Brite = Bloom and Embrace Your Outstanding Uniqueness: BE YOU!

Contributed by Lorena Harris Brite Logo

This Summer our STEAM Academy powered by Brite was certainly an inspiring collaboration. From the uncertainty of these strange times, we embarked on an adventure every morning (from July 13th to July 31st = 15 days, more than 52.5 hours together). Our summer was enriched and filled with fun virtual gatherings and fascinating keynote speakers, building a fun virtual community through exposure to a myriad of platforms, such as WorldScienceU, Flipgrid, and Eyewire to mention a few. Our time together felt like an escape into a breathtaking world. We had a blast, we visited with friends every day; together we made decisions as to what museum we wanted to go to during that week. We made art (using code), music (musiclab-chrome-music), designed a future lymph (white boards), identified priorities, and contributed to the identification of an Eyewire neuron using artificial intelligence/virtual reality (eyewire), and played brain games. We enjoyed learning new concepts and connecting with amazing scientists/entrepreneurs (or entreprenerds!) in the areas of science, arts, danger, and the mind! We gathered together, we shared and built a virtual learning community (VLC). We played games, developed ideas, and collaborated. Most importantly we learned so much from each other, we faced our fears and became stronger together, through continued support and help from each other.

SUNY Cohort

Together we toured the J Paul Getty Museum and we learned we can make mistakes, be weird, and unique, it is all good. Here are some of our favorite parts of our SUMMER STEAM Academy quoting our briteCSTEPeers, from our SUNY Schenectady STEAM Academy powered by Brite:

Cristina R said, “My favorite part was learning about the careers of the guest speakers, and my favorite guest speaker was probably Jenn Adler, I thought her area of expertise was really interesting. Overall, I learned that you do not have to choose one of your passions over the other, even if one seems more practical. There are many different creative career paths available and being a trailblazer can be incredibly rewarding”.

Megan T liked learning about storm chasing from our keynote speaker Emily Sutton, Atmospheric Scientist, and Storm Chaser.

Michele-lane D said, “My favorite part of our Brite STEAM Academy was the collaboration in Flipgrid and the discussions we all had on each amazing keynote speaker! I also grew a lot from being a leader and a mentor”.

Susan S said, “My favorite part of Brite STEAM Academy Summer Program was learning about the chemistry behind the Volcanoes. I am also fascinated by the formation of landscape due to the volcano eruptions”.

Makayla R sent us a thank you, here I quote, “I just wanted to say thank you for all you have done in these three weeks, this has been an amazing program and we had an amazing time together. Everything was great! Thank you so much for this opportunity!!!".

Last but not least, a special thanks from our collaborators:

Quoting Rise High Founder and Director: "We are grateful for the opportunity extended to our students. Rise High Inc. values our standing partnership with SUNY Schenectady, sharing the common goal of providing meaningful and unique learning experiences to youth in our community, while sparking their interest and curiosity in the exciting world of science. In the midst of what has been a challenging year, we have proven that we are a resilient community and are stronger together. On behalf of Rise High Inc. and our students, thank you”.

As Program Director, my favorite part of our Brite collaboration was meeting and sharing with so many amazing friends in just 67 hours. We are grateful and thankful to NGCP, Hello Studios and WorldScienceU for their amazing support, and for guiding us through every step of the program.Thank you for facilitating numerous tools that are part of us now. We are taking them with us everywhere we go, building our power of education.

We loved sharing and getting together every day because we met scientists and entrepreneurs sharing their know-hows. We learned from Amani Webber-Schultz that it is truly important to create a network of support. Jess Phoenix taught us that ignorance is a disease to which curiosity is the cure, so stay curious. Moreover, all of the scientists and entrepreneurs we met during our Brite experience had a theme in common. They are all passionate about their careers paths and they were happy to share their experiences. We will always remember our Summer of 2020 as:

Brite = Embrace Your Outstanding Uniqueness: BE YOU: be kind, curious, and original. We are very proud of each of our Brite CSTEPeers and thankful for the opportunity to be part of such a great collaboration!!!

Lorena Harris PhD, CSTEP and LSAMP Director from SUNY Schenectady County Community College. She is a member of NYS Girls CollaborativeSchenectady STEM Alliance, NGCP, AAAS and ACS. She is the 2019 Margaret Ashida STEM Leadership Award recipient, educator, mom and a FabFem Role Model.