Encouraging and inspiring students in the primary and secondary grade levels to engage in science, technology, engineering and math activities is a core component of the community engagement strategy of Thermo Fisher Scientific. In 2018 alone the company hosted over 380 events around the World. Executing these activities involved almost 4,000 employees whose volunteer efforts impacted over 134,000 students. These students could become the STEM leaders of the near future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM jobs are set to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022.
Employees from the Thermo Fisher Scientific site in Logan, Utah, hosted their 6th annual Applied Science Solutions Program (ASSP). This eight-week challenge aims to provide students from fifth through eighth grade with practical opportunities to learn and apply STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) principles. More than 30 teams from three local school districts participated in this year's event.
Colleagues from the Single-Use Technologies business mentored the teams throughout the program to help prepare them for the final competition. This year, teams were challenged to develop a Sphero BOLT – an app-enabled robotic ball – to navigate through a maze and use its sensors to make decisions about where and when to turn.
Executive Assistant Mary Bell helps lead the ASSP program each year and said that it supports Thermo Fisher's commitment to making a difference in our communities through STEM education. "These students could one day be scientists or engineers here at Thermo Fisher, or one of our customers who we are enabling to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer," she said.
The program culminated with an event where the students showcased their creativity, teamwork and innovation by navigating through a new maze using their pre-designed program. They were given only an hour and three opportunities to complete the maze. They competed in front of judges and were scored using a rubric that included creativity, project journal, knowledge and teamwork, as well as overall performance and accuracy. The 15 winning teams were awarded a monetary donation to be used toward STEM education in their school.