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Idaho STEM Action Center named finalist in national challenge

The STEM Coalition Challenge, a competition for communities across the country to develop cross-sector partnerships to bring quality hands-on STEM mentoring and maker-centered learning to underrepresented students. (STEM Action Center)

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The Idaho STEM Action Center has been named a finalist in the STEM Coalition Challenge.

The STEM Coalition Challenge, a competition for communities across the country to develop cross-sector partnerships to bring quality hands-on STEM mentoring and maker-centered learning to underrepresented students.

These finalists will now move forward to compete for $1 million in resources to implement their bold strategies, representing some of the most innovative approaches to tackling the opportunity gap through STEM.

"Many kids step away from STEM in middle school because it can be challenging, but if they leave the STEM pipeline they many never come back, leaving gaps in our future workforce," said Idaho STEM Action Center executive director Angela Hemingway. "However, research shows a mentor can positively impact the chances that a child continues in a STEM pathway. One of our goals we listed in our STEM Coalition Challenge application was to create a platform that can connect the most rural and remote parts of our state with mentors from both industry and post-secondary education."

Hemingway said she is delighted the Idaho STEM Action Center is being recognized for its work developing mechanisms to connect education and industry. "Through our strong industry partnerships, we will be able to regionalize mentorship opportunities, transforming virtual relationships in to face-to-face interactions including mentors site visits, job shadowing, internships, and more," she said. "We are just starting down the path with the goal of ensuring that every child in Idaho has access to a high quality mentor."

In addition to the Idaho STEM Action Center, the finalists are:

* Allendale, S.C. -- Promise Zone Collaboration/SRS Community Reuse Organization Region

* Atlanta, Ga. -- United Way of Greater Atlanta

* Brooklyn, N.Y. -- Pratt Institute

* Buffalo, N.Y. -- Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership (ISEP)

* Chicago, Ill. -- Project Exploration

* Cincinnati, Ohio -- Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative

* The Dalles, Ore. -- Columbia Gorge STEM Hub

* Colorado -- Colorado STEM Coalition

* Detroit, Mich. -- Michigan Science Center

* Downey, Calif. -- Columbia Memorial Space Science Learning Center Foundation

* Pittsburgh, Pa. -- Remake Learning

* South San Francisco, Calif. -- California Academy of Sciences/Bay Area STEM Ecosystem

* Socorro, N.M. -- New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

* Washington, D.C. -- DC STEM Network

Winners will be announced in Spring 2018.

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