 each for second and third place winners.

She said to ensure that students from low income districts are able to participate, each student team will be provided with a $500 stipend to cover project costs at the regional level.  Each team that advances to the state finals will receive an additional $750 stipend.

Dumaresq said the administration worked with a team of educators, business leaders and STEM content experts to develop the competition and ensure it’s a high quality learning experience for the students.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
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