Subaru of America Foundation and the Franklin Institute Team Up For Scientific Outreach.
Founded in 1824 to honor its legendary namesake, Benjamin Franklin, and promote the advancement of science, today the Franklin Institute is one of Philadelphia’s top tourist attractions. While blockbuster exhibits draw visitors of all stripes en masse daily, one of the institute’s primary missions is youth outreach. With the support of grants from Subaru of America Foundation, two key outreach programs are having a big impact on Philadelphia-area kids.
The program has helped me learn to solve problems through trial and error.
More than 24 years ago, the Franklin Institute established a unique hands-on approach with its Partnerships for Achieving Careers in Technology and Science (PACTS) program. This year-round experience for middle and high school students seeks to make participants an integral part of the institute through workshops, field trips and other activities, fostering their passion for science. Michael Burch, director of youth programs, oversees a curriculum that makes the subject fun for young people, who could eventually pursue science-related careers.
So far, the program has made a big difference in the lives of more than 3,000 students, who have honed their enthusiasm for science through activities such as programming robots and designing architectural models. For example, Kayla Smith, 16, was inspired to take a deeper dive into forensic science. “The program has helped me learn to solve problems through trial and error,” she says.
Equally vital is the institute’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Scholars program, which helps promote promising urban high school students advancement into college and potential careers in scientific fields. The intensive program requires a four-year commitment from students and covers everything from career immersion experiences to standardized test preparation.
Results have been impressive, and corporate support such as that provided by Subaru of America Foundation is essential, says Burch. “We’d like to include every student who wants to attend,” he says. “STEM has become quite hot, and partners like Subaru help make the programs accessible to deserving students.”
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