Intel employees head back to school to inspire students in STEM

Intel helped teach STEM in the classroom on Feb. 26, 2018. KATU photo 

As part of National Engineers Week, Intel is working to inspire young students in Hillsboro.

The company sent out employees to teach kids about trial and error and experimentation. On Monday morning, they were at Jackson Elementary.

"We're in a time where you want the kids to feel like they can change the world, and so STEM is a great way to do that," Cecile Kerr, an IT enterprise architect at Intel, said.

The kids were grouped up, spread out around the classroom, and with a few supplies, were asked to make a catapult. Through the construction, they learned the connection between collaboration and inspiration.

"I really wanted them to feel like they didn’t fail, but they were learning from their mistakes, and it led to a better design," Kerr said.

That’s just what the students did. Many of the groups tried a few options in an attempt to launch a ping pong ball far across the room. While they tried out different solutions, Intel employees watched, listened and gave them advice. This experience was made possible by the “Oregon Connections” tool. The South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership developed the resource, which helps schools get access to companies, like Intel.

The experience is both exciting and invigorating.

"Well I don’t think that you have to sell to anybody that science, technology, engineering and math are integral to almost any career that we have now and the kids are going to have," Melissa Dubois, the executive director of the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership, said.

The Intel employees even got the opportunity to talk to the kids about their paths to success, showing them there are many ways they can use STEM in their future careers.

"There are people that can take their love of gaming and make a career out of it," Dubois said.

What’s even cooler about the experience is the fact that these kids can make it all happen right in their backyard.

“I think it’ll help them feel a little bit of pride and ownership of their city, something big in their city is contributing to things that make the world a better place," Kerr sais.

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