For the past few years, the month of October has hosted Massachusetts STEM Week with much success and this year was no different – even as we faced down the COVID-19 pandemic. There was some uncertainty around the who and how, but with tremendous support from the state, Regional STEM Networks, and our region, once again we presented successful events during the weeklong celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math from October 19-23.

PK-12+ students, families, communities, industries, and government engaged in events across the state, as most events were presented virtually. Statewide, we saw events that excited students and amplified the benefits of mentoring in STEM, events that were interactive for learners young and older, and a film festival featuring documentary films that explore current issues of equity and ethics in STEM.

Within our region we presented events statewide and locally, including 14 public and private events procured by Metro North STEM Network and MNWB. Pfizer (Andover) presented students and educators with a unique opportunity to explore the newly built gene therapy lab for Muscular Dystrophy. They learned first-hand from a group of diverse engineers about a day in the life of a Pfizer engineer. High School and Tufts University STEM Ambassador students came together in an informative session on navigating STEM interests as historically underrepresented persons in STEM.

Students engaged in a lively presentation on Learning to Fly: Flying and Other Aviation Careers delivered by an immigrant who was decided at a young age that she would learn to fly, and found ways to make it happen. Now an engineer manager and flight instructor, she shares her enthusiasm for flight. Students were hooked and learned, among other things, how the yoke controls the aircraft and how to match their skills to right-fit occupations. Attendees of the Latino STEM Alliance event sharpened their skills in the company of Secretary Peyser, and shared finished products as they learned about blockchain coding. In another virtual world, students were heavily engaged in Structural Engineering OR “How to Win Jenga!”. And elementary students and their caregivers got a treat from STEM Education Club, Winchester High School around STEM activities for young learners and how to get involved. Rounding out the Week, high school students were the focus of our Friday session on building self-awareness and self-confidence, invaluable tools as they navigate life during this COVID-19 pandemic.

We are happy to celebrate Malden’s very own Jennifer Hedrington – a 7th grade Math teacher at the Ferryway School – as MA Teacher of the Year 2021! Congratulations, Jennifer! Thank you for your dedication and care of students in our region.

Thanks to all our partners, educators, community members, caregivers, and businesses for engaging in STEM Week this year and we hope you continue to See Yourself in STEM! And special thanks go out to: Secretary of Education James Peyser for visiting our sessions on Coding, and Manufacturing; Alexis Lian of MA STEM Advisory Council; Pamela Obando of Pfizer (Andover); Boyd Corporation (Woburn); CGI Consultants; FAA and 1A Aviation Private Pilot Ground School; iRobot; Latino STEM Alliance; Living BECOME, LLC; MassBioEd Foundation; MSEF Region IV; Novartis CELL Lab; SGH Waltham; STEM Education Club, Winchester High School; STEMscopes; Transportation YOU!; and Tufts University STEM Ambassadors Program.