Visitors to The Health Museum could feel the energy and enthusiasm amongst the children participating the National CSTEM Challenge on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Kids ranging from pre-kindergarten to high school seniors, competed in robotics, innovation, computer programming, art, film, photography, mural, sculpture and debate.  There were nearly one thousand students from 26 schools competing.

Thecompetition was intense and the students were gracious competitors at the National CSTEM Challenge. The nonprofit provides fun and exciting ways to introduce students to communication, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training teachers in those fields.

“Right now, STEM jobs are outpacing STEM degrees in the United States. We have an untapped pool of potential in children in underserved communities and schools sitting on the bench.  This is why the work C-STEM is doing is so important.,” says C-STEM founder, Dr. Reagan Flowers. “We can’t have all this talent sitting on the sidelines. Children must be introduced to STEM fields and be supported along the way, so that they can take advantage of the economic opportunities that are available.”

This event was so important, hip-hop mogul and entrepreneur, Russell Simmons, sponsored a group of students through RushCard. The six high school students from their team of 20 students at Detroit Edison Public School Academy took home awards.

“This is the largest national STEM competition in the country where more than 80-percent of the contestants are minorities and at least 50-percent are girls, says Flowers. “Having the continued support of our title sponsor Shell Oil Company and now joining forces with Russell Simmons and RushCard, and other sponsors, we are giving the youth a chance to become thought leaders and innovators in STEM.”

The largest groups of students came from Houston Independent School District (HISD), local and regional charter schools. Tekoa Academy of Accelerated Studies STEM School in Port Arthur, Texas brought 65 children to the competition.

This year’s sponsors include Shell Oil Company, Women’s Energy Network of Houston, RSM US Foundation, RushCard, Fluor, Comerica Bank, ECS, and HEB.

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