Unprecedented STEMpath Program Kicks off First Summer of Externships for Current Cohort

mindSpark Learning, a Denver-based national nonprofit dedicated to empowering educators with industry-oriented professional learning experiences – resulting in more students prepared for the modern workforce, and its STEMpath partners Couragion, Metropolitan State University of Denver and Colorado Succeeds, announced today its STEMpath cohort began their six-week externship programs with seven local businesses on June 10.

mindSpark Learning Logo (PRNewsfoto/mindSpark Learning)
mindSpark Learning Logo (PRNewsfoto/mindSpark Learning)

STEMpath, a 12-month graduate-level STEM certification program, provides educators with the competence and skills necessary to teach STEM and computer science by fusing three critical components of teacher preparation: 1) graduate-level coursework 2) professional learning topics focused on Career Literacy, Information Science and Equity-Centered Design Thinking and 3) work-based learning through industry externships. STEMpath was designed to include the unique aspect of externships because they result in strongest ROI of improved teacher motivation and confidence, increased teacher commitment to teaching, enhanced teacher knowledge and abilities and sustained changes to classroom practice.

The first cohort, which launched in January, is composed of 14 participants from 13 different Colorado schools, representing five school districts. Participants will work on industry-assigned, project-based work Monday-Wednesday of each week, for a total of 135 hours of work experience. Each STEMpath member will complete a culminating capstone project to take back to their classroom in the fall and beyond.

The businesses hosting STEMpath externs include two AT&T Aspire Accelerator alumni – BitsBox and Couragion, in addition to HomeAdvisor, Lockheed Martin, Sphero, Terumo BCT and TTEC. Each of these supporting organizations hold strong beliefs in line with AT&T Aspire’s mission to drive innovation in education and create stronger connections among educators, students and their communities.

“We’re incredibly thankful to our externship partners who will be providing invaluable, hands-on experience to our STEMpath cohort,” said Kellie Lauth, CEO of mindSpark Learning. “By supporting our educators with real-world experience, we can better prepare them for what their students will face in the workforce in STEM and computer science pathways.”

“We created the AT&T Aspire Accelerator five years ago to help every student achieve a bright, successful future and it’s so exciting to see alumni like BitsBox and Couragion bring that mission to life,” said Mylayna S. Albright, associate assistant vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility at AT&T. “With their help, the STEMpath program will help develop a much-needed diverse pipeline of employees to fuel 21st century jobs.”

If your organization would like to support STEMpath or host educator externs for future cohorts, please visit https://www.mymindsparklearning.org/stempath-sponsor-externships.

About mindSpark Learning
mindSpark Learning, a Denver-based national nonprofit founded as Share Fair Nation in 2007 and rebranded in 2017, is the catalyst and intermediary between education and industry. It empowers educators with industry-oriented professional learning experiences, resulting in more students prepared for the modern workforce. It does so by leading programs and services designed to help schools understand workforce development, participate in work-based learning experiences, foster career literacy and directly connect students to mentors and authentic opportunities at a young age. Its core areas of focus are critical to today’s education landscape and include problem-based learning (PBL) STEM, EdTech, Social-emotional learning (SEL) and Equity-centered Design Thinking. These lay the foundation for skills that are inherently necessary for career success.

mindSpark Learning is re-engineering education by incorporating the voice of community leaders in a variety of fields – from education, to industry, to government. In 2018, mindSpark Learning impacted more than 10,000 educators at 594 schools across 11 states. For more information, please visit www.mymindsparklearning.org.

About Couragion
Couragion is a Colorado-based, women-owned, educational technology social enterprise that is generously supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), AT&T Aspire, and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Couragion provides career literacy and workforce development solutions for educators, students and advocates in order to improve the awareness and perception of STEM careers and broaden the participation of underrepresented populations in those fields. Learn more at www.couragion.com and their blog STEM Crossings.

About Metropolitan State University of Denver
MSU Denver is a leader in educating Coloradans in university programs particularly relevant to the state’s economy and the demands of today’s employers. With the highest number of ethnically diverse students among the state’s four-year colleges, MSU Denver offers 76 majors plus master’s degrees in accounting, business, health administration, teaching and social work. Nearly 20,000 students are currently enrolled at MSU Denver, and 75 percent of the University’s 87,000 graduates have remained in Colorado as valuable members of the state’s workforce. https://msudenver.edu/.

About Colorado Succeeds
Colorado Succeeds is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of Colorado business leaders who join forces to ensure our education system works better and smarter for all people of Colorado. We believe Colorado is the best place to live and work, and we want it to stay that way. This great state can only continue its tradition of excellence when all of our children are educated to their greatest potential and all of our businesses have the talented and innovative workforce they need to thrive. We believe great schools are good business. We know when Colorado Schools improve, everybody wins. Learn more: www.coloradosucceeds.org.

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. We have a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities, promote academic and economic achievement, and address community needs. Our AT&T Aspire initiative uses innovation in education to drive student success in school and beyond. With a financial commitment of $500 million since 2008, AT&T is leveraging technology, relationships and social innovation to help all students make their biggest dreams a reality.

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