South Jersey STEM Ecosystem Receives Grant from NJSPN

Blackwood, NJ – The South Jersey STEM & Innovation Partnership has been selected by the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network for a matching Advancement Grant in the amount of $30,000 to support two Internet of Things (IoT) Hackathons. The South Jersey STEM & Innovation Partnership received its grant at the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network (NJSPN) Quarterly Meeting this morning at Princeton University.

The South Jersey STEM & Innovation Partnership (SJSIP) is a community of collaborative partners seeking to improve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and career pathways across southern New Jersey. The growing community includes collaborators representing industry, post-secondary education, K-12 schools, philanthropy, small businesses and STEM-rich organizations engaged under a common vision for STEM. The SJSIP leadership team includes Margo Venable, Dean, Camden County College, Keith Davis, President & CEO, Camden Dream Center, and Ken Robell, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, Salem Community College.

With the help of this advancement grant, the SJSIP will host two IoT Hackathons based on the Cisco Hackathon Playbook framework, with the first being held at Camden County College in spring of 2018 and the second at Salem Community College in summer of 2018. The Hackathons will bring together teams of high school students, supported by college students and industry mentors, to develop technological innovative solutions to real-life challenges of their choosing. The one-day Hackathon events will push the envelope in creative thinking, problem solving, entrepreneurial pitching of their solutions, and hands-on learning opportunities. In addition, the Hackathons will provide a platform for students to compete, expand learning in STEM education, and develop skills in computer science, computing and information technology, and engineering.

“If I didn’t have an opportunity for a business challenge with a positive impact for society... I wouldn’t be here today, “said Chuck Robbins, who serves as Chief Executive Officer of Cisco systems, in reference to providing the Cisco Hackathon Playbook framework for the SJSIP Hackathon.

“The Hackathon is one of the first activities designed to support the mission of the South Jersey STEM & Innovation Partnership to better prepare all learners within the region for the rapidly evolving STEM economy of the 21st Century, ” said Margo Venable, Dean of the Division of School, Community & Workforce Training Programs at Camden County College, and member of the South Jersey STEM & Innovation Partnership Steering Committee.

The South Jersey STEM & Innovation Partnership is one of four designated STEM ecosystems across New Jersey, the others being: Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance, Liberty STEM Alliance, and Newark STEAM Coalition. Each of these ecosystems has received an advancement grant. These ecosystems are part of a national community of practice of 56 STEM learning ecosystems selected by the STEM Funders Network. The New Jersey STEM Pathways Network, an initiative created by Secretary of Higher Education, Rochelle Hendricks, chaired by philanthropist Laura Overdeck, and now managed by the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, spearheaded the creation of these STEM learning ecosystems in New Jersey.

“We are proud to contribute to the already thriving New Jersey STEM ecosystems, and look forward to seeing how these grants continue to improve student outcomes in STEM education,” said Laura Overdeck, Chair of the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network, Founder and President of Bedtime Math and Chair of the Overdeck Family Foundation. The support for the IoT Hackathon Project has been generously provided by the Overdeck Family Foundation, as well as Camden County College, Salem Community College, and Koinonia Family Life.

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You can learn more about the South Jersey STEM & Innovation Partnership, its sister New Jersey STEM learning ecosystems, and the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network by visiting www.njstempathways.org

Keith Davis