By Laurie Horenstein Egger, senior program manager, STEAM Education Initiatives, Intel
When I think about the future, at Intel and beyond, I smile.
I smile because of the enthusiasm I witnessed in March during the Intel® Future Skills Sports STEAM Camps. Over the course of three weeks, more than 100 middle-school students across the U.S. attended virtual camp powered by the Intel Olympic & Paralympic Program Office. We encouraged them to think differently, fail fast and develop a growth mindset. This camp is always a powerful experience, but this year it gained extra meaning for me because Intel is a worldwide partner of the Paralympic Games and has a commitment to building a culture of accessibility.
Our volunteer coaches embraced the diversity of each camper, working with DisabilityIN and Design Case to ensure all projects were accessible for everyone, from students who are homeschooled to those living with disabilities. This year, we were joined by employees from Dell Technologies, totaling more than 30 volunteers committing their time and talent to provide hands-on, individualized STEAM learning through fun, interactive, sports-themed projects, including:
- Out of Bounds: Design your own light-up board game.
- Listening to Light: Use a solar panel to discover hidden sounds.
- Portrait of an Athlete: Craft a unique self-portrait using recycled materials.
- DJ Makey Makey: Use your sense of touch to trigger notes, sounds and looped music beats.
- The Driving Question: Apply empathy to improve the behind-the-wheel experience for drivers and passengers.
The students were also inspired by special guests who are certainly not strangers to overcoming challenges: five Paralympic and Olympic athletes shared their personal stories of what it takes to go for gold. Campers heard from bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor, the most decorated Black Winter Olympian of all time, and Paralympian Rico Roman, Purple Heart recipient and 4-time Paralympic Sled Hockey Gold Medalist.
“The lessons the coaches taught my son, especially about it being OK to make mistakes, were exactly what he needed. His spark for science is back and he’s more confident than ever — he asked how we could get more STEAM kits!”
- Kristy Gilbert, parent of camper Morgan
I am most proud of how we met students where they were, embracing any differences and working together to solve problems. It was pure joy to see how every single camper stretched and grew over the course of the camp. It was a transformative experience for everyone involved—from students and their families, to the athletes, to the Intel and Dell employee volunteers. Each person modeled grit, tenacity, and empathy so beautifully.
“Not only are we providing students with the framework needed for a lifetime of discovery through STEAM learning, we are also giving them the opportunity for self-actualization — to know they can dream it and become it.”
- Sopie Kouame, Commodity manager and Intel Future Skills Winter Sports STEAM Camp volunteer coach
Being a part of these STEAM camps reignites my “why”— the reason I believe so passionately in the work we do at Intel for our communities and the power of technology to create a more equitable world. These kiddos are our next generation of innovators, big thinkers, compassionate learners and enthusiastic changemakers. This is the beginning of these students’ STEAM journeys, and I can’t wait to watch them make their dreams a reality.
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