STEAMM Rising Columbus initiative prepares elementary, high school students for Ohio State education

The STEAMM Rising Initiative aims to empower Columbus City Schools’ students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and medicine. Credit: Madison Kinner | Lantern Reporter

Ohio State has partnered with local Columbus schools on a new initiative to develop talent in the next generation of students and teachers.  

STEAMM Rising Columbus, announced in September 2021, aims to empower Columbus City Schools, or CCS, students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and medicine. The main focus of the initiative is a summer institute, where CCS teachers will be trained by university faculty. 

Terri Bucci, associate professor of mathematics education at the Mansfield campus of Ohio State, said the initiative will train 100 teachers every summer to familiarize them with Ohio State’s campus and resources, as well as connect students with different opportunities and help build relationships. 

“It’s a truly collaborative planning experience, and because of that, every partner, I believe, will be better served,” Bucci said. “So every partner will be able to contribute their expertise and learn from each other because that’s how we grow, that’s how we develop and that’s where innovation comes from.”

Summer programming for the initiative will begin the first two weeks of June, with week one focusing on elementary teachers and the second on middle and high school teachers, Bucci said.

Bucci said the communication between CCS teachers and Ohio State’s faculty will be ongoing, extending further than simply helping teachers develop curriculum.

Nicole Luthy, chief of staff and director of strategic operations for the College of Education and Human Ecology, said the initiative will also offer opportunities for Columbus students, including the STEAMM Scholars program — an initiative that allows high school students to participate in internship-like experiences on campus.

Luthy said the institute will work with elementary, middle and high school teachers to educate students of all ages on STEAMM opportunities. 

“We know that in order to encourage students to develop interest in these fields, that it has to start early,” Luthy said. “They have to develop those interests over time, and they have to develop confidence that they can actually pursue careers in these areas and be successful.”

Leslie Kelly, executive director of elementary and secondary curriculum at CCS, said this initiative will also highlight career pathways in STEAMM subjects, which will inform teachers about available opportunities.

Kelly said she hopes the program engages and excites teachers who participate.

“We’re really excited to put our teachers in a new environment and in a different space so that they can experience what we want our kids to experience,” Kelly said.

Luthy said part of Ohio State’s responsibility is to understand the community that surrounds it, making this initiative even more important.

“One of our responsibilities is to kind of knock down some of those barriers and walls preventing people from seeing this as a place where they can attend,” Luthy said.