Technical.ly Pittsburgh Youth Resource Roundup: 10 Programs to Help Pittsburgh Students Break into STEM

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Pittsburgh is increasingly known as a technology hub. How can the city’s next generation contribute to this rise?

In September, Technically focuses additional reports on Young people build the future, including student programs and initiatives that can answer this question. Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be looking to paint a picture of the tech work that young people in Pittsburgh are doing right now. (Check out our recent coverage of the Startable summer program for a sample of this.)

Below is a list of resources available for those who want to start STEM early, both at the elementary and high school level. Do you know which ones we missed? Let us know at [email protected]

This 11 year old child, Carnegie Mellon University-A sponsored robotics program helps local students build robots for competition. With high school and college programs, the organization makes robotics accessible to girls at a wide range of age levels and backgrounds. Aiming to increase the number of girls pursuing careers in tech, Girls of Steel – which uses the FIRST robotic platform – also encourages students to engage in the community and take on leadership roles as they progress through the program to help mentor young students. Applications for the high school and college programs are expected on September 10.

This Innovation works-run program is a free, eight-week summer program for high school students in the Pittsburgh area who want to learn more about product design, entrepreneurship and business planning. With development avenues for younger and older teens, Startable students have access to mentoring, networking, business building tools, and even money for those who are doing well on the job. the final competition. Be sure to check out Startable’s social media for more updates in the meantime. Applications usually open in January.

This college preparatory program, led by the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, offers activities both during the school year and during the summer. The recruitment process begins in eighth grade and participants are expected to stay in the program throughout high school, with the intention of developing STEM skills that will lead them to a degree and a career in the field. School year activities include academic counseling and mentoring as well as hands-on science and engineering experience, while more immersive summer activities include non-credit college courses in math projects, science, writing and engineering. Applications have been put on hold during this summer’s recruiting period, but updates on their reopening are available on the program’s website.

This non-profit community science lab has two locations in the Pittsburgh area (the Hill District and the Southern Hills) and offers a wide range of summer programs and after-school activities for students, teachers and adults interested in subjects ranging from biotechnology to drone flying to aquatics. robotic. With both in-person and remote activities, lab programs are a great way to engage in science outside of the classroom.

With a mission to expose underserved and underrepresented middle and high school students to opportunities in the tech industry, Pitt’s Technology leadership initiative operates two programs: Divaz technical for college girls and High school academy for older students. Each program is a free, one-week summer session introducing students to computer languages ​​and applications, as well as the career options offered by a computer science degree. More information about future sessions and the application process can be found on the program’s website.

This free Monday evening show hosted by CMU Informatic school brings together college girls with the goal of increasing their engagement in computer animation, web design, programming, robotics and other technological applications. Although the program’s website currently indicates that the workshops will return this fall, it is not clear whether the sessions will be in person or online. Make sure to continually check the site for updates.

With two programs, Impact of STEM and STEM Stars, the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh offers extracurricular experiences for area girls to learn about science and technology through hands-on experiences and lessons. The STEM Impact program, in particular, provides extracurricular educators with a model of STEM-related activities for K-8 students, while the STEM Stars program is a collaboration with the Carnegie Science Center focused on offering hands-on activities to middle school girls, developing STEM skills and exploring careers. The YWCA also operates TechGYRLS, which is another after-school program run by the national organization YWCA that gives college girls a chance to learn about robotics, science, engineering, and other topics.

This free after-school program takes place online in the fall, with evening sessions every day of the week for different age groups. With a focus on STEAM, students in the program receive monthly kits of materials for hands-on activities, creations, and inventions. The two-hour sessions also involve appearances from local artists and technologists who help students understand potential career paths or skill applications in their fields.

While most JCC specialty camps are offered during the summer, the center also offers programming during the school year. But even if you don’t find STEM-related activities available in the near future, summer camps are worth a wait. There is a wide range of options for elementary school students looking for projects in the field of robotics inspired by space travel, DIY drone flight, and game design, to name a few. some. You will find more information about the camps available on the website.

The Pittsburgh location of this STEM enrichment and youth education enterprise offers science labs and hands-on activities organized for a younger audience. Although the sessions are not free, they are held regularly at various locations in the Pittsburgh area. Short events are the perfect amount of exposure for a student who is new to science.


Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of the Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.

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