Inspiring a love of STEM in all children


Background Information

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Izzy has had so many educational opportunities. Through educational toys, outside of school science experiments, arts and crafts, and other educational resources, Izzy found a love of STEM. As a teenager, Izzy began volunteering with different organizations, like the Salvation Army and the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago. She noticed that many of the children at these organizations did not have the same ability to learn outside of the classroom as she did, mainly because they did not have the resources. While most of them had books at home and had access to STEM resources at the Boys and Girls Clubs, very few of them had any STEM resources at home. As a result, many of the children Izzy was volunteering with did not share her enthusiasm for STEM. In the Spring of 2023, Izzy developed STEM 2 Go as her Culminating Leadership Project. STEM 2 Go assembles individual packets of STEM experiments that children can take home. Each packet includes all the supplies to complete a STEM experiment, including a write up with instructions. STEM 2 Go aims to help give all children a love of STEM by making access to STEM education more equitable.

“I believe that all children deserve to have the resources to love STEM” -Izzy Henry

Implementation of Project

STEM 2 Go had a smooth start. Izzy decided that the best way to get volunteers was to make STEM 2 Go a school club. This meant that Izzy was able to solicit volunteers during lunch and other in-school free times. Before each meeting, she would get the materials needed for that meeting’s STEM project, as well as create the STEM experiment instructions sheet. Then at the meeting, Izzy and her team would work together to assemble the STEM packets. They would carefully put the needed amount of each material into a plastic bag so that the children had all the materials needed to complete the STEM project.

One challenge Izzy faced was that meeting times were often only twenty five minutes long. This was not a lot of time to put together STEM packets. Izzy and her team overcame this struggle by working in an assembly line and strategically dividing up the materials. Another challenge Izzy faced was what to do with the STEM packets. She knew that she wanted to donate them to the Boys and Girls Club in the inner city of Chicago, but was not sure who to reach out to. Should she reach out to an individual club or the administration? Izzy ultimately decided to reach out to the CEO of Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, and got an enthusiastic response. She gave the STEM packets to the administration, and they were able to distribute them to multiple clubs. This was an ideal scenario for Izzy because it meant the opportunity to share the STEM packets with even more children.

“We [Boys and Girls Club of Chicago] have a number of school-based sites that have expressed a specific interest and that we think would really benefit from this opportunity [Stem 2 Go STEM packets].” – Michael Crowley (President and CEO of Boys and Girls Club of Chicago)

Results of Project

STEM 2 Go was a great success.  Izzy had 21 people join her club, which met every other Thursday.  Together, Izzy and her team assembled packets of three different STEM experiments: The Marshmallow Toothpick Challenge, The Oobleck Experiment, and A Build Your Own Popsicle Stick Catapult and Experiment. Ultimately, Izzy and her team were able to assemble almost 200 STEM packets, all of which were donated to children at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago.

“I am so proud of the work my team and I put into STEM 2 Go. I hope that the STEM packets we created will positively impact the lives of the children who receive them” – Izzy Henry

What’s Next

Izzy plans to continue STEM 2 Go throughout the rest of her junior and senior years. She plans to graduate from North Shore Country Day in the Spring of 2025, but hopes to pass STEM 2 Go onto someone in the grade below her when she graduates. Izzy also plans to continue using her leadership skills by founding more school clubs and continuing to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago.

“I don’t want STEM 2 Go to end now that I have completed my CLP. I plan to continue the project and hopefully continue to make an impact in my community” – Izzy Henry