MI STEM Partnership Announces Partnership with Newton’s Road of NW Michigan

Newton's Road Logo-TMThe Michigan STEM Partnership is happy to announce a partnership with Newton’s Road of Northwest Michigan. Partnership activities will focus on the sharing of best practices, developmental initiative designs, resources and STEM events and opportunities. Both organizations expect that this collaboration will provide transferable benefits to both organizations and the communities they serve.

Newton’s Road has a rich legacy of community involvement and works with regional partners to leverage resources to increase student access to outstanding learning opportunities in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM Education).  For more information on Newton’s Road go to http://www.networksnorthwest.org/main-site.

Additional information on this partnership will be available soon.

TEALS: Computer Science in Every High School Comes to Michigan

Teacher and Students

Teacher and Students from the Detroit International Academy of Young Women

TEALS helps high schools build and grow sustainable computer science programs through partnerships between classroom teachers and tech industry volunteers. They work as a team to deliver Computer Science education to students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn CS in their school. Over two years, the classroom teacher gradually takes over the responsibilities of teaching the course without volunteer support. The team-teaching and volunteer system of TEALS creates a strong ripple effect: it empowers teachers who can multiply the impact by providing computer science education to hundreds more students over the years.

TEALS was founded in 2009 by former high school CS teacher and software engineer Kevin Wang and is supported by Microsoft Philanthropies. Our mission is that every student should have the opportunity to study rigorous computer science in high school. You can read more about our vision and pillars here: https://www.tealsk12.org/about/mission/

TEALS is happy to announce that we are currently accepting applications for the 2018-19 school year! Deadline February 26th, 2018. You can click here to start your School Application now, or visit www.tealsk12.org at any time to learn more.


Teacher, Vision IT Volunteer and Students from West Side Academy for Information Technology and Cybersecurity

For the 2017-2018 school year, TEALS is currently in 10 schools in Michigan including 8 in the Metro Detroit Area. Here is a list of schools we are working with:

  • Cass Tech High School, Detroit Public Community Schools
  • Renaissance High School, Detroit Public Community Schools
  • Detroit International Academy for Young Women, Detroit Public Community Schools
  • West Side Academy for Information Technology and Cybersecurity, Detroit Public Community Schools
  • Western International High School, Detroit Public Community Schools
    Cornerstone Health + Technology, Metro Detroit
  • Summit Academy North, Metro Detroit
  • Advanced Technology Academy, Metro Detroit
  • East Lansing High School, Lansing Area
  • West Michigan Aviation Academy, Grand Rapids Area

TEALS would like to at least double the number of schools in the Metro Detroit area with a vision of growing into other parts of the state that we can support.

TEALS is holding two information sessions;  education leaders, principals and teachers are welcome to attend.

If you would like to dig deeper into our program, here are some of our materials:

TEALS Program Description (2018-19) – A brief, one-page description of the TEALS program accompanied by a graphical summary of our program impact to date.

TEALS Implementation Guide (2018-19) – Everything you need to successfully implement a TEALS partnership at your school.

TEALS Program Booklet (2018-19) – This guide provides an overview of the TEALS model, volunteer support options, and various curricula options that TEALS supports to help high schools create a CS pathway, from Introduction to CS to AP CS Principles to AP CS A to Advanced Topics and Projects. An overview of each course is in our Schools FAQ as well as the TEALS Implementation Guide. The booklet also provides details on how to apply to be a TEALS partner school.

Detroit-area Middle School Students Can Access Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab at UM

More than 3,000 middle school students a year will be introduced to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), thanks to a collaboration between Qualcomm Incorporated and the University of Michigan College of Engineering.

These organizations are bringing the Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™, a hands-on engineering and career awareness program, into the Michigan Engineering Zone (MEZ), known for its makerspace and high school robotics program.


Fourth graders from the Coleman A. Yound Elementary School learn to program Arduino kits to spin motors in order to design and build their “moving Diorama”. Photo:  Evan Dougherty

“The Thinkabit Lab provides us an opportunity to expose younger students to the world of technology, beginning to crystalize in their own minds what role they may play as technologists, scientists, and engineers,” said Julian Pate, director of the MEZ. “The Thinkabit Lab provides several pathways for that kind of thinking. Our perspective is really simple: exposure is success.”


