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STEM club creates opportunities for underrepresented groups

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by Isabella Bradberry, News Editor of the Panther Prowler of Pflugerville High School

 

The TAME meeting filled the entire lecture hall with students. The guest speaker, an entrepreneur, brought in a device that connected the optic nerves of the student who wore it, allowing researchers to test how well these nerves functioned for the student.

Guest speakers from professional industries are one of the many opportunities offered to TAME club members. The mission of the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering is to increase the number of underrepresented groups in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.

“This includes minorities, women, first-time college grads and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who normally wouldn’t consider these technology fields,” math teacher and TAME Club Sponsor Ima Richburg said.

TAME has multiple chapters throughout the state of Texas. Scholarships are available to any student who is in the club and accepted into an accredited university of college to pursue a higher education in a STEM-related field. Last year, PHS students received five out of the state’s 18 TAME scholarships.

“Through TAME I got an internship when I was in high school,” Richburg said. “I’d love to be able to provide those kinds of opportunities [to our students].”

Richburg said there are no barriers to joining TAME.

“You don’t need to make a certain grade or pay a certain amount,” Richburg said. “There are no prerequisites, you can just have an interest and register.”

TAME members can also compete in various competitions. A STEM Competition consists of the math and science portions, an engineering design challenge, and then oftentimes there’s an art competition, too. The art challenge is a t-shirt design competition for the statewide TAME shirt.

This year, five TAME students qualified for state, including: freshman Joshua Hidalgo, sophomores David Mojica, Tiffany Tran, and Afreen Alim and junior Connor Montenegro. Hidalgo, who placed first in the state in math and science competitions on April 28, wants to encourage others to do TAME because he says it’s been a fun experience for him.

“It’s helped me practice my skills that I’ve been acquiring since sixth grade,” he said. “It builds teamwork and cooperation.”

The club is oriented towards goal setting, opening the mind to new ideas and perspectives and providing a chance to understand how to be a leader.

“Sometimes you have to move your ideas out of the way to let something better come.” Hidalgo said. “Maybe it’ll be really good, maybe it won’t, but that’s just part of the learning process.”

Hidalgo indicated that sometimes being a leader is not always giving idea and suggestion, but rather listening to and learning from the ideas and suggestions of others. Cooperation is difficult especially when “you’re put in groups of people that you don’t know,” TAME member Tiffany Phan said, but “meeting new people is always fun and I really enjoy that.”

TAME has helped many of its previous and current members obtain goals and determine a career for their future. The members of TAME are truly leaving a precedent for other students to follow.

“Explore the engineering field and the TAME Club itself if you’re interested or you might be interested,” Phan said.

TAME does its best to show students that even if they don’t feel confident in their math skills they might have an interest or even a skill that they didn’t realize they had.

“Look at all the things that exist already,” Richburg said. “Imagine all the things that don’t exist that you could make.”

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Shared with permission from the Panther Prowler of Pflugerville High School.

Every year, thousands of Texas students grades 6-12 come together at 14 Divisional STEM Competitions around the state to participate in a math test, science test, and a team Engineering Design Challenge where students become engineers for an afternoon.

Help your students compete for free at Divisionals! Register a TAME Club today: tame.org/club2018

 

 

 

 

 

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