Of all the many tasks required as a parent, it had not occurred to me I had to keep up with the trends driving the economy. Obviously we want our children to be happy, healthy and well educated – however, the days of “Lawyer OR Doctor” have expanded to “Technology Specialist” or “Social Media Manager”.

How do we prepare our children for wave in which science and technology will affect our future infrastructures? More STEAM! STEAM – which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math – is the pathway to being prepared for the future. Once referred to only as STEM, this field of study has exploded in the last decade – and for good reason. A 2014 Census report claims that 74% of graduates from STEAM programs are able to find steady employment, and even better news, because STEAM refers to skills, and is not industry specific – economists predict that in the near future, every job will become a STEAM job. As traditional non-tech jobs will have to adopt some form of tech in order to stay ahead of the curve – from fashion to food service.

Check out the below programs that offer STEAM programs Uptown:

Hypothekids: This organization has a summer camp for elementary aged students, as well as a project based workshop during the summer for middle schoolers. They also support high school students with internships and project based work. This organization works with Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science.

BioBus: Exactly what it sounds like, this lab on wheels has made it’s way all over New York City – providing science lessons! You can also catch them at Uptown events and on Saturdays around town (especially on 125th Street by The Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building), providing impromptu science lessons during “Saturday Science”. This is a fun non-committal way to introduce your kid to STEAM projects.

RoboFun: A bit further South, RoboFun provides children between the ages of 3 – 12 with the tools and opportunity to build and program robots, create video games and make stop-motion animations! They hold afterschool, and week long vacation camps during the school year, as well as programs during the summer.

NYC First runs immersive, hands-on STEM education and robotics programs that serve 7,000 students annually. NYC FIRST LEGO League Jr. gives early elementary school students and their adult coaches the opportunity to work and create together while they explore science and technology concepts! Even better, they have set up a STEAM Lab at the Washington Heights NYPL Branch which offers high school credit-bearing courses, after-school and weekend workshops, and summer programs – as well as access to tools  like a laser cutter!

The New York Public Library: An amazing, yet underused FREE resource in the City! In addition to the NYC First Stem Center at The Washington Heights branch (see above), the NYPL offers STEM/STEAM classes every month at a different location. For instance, This Friday at 4pm, The Bronx Center Branch begins a weekly hour of STEM classes for ages 8 and up, Drop Ins welcomed! 

Saturday Science: At Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute learners of all ages are welcomed to explore the workings of the brain through hands-on activities and unique scientific resources. Saturday Science events are held monthly through the school year. Themes and materials change monthly and students attending Saturday Science events receive a passport, and are encouraged to collect stamps for participation in events throughout the year! Check our events page for their upcoming Saturday sessions!

A community based organization, Silicon Harlem provides Infrastructure and Tech Expertise for communities. Check Silicon Harlem’s website for upcoming events or workshops like the recent ‘Youth Technology Hackathon’ they held during Harlem Week in August! An all day event featuring career advice, as well as real world application where they put their technology skills to use! They also feature events for the community such as Senior Day: “Demystifying Technology”.

Did we miss something? Please let us know in the comments section below!

Shaneeka Wilson
Author: Shaneeka Wilson

Mom to an adult trapped in a tween's body (HELP!). Passionate about Education, Community Involvement, and Good Coffee. Co-creator of Uptown Birdies.