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Kids in Phoenix spend the summer learning the science of sports

Many STEM programs target high school and college students, however the path toward a STEM career often begins with a love of science nurtured at a young age – which is exactly what’s happening in Phoenix, thanks to GSK.

Developing a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-educated workforce is a national priority, according to the United States Government. Currently, there are not enough US students graduating with the degrees and skills in this area to meet the demands of the 21st century job market.

Luckily for many 2nd through 6th graders in Phoenix, GSK offered the GSK Science in the SummerTM program at the Arizona Science Center and other community sites throughout the area.

The program was created in 1986 by GSK scientist, Dr. Virginia Cunningham, who found herself among only a handful of female scientists in her field. It was her vision to create a fun, free, hands-on experience for children in the community. Cunningham's concept, with a special focus on engaging girls and minorities in experiment-based exploration, became Science in the Summer.

Now in its 31st year of operation, Science in the Summer helps more than 25,000 children across the country “grow into science,” and has nearly 200,000 alumni to date. The program continues to inspire a love of science in children at a very crucial age, and enables communities to invest in their futures by empowering children – regardless of their economic status or background – to succeed in an increasingly STEM-based job market. The program is free and is available to children in second through sixth grades.

The Science in the Summer curriculum is developed by a team of GSK educators, along with the education leads from the University of North Carolina Moorhead Planetarium, the Franklin Institute, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The curriculum aligns with Next Generation Science Standards. The 2017 program focused on the Science of Sports – allowing kids to explore how their favorite sporting activities link to STEM. In 2018, the program will focus on the Science of Space and, if the stars align, more kids will discover a lifetime love of science.