In December 2012, Colorado’s St. Vrain Valley School District was awarded a $16.6M grant as part of the national Race to the Top education program. The grant money will be used to support programs within the district’s schools that, according to a statement from US Education Secretary Arne Duncan, will “transform the learning environment and enable students to receive a personalized, world-class education.”
Some of Skyline High School’s future geniuses
One of the schools to receive a portion of the grant was Skyline High School in Longmont, just down the road from SparkFun HQ. Skyline already maintains a highly-diverse and vertically-integrated K-12 STEM Academy program, which partners with the University of Colorado’s School of Engineering to provide course development and instruction geared towards encouraging STEM learning. Thanks to the grant, their next step was to open the Innovation Center (IC) - a maker-space/workshop where students will have access to tools, resources, and technology to design, develop, and build real engineering projects.
A Skyline student representative drops some knowledge on attendees.
That’s where SparkFun comes in. We believe fanatically that STEM education is vital to the future of our society, and we jumped at the chance to help out. We were honored to support the effort by donating the equipment to outfit a full electronics lab that rivals many colleges and universities. We provided 12 identical lab stations which include a soldering station, variable power supply, Inventor’s Kits, LilyPad Development Kits, stepper motors, servo motors, assorted LEDs, breadboards, sensors, and pumps - equivalent to what our engineers have here.
A look inside the Innovation Center’s electronics lab
The IC, which officially opened on Thursday, January 30, will also foster corporate partnerships with the local high school STEM programs, and students will be able to collaborate with professionals in science, technology, engineering & mathematics to create intellectual property, spawn valuable mentorships and encourage entrepreneurial ambitions. So - if we’re lucky, some of Skyline’s STEM graduates might join us at SparkFun before you know it!
Nate talks business with a future SparkFun engineer.
Congrats to Skyline and the St. Vrain School District - we’re excited to meet the next generation of STEM professionals!