MIT Receives $1 Million Gift for STEM Programs


National funding can greatly help academic programs reach out and support students in pursuing academic training or degrees, which can help the country’s economy and fill the employment void in several industries, especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

These courses and careers are so vital to the economy and academic track that schools are adding new university programs just to address the demand, while battling the low interest in high school students to pursue STEM careers.

The Hopper-Dean Foundation, to help this endeavor bear fruit, gave the Massachusetts Institute of Technology $1 million to support their three STEM academic programs for secondary and tertiary education.

MIT Has 3 Programs on STEM Education

1) Saturday Engineering Enrichment and Discovery (SEED) Academy – It’s a nine-semester program that holds lessons and activities focused on science, technology, engineering, and math for middle and high school students for free.

The middle and high school participants study courses related to an engineering theme, from mechanical engineering to synthetic biology.

More than half of the program participants come from low socio-economic backgrounds, and are part of the underrepresented minorities:

  • African-American
  • Native American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Pacific Islander in the Boston, Cambridge, and Lawrence, MA areas

2) Code It! is a MIT coding class for middle school girls in an effort to raise awareness and motivation for more women to join computer science courses in the future.

The coding class was founded by undergraduate MIT students from the university’s Society of Women Engineers.

3) Women’s Technology Program – Held every summer, the WTP is aimed at students who’ve finished 11th grade. It’s a rigorous academic training, with hands-on and team-based activities, for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science or Mechanical Engineering courses.

The activities are primarily designed for students who excelled at science and math, but had no training in engineering or computer sciences.

Professor Anantha Chandrakasan, head of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department said that the financial support from the Hopper-Dean Foundation is a tremendous help in ensuring that the academic programs will continue to help more students from low-income families.

He also expressed how this can encourage and inspire more students to love STEM subjects and ultimately pursue such career tracks in the future.

The monetary gift from the foundation can help reduce or eradicate program fees and provide transportation costs for students who live far from the program venue.

Aside from the three programs, the money will also be used to support MIT’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and their outreach programs. SWE advocates and develops women’s participation and involvement in STEM courses and jobs.

The Hopper-Dean Foundation, started by Heidi Hopper and Jeffrey Dean, wanted to support students who wanted to pursue STEM employment, which can fill the growing need in several industries.

Both Hopper and Dean had said,

We feel very strongly that the world’s computer scientist population should reflect the world’s population and diversity,” and that the programs are sure to bring “traditionally underrepresented groups into this important and exciting field

Rob Clark admin staff managing editor

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