“Our children have the energy and talent to become the next generation of global innovators-they have the passion and motivation to fuel positive change. It is our job to translate that passion and motivation into a desire to pursue opportunities in STEM-based endeavors. Our future depends on it.”
We believe that education, and particularly STEM education, is the fundamental sustainability issue of our time, since the solutions to poverty, global health issues and climate change will require a highly educated and STEM-literate population.
Our “Making the Future” program is themed upon the do-it-yourself “maker movement” that seeks to inspire young learners in STEM by providing fun, hands-on learning opportunities. By providing access to an environment, tools and mentors students are building things and getting exposed to electronics, open source micro-controllers like Arduino and Raspberry Pi, digital fabrication tools like vinyl cutters, CNC routers and 3-D printers, and programming languages like Scratch. In other projects, they will get to work with digital music, hydroponics or for younger kids, Squishy Circuits. Our goal is to generate interest which studies show is a stronger indicator of whether kids will pursue STEM fields.
From the STEMworks databank we currently support: Engineering is Elementary (EiE), National Academy Foundation (NAF), Girlstart Summer Camps, and we are piloting a training module in Milwaukee public schools with Project Lead the Way (PLTW). We also support New York Hall of Science, Citizen Schools, Maker Corps, and the Community Corps, a division of NPower that matches STEM professionals to youth-serving project-based STEM programs. The Making the Future grants, 68 to date, have supported an extensive group of community organizations and schools with an investment of over $1.5M. Cognizant STEM volunteers are also actively engaged with STARBASE, Technovation Challenge with Iridescent and the Arizona Science Center.
We are most proud of our Making the Future after-school and summer programs that partner with child-serving organizations, like museums, libraries, “makerspaces”, 4-H and Boys & Girls Clubs to name a few. To date we have provided 68 grants in 28 states, closing the opportunity gap in underserved communities and getting more children excited about STEM. As a founding partner of US2020 we are answering the all-hands-on-deck call for STEM professionals to mentor children from kindergarten through college in all kinds of high-quality ways. Cognizant associates are volunteering in project-based STEM programs as Citizen Teachers who are creating hundreds of moments of discovery.