Mobile STEM Lab rolls into Rockford elementary and middle schools

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) ----- "It's that kind of partnership that enriches all of the lives of people who live here and in our surrounding areas," said Sarah Wolf, Executive Director of Discovery Center Museum.

A new $75,000 contribution from Collins Aerospace brings hands-on activities from Discovery Center Museum to students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

"Different things, different interests, different people. It's important to be able to spark a lot of different ideas, they could all end up converging in the same type of career someday. But, by giving them multiple opportunities, the Discovery Center is able to provide something that will interest everyone," said Eric Cunningham, Executive Director of Electric Power Systems Collins aerospace.

The mobile STEM lab collaboration works in a three-step approach.

Twice a month, Discovery Center staff will join students after school for workshops to build their skills. Family nights will work to foster academic success and Career Day helps kids discover how engineering can become a future goal.

"The students here are doing amazing STEM related activities, learning about science, getting excited at an early age and ultimately, extending the learning day, which is a really important thing as well," said Dr. Ehren Jarrett, Superintendent of the Rockford Public School District.

With thousands of children participating across the Midwest, those behind the project say staff members are eager to share their love of STEM.

"They're there with big smiles and welcoming hundreds and hundreds of children and helping share what they do with a much larger audience of families," said Wolf.

The new mobile lab is part of Collins Aerospace's Redefining Futures program, a new corporate responsibility initiative working to inspire communities to pursue STEM -related careers.

Nearly 1,000 children in 12 elementary and middle schools in Rockford are expected to participate in the mobile lab as it rolls through town.