FIU, Verizon partner for innovative learning

By Julie Todaro

Verizon building robots

The FIU After-School All-Stars program was selected by the Verizon Foundation as a partner in its science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiative, Verizon Innovative Learning. The goal is to provide underrepresented populations with access to advanced STEM courses and hand-on STEM programs.

Through this partnership, the After-School All-Stars program received 95 robots from the Verizon Foundation to enhance the STEM learning experience for participating students.

As part of FIU’s School of Education and Human Development, After-School All-Stars provides free, comprehensive after-school programs to middle school students in 20 Miami-Dade County Title I schools.

“Students receive tailored academic and enrichment programs administered by certified teachers in an environment that keeps children safe and helps them achieve success in school and life,” said Rohan Thompson, program director for After-School All-Stars.

Through the Verizon Innovative Learning program, FIU After-School All-Stars services 100 male youths throughