Approximately 100 students visited Phoenix Contact’s U.S. headquarters in Middletown, Pa. kicked off the second annual “Think BIG!” program. The partnership with Harrisburg School District is a year-long curriculum designed to get elementary students excited about STEM careers — such as in wind and solar energy.
What makes this program unique from other STEM activities is that it was developed as a part of the school curriculum and meets the relevant state standards. The curriculum uses engineering methods to solve problems in the context of wind and solar power.
This week’s event introduced the students to Phoenix Contact and its engineering and manufacturing expertise. In addition to the hands-on activities, students took a window tour of the U.S. plant and previewed the science classes they will take during the school year.
“This ‘Think BIG’ idea was one of the brainstorming outcomes of how Phoenix Contact Development and Manufacturing employees could support our community at large,” said David Skelton, Vice President of Phoenix Contact Development and Manufacturing, Inc. “The STEM education program for elementary students came out on top, and we began two years ago with Foose Elementary and the Harrisburg School District.”
From November through May, Phoenix Contact volunteers will visit the school once a month to teach hands-on lessons related to solar and wind energy. Last year’s program relied on volunteers solely from the Development and Manufacturing Company, but this year’s expanded program will include volunteers from all areas of the company.
“The next step of the ‘Big Idea’ is to expand the program beyond Foose Elementary to more schools in Harrisburg and surrounding school districts,” said Skelton. “To do this, we need more technology-oriented companies to join us. Participation of course benefits the students, but also our employees who choose to share the love of their profession with youth, and our overall company by further developing our collaboration skills across a larger, more diverse group of employees.”
Central Pennsylvania companies interested in implementing Think BIG during the 2019/20 school year can e-mail US_ThinkBigVolunteerCommittee@phoenixcon.com to learn more about the program.
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