Philadelphia tapped for STEM mentorship

Chief Education Officer Dr Lori Shorr

Philadelphia has been selected as one of seven cities in the U.S. for a special science mentorship program.

Philadelphia bested dozens of other cities in a competition to encourage youth mentorship in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as the STEM fields. The award does not include major funding but will come with technical assistance, said Lori Shorr, the city’s chief education officer.

“It’s important, really important to have role models in [the students’] lives of people who have been successful in those fields,” she said.

“Success begets success,” Shorr said. “We want to make sure that students have those role models and are mentored by somebody who can show them the ropes.”

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The firm has been working with green contractors to show students how a good education is necessary, even for jobs in the building trades, said Carmen Ferrigno of the building materials company Saint-Gobain.

“When you look at the nature of these jobs, you’re really talking about having the ability to tie together what is practical about science, engineering, math and technology,” he said. “That’s the biggest push, to show students why it’s important but also how they are going to use it.”

The program is especially targeting low-income, minority girls for the mentorships.

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