Two-year initiative to reach 80,000 K-8 students in Title I schools across Puget Sound

Educator Holly holding a snake skin

PacSci Educator Holly Duskin holds up a large snake skin to show students during a Virtual Field Trip.

SEATTLE – May 9, 2022 – Pacific Science Center (PacSci) and Amazon Future Engineer today announced a new collaboration, fueled by a $1 million grant from Amazon, to spark curiosity in tens of thousands of students from underserved and historically underrepresented communities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields through free interactive science education programs. The effort builds on continued initiatives by each organization to reach more students from Title I schools – those with 40% or more of the student population classified as low-income – and provides a critical next step in PacSci’s ultimate vision: providing every K-8 student in the state with supplemental STEM curriculum at no cost.

“Giving local kids expanded access to science and technology education means they have more spaces to learn, more fields to explore, and more paths to grow, succeed and reach their full potential. These are the kinds of partnerships we celebrate and support in One Seattle,” said Mayor Harrell. “I thank Amazon for their generous contribution, the Pacific Science Center for their innovative programming, and both organizations for their commitment to increasing opportunity through STEM.”

The $1 million grant was made possible through Amazon Future Engineer, Amazon’s global philanthropic education initiative, and will expand PacSci’s existing subsidized services to K-8 Title l schools, with a special focus in the Seattle Metro area over the next two years. PacSci aims to reach 80,000 students with a suite of topflight, experiential educational experiences to spark students’ curiosity, critical thinking and appreciation for science fields and careers, says PacSci CEO Will Daugherty.  

“PacSci’s virtual and in-person programs provide educators readily available, supplemental STEM curriculum to inspire curiosity and build sustained enthusiasm in students for STEM learning and careers,” he elaborated. “Our collaboration with Amazon Future Engineer allows us to reach tens of thousands of additional students from under-resourced communities with interactive workshops, live demonstrations and whole school experiences at no cost to the school or families.”

Amazon Future Engineer’s own career exploration opportunities, including Class Chats virtual career talks and virtual Fulfillment Center and Space Technology Tours, as well as their computer science curriculum are additional offerings within the PacSci educational catalogue and will inform the development of new programs to inspire interest in computer science and build the next generation of innovators. 

“Amazon and PacSci share a commitment to helping students from underserved and historically underrepresented communities explore a world of possibilities through STEM,” said Victor Reinoso, Global Director of Amazon’s philanthropic education initiatives. “Students can’t explore what they are not exposed to. We are thrilled to partner with PacSci to increase access to computer science education for students across Puget Sound.  We want students to know how developing computer science skills can help them achieve their career goals, whatever those might be.”

Each year, PacSci serves tens of thousands of students in Title I schools across the state with discounted pricing and free programming. Many schools, including rural and schools with high populations of low-income students, do not have the resources to augment classroom instruction with valuable hands-on, experiential alternatives. The greatest number of Title I schools are in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, with 397 schools and 139,000 low-income students. More rural counties have the highest proportion of Title 1 schools, representing 214 schools serving over 56,000 low-income students, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  

Teachers and school administrators can easily find the right mix of programming to fit their needs on PacSci’s Schools web page. Programs options include Virtual Field Trips, Science on Wheels, Curiosity at Home, and in-person Field Trips.

PacSci’s mission is to ignite curiosity in every child. Its programs teach youth, especially those from communities systemically underrepresented in STEM fields, about science and help students develop the critical thinking and exploration skills that are essential in the 21st-century knowledge economy.  

About Pacific Science Center  

Pacific Science Center is an independent, not-for-profit institution in Seattle and has been a gateway to access science education and innovation for early 60 years. The institution’s mission is to ignite curiosity in every child and fuel a passion for discovery, experimentation, and critical thinking in all of us. Prior to COVID-19, Pacific Science Center’s award-winning, interactive programs reached nearly 1 million people each year – in their communities across the state of Washington, classrooms, and on the Seattle Center campus and at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue. During the period of reduced onsite operations due to COVID-19, Pacific Science Center continued to serve the community through digital and virtual programming. Pacific Science Center began as the United States Science Pavilion during the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Millions came to explore the wonders of science during the World’s Fair and after closing, the Science Pavilion was given new life as the private not-for-profit Pacific Science Center, the first U.S. museum founded as a science and technology center. On July 22, 2010, Pacific Science Center was declared a City of Seattle Landmark. 

About Amazon Future Engineer  

Amazon Future Engineer is a childhood-to-career computer science education program intended to inspire and educate millions of students from historically underrepresented communities globally, including hundreds of thousands of students in the U.S. each year. Students explore computer science through school curriculum and project-based learning, using code to make music, program robots, and solve problems. Additionally, each year Amazon Future Engineer awards 250 students with four-year, $40,000 scholarships and paid internships at Amazon, as well as names 10 Teacher of the Year winners, awarding $30,000 prize packages for going above and beyond to inspire students in computer science and to promote diversity and inclusion in the field. The program is currently available in the U.S., UK, France, Canada, India, and Germany. For more information, visit amazonfutureengineer.com. 

 

 

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