Arlene Bitely Elementary School Partners with Elite Research Institutions
to Create Access and Opportunity for Students in STEM
October 22, 2020
Rosemead, CA -- 2020 may have introduced an international health crisis, an economic downturn, and political unrest, but that’s not stopping Arlene Bitely Elementary School (Bitely) from finding the silver linings of opportunity presented through this time. Bitely recently capitalized on the benefits of video conferencing, which allows for easier access to prominent thought leaders, by hosting a “Virtual Science Night (In)” that saw researchers from world-renowned institutions, such as Caltech, NASA/JPL, the International Space Station, Above, the Planetary Society, and the Huntington Library, connecting with Bitely Elementary students to talk all things science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) from the safety and comfort of their home.
Bitely’s Science Night attendees, many of whom come from historically underserved and underrepresented populations in STEM fields - such as females,people of color, and language learners - had the chance to step into a virtual world where technology served as the vehicle for them to be transported to the research laboratories of some of the world’s most elite scientists and engineers.
“I am extremely proud of Garvey’s students, who exhibit enthusiastic engagement in STEM activities, and of our teachers, who have utilized 21st century skills, in a timely and relevant manner, to promote student access to innovative learning opportunities,” said Soomin Chao, principal of Arlene Bitely Elementary School.
In collaboration with innovative and dynamic scientists, researchers, and educators in the field of science and technology, Bitely hosted over 180 Bitely students and their families to hear the stories of 14 presenters from diverse professional and personal backgrounds. Each presenter was paired with Bitely teaching staff, and each pair led a variety of events through Zoom: live laboratory tours, interview panels and discussions, and hands-on science experiments and activities from home.
“In our San Gabriel Valley Communities, there are doctors, engineers, and computer programmers,” said Chief Supervisor of Los Angeles County Kathryn Barger in her welcoming remarks. “Before they had those jobs, they were in school just like you! We need brave, smart, caring young men and women like you, our future leaders, in those jobs.”
Bitely’s Science Night presenters highlighted the lives and accomplishments of women, people of color, and multilingual STEM professionals through synchronous live discussions, demonstrations, and interactive projects. These co-curricular and extra-curricular learning and engagement opportunities added richness and context to what is typically depicted in classroom textbooks. The National Science Foundation predicts that "minorities" will make up more than half of the adult population in the United States by the year 2060. Bridging the gender and race gap in the field of science, and in STEM, for traditionally underrepresented populations within our communities today may help ensure a STEM-ready workforce in the future.
Representative Judy Chu, member of the United States Congress, also provided encouragement in her opening remarks to Bitely Science Night Attendees, “I am so thrilled to see Bitely students getting the chance to learn about STEM, because I know how important these opportunities are to our country and our future. In fact, just look at today’s event - it was past investments in STEM that helped train this current generation of engineers and coders who made this virtual world possible.”
This event highlighted Garvey School District’s visionary initiative to integrate innovative STEM programs as a way to spark curiosity in the minds of students and to expose them to potential college and career pathways in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. The evening’s lineup of Science Night presenters distinctly showcased the representation of women in science, people of color, and multilingual STEM professionals. In a unique display, the rich diversity of the student population was mirrored by that of the professionals who volunteered their time, further helping students picture their future in these roles. For more information about Bitely Elementary School, visit https://bitely.garvey.k12.ca.us and for more information about Garvey School District, visit https://www.garvey.k12.ca.us.
For more information contact Soomin Chao, Arlene Bitely Elementary School Principal
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: (626) 307-3318