A view of the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab.  Photo: Evan Dougherty


Youth from more than 60 Detroit public middle schools will have access to the one-day workshops at Thinkabit Lab. For many of these students, the experience will mark their first exposure to STEM careers and engineering. The organizers anticipate an even broader reach to students of all ages in the long term.

“Qualcomm is proud to collaborate with such a strong engineering institution as the University of Michigan and its innovative Michigan Engineering Zone,” said Susie Armstrong, senior vice president of Engineering, Qualcomm Incorporated. “Together, we are bringing our unique Thinkabit Lab program to students and teachers in the Detroit area. We’re excited to expose these students to STEM and other careers and hope to inspire them to become the next generation of inventors.”

Students will engage in Thinkabit Lab’s signature Qualcomm® World of Work (QWOW™) career exploration activities to discover their own unique talents and learn about concepts and careers in STEM fields, such as the Internet of Things, 5G, creative robotics, and invention. They will also engage in unique hands-on engineering experiences, learning basic programming and strengthening their problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking skills by designing and building their own robotic inventions.

“I didn’t know that you could use a computer to make things move,” said Tamia Washington, an eighth-grader at Spain Elementary-Middle School, as she used her laptop to control a circuit that could blink or turn a fan.

Bringing the Thinkabit Lab to the MEZ is part of Qualcomm’s efforts to bring its STEM initiative to diverse communities and regions nationwide, helping to close the STEM skills gap. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2015 there were more than 500,000 open computing jobs in the U.S. That same year, only about 60,000 students graduated from U.S. institutions with bachelor’s degrees in computer and information services. This shortage in qualified tech workers is predicted to increase.

This skills gap showcases the need for STEM-related curricula in schools and an overall prioritization of technology education in the U.S. The collaboration with Michigan Engineering aims to inspire students to become inventors and not just consumers; as well as grow an inclusive, diverse workforce to support business growth and help strengthen the region’s economy.

“We are very focused on first providing the Thinkabit Lab experience to Detroit students. We know that STEM education is gaining interest everywhere, but we also lack ongoing opportunities for STEM in Detroit. So, we think it’s a natural partnership between us and Detroit Public Schools Community District as one option on a menu of opportunities that they can offer to their students,” said Haley Hart, a Thinkabit Lab Coordinator who teaches the workshops.

Organizers are also interested in exposing more girls to STEM fields.

“Coding, robotics and engineering is not the future. It’s the now. So that’s what we need to teach,” said Lakia Wilson, a guidance counselor at Spain Elementary-Middle School. “Engineering is a totally new experience for our students. All of our students need the exposure, the opportunity and the access because if not, then they won’t fully understand what they may have the ability to do in life. We don’t want any of our students to be in that pocket. They are our future.”

Professor Alec D. Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at U-M, agrees. “We are very pleased to be bringing the Thinkabit Lab to Detroit. Forging a partnership between Qualcomm and our Michigan Engineering Zone will benefit our community and touch thousands of young minds every year,” said Gallimore, who is also the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and a professor both of aerospace engineering and of applied physics. “With this unique collaboration, we are opening up more opportunities for students in southeast Michigan to gain exposure to STEM disciplines. We hope these experiences will spark a passion for creativity and problem-solving and will ensure an even brighter future for our community.”

  • 3K Detroit area middle school students per year will have access to this Qualcomm Thinkabit lab
  • 60K students graduated from U.S. institutions in 2015 with computer and information degrees
  • 500K open computing jobs in the U.S. in 2015

About MEZ

Located in the University of Michigan’s Detroit Center, the Michigan Engineering Zone (MEZ) is a safe and supportive innovation space where Detroit students acquire the knowledge and tools they need to propel themselves to higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through challenging and exciting hands-on experiences. Last year, the MEZ received a 250K Google Grant.

The FIRST Robotics teams of Detroit high schools stand center stage at the MEZ. The College of Engineering provides the needed space, equipment, training, and mentoring to assist students in the design, build, and test of their robots for competition. Outfitted with computer labs complete with CAD software, a machine shop, robot testing area, and collaborative workstations, Detroit’s professional engineers and University of Michigan faculty, staff, students, and alumni provide technical training and mentoring within this environment of learning, leadership, teamwork, and fun!