Plans for STEM Hub at Wilmington school aim to empower marginalized communities’ future

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Two years ago, school leaders at Eastside Charter School unveiled plans for the Chemours STEM Hub, a science and technology center at the Riverside school. The project, funded by the chemical company that was a DuPont spin-off in 2015, marked the start of what officials hope will be a transformative journey for students and the surrounding community.

Eastside Charter CEO Aaron Bass said too many students lack access to opportunities.

“I can’t find the access point outside of those that are doing exceptionally well in school. How does a young person in Southbridge then figure out how they can work at Chemours,” he said. “How does somebody in Riverside determine that they can become an executive at Barclays unless they can see a credible path to make that happen?”

The $26 million project was born out of the school’s desire to address a crucial issue: ensuring that students have access to the driving forces of Delaware’s economy, like medical fields, manufacturing, and banking systems.

“The issue we wanted to address was one making sure that young people had access to them,” Bass said. “It is the number one driver of the economy here in Delaware when you look at our medical field manufacturing when you look at even our banking system.”

At the initiative’s core is a two-way immersion — where students attend classes during the day and engage with state-of-the-art STEM equipment. Bass says the building will be more than just a place for theoretical discussions, but will allow educators to provide tools for their students to use and learn.

“It’ll also be wonderful for our teachers to make sure that not only are they talking about STEM in terms of theory, but ‘this is actually your CSC cutter, here’s our makerspace, here is a laser cutter, 3D printers, etc.,’” he said. “And that they’re able to bring professionals in to work with students.”

Eventually, as students wrap up their day at school, the Wilmington Library will take the reins to oversee programming during after-school hours, inviting community members to participate and elevating engagement.

“The Wilmington library was a wonderful partner because they are very impressive in getting the community behind their work. This has been engaging with celebrities as well as authors as well as the public, and they will be running the facility after school hours,” Bass said. “The benefit for the public is making sure that anybody in the entire state that wants to, can have access to STEM. This is the number one go-to spot.”

  • December 24, 2023
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