INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) – The TechPoint Foundation for Youth has named The STEM Connection in Indianapolis the 2020 Youth Bridge Builder Award recipient. The nonprofit and its founder Vera Vander Kooy will receive the award during TechPoint’s 21st annual Mira Awards gala honoring the best of tech in Indiana.
The foundation says the award recognizes visionary leaders who are helping underserved student populations in Indiana gain access to experiential learning opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
“We’ve been blessed to have met and nurtured thousands of bright, young people. They’ve opened our eyes, charmed us and impressed us with their intelligence and their dreams. They are the ones who are truly building bridges for a brighter tomorrow for themselves, and for everyone around them,” stated Vander Kooy.
Vander Kooy founded The STEM Connection in 2014 with the mission of encouraging diversity, inclusion and equity in STEM. In the past five years, more than 17,500 participants have taken part in the nonprofit’s offerings, including virtual STEM Quick Wins, day camps, field trips, professional development opportunities and family events, among others.
The state’s tech initiative says it will also provide support to 500 college students with a five-week summer experience. The foundation says the STEM Future Leader program aims to increase STEM literacy and use of STEM practices by providing leadership opportunities to cultivate interest in STEM careers.
Currently, the organization says 25 middle school, high school and college students are part of the mentoring program that began in 2016.