Author: Lumity

By Etelka Lehoczky At first it may seem like an ordinary April day at Waukegan’s Greenbelt Cultural Center, just outside of Chicago, but in the big ballroom the air is humming. At tables all around the room, small groups of teenagers are hard at work – murmuring, laughing and capturing ideas on laptops.” [caption id="attachment_695" align="alignright" width="300"]Forsythe staff team up with Waukegan High School students to build business case for a mock smartphone app. Forsythe staff team up with Waukegan High School students to build business case for a mock smartphone app.[/caption] The teens have been brought together thanks to a complex partnership – and some creative thinking – by three innovative Chicago organizations. The kids attend Waukegan High School, a culturally diverse institution with more than 4,000 students. They’re being aided by employees of Forsythe Technology, Inc., a privately held, employee-owned company based in Skokie, Ill. Then there’s the fulcrum: Chicago-area nonprofit Lumity, which organized the event as part of its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Career Readiness Program. After 32 years in operation, Lumity is shifting its mission to focus on providing transformational experiences for at-risk youth that prepare them for lifelong STEM careers. The exercise today is to conceive and create a business case for a mock smartphone app. As the teens work through their designs they must think creatively, assess one another’s ideas and hone their presentation skills. And they’re clearly having a great time doing it.

Bryant Wallace has been a long-time partner and volunteer for the Lumity STEM career readiness program. He spent a lot of time with the participants of the Summer Youth Employment Program in 2014 and supported teams in the STEM Saturdays program in 2015. Just last month, he shared his story for the largest STEM Talk audience to date. Wallace shakes hands with honors students.

CDW was one of the first companies to host a career site visit when Lumity began its STEM Career Readiness Program more than two years ago. Last week, they opened their doors again to host students from Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center. The experience blew everyone away. Students, teachers and volunteers were amazed by the day’s events. Students develop app concepts to solve problems

In a one-day Challenge Kickoff, Health Care Service Corporation hosted 16 high school juniors and seniors on Saturday, November 14. Students from Chicago Math & Science Academy and Lake View High School are participating in a student-based enterprise from November 2015 to May 2016. Throughout the program, they will learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as real-world technical skills to prepare them for jobs in STEM. As part of this program, students will also be working with nonprofits and small businesses in Rogers Park to create websites and improve their online presence.

Last month, students from Amundsen High School visited Walgreens, a new corporate partner in Lumity's STEM career readiness program. Throughout the day, employees spoke about their different positions and responsibilities at the company, showed them around the office and worked together on a real-world project to encourage teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Earlier this month, students from Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center visited Accenture/Acquity Group for a career site visit. Accenture has hosted several career site visits for students since the launch of Lumity's STEM career readiness program. Who better to describe the experience than students themselves? As usual, the day began with an introduction and tour of the office. "The tour was great! I love the open environment. We were able to openly share our ideas and grow on it with the help of others. This is a great workspace because we are able to show our creativity," explained Vanessa Arriola, "When we went on the tour, it was interesting to see how everyone was in their own station and how each section of the facility changed."

Who wouldn’t want to spend a day at Google? Many professionals are excited to meet a real Google employee and hear about his or her job, so you can imagine a group of students from Amundsen High School were eager for their chance to do the same.Students from Amundsen spent the day at Google Chicago. Google did not disappoint them, either. Twenty-four high school juniors, who are part of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) College Prep Program, spent several hours on Monday, October 9, exploring the Chicago Google office and asking many, many questions.

On the last Friday in September, Lumity kicked off another school year of STEM career readiness with a career site visit to a new partner, Liquid Controls. This manufacturing powerhouse in Lake Bluff hosted eight juniors and seniors from Chicago Math & Science Academy in Rogers Park. [caption id="attachment_506" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Liquid Control employees talk about their roles. Students were assigned a project and learned the roles & departments that make up a manufacturing facility. They were given a specific customer order they need to fill. They were then presented with very broad instructions, experienced productivity, quality and customer disappointment issues.[/caption] The students toured the manufacturing facility and saw every step in the manufacturing process of large volume flow meters that measure the movement and transfer of liquids. This process illustrated the intersections of science, engineering, technology and math that come together to deliver a product to customers that measures large volumes of liquid to the 10,000th decimal place and to understand the how the product must be able to adjust for variances in temperature and other variables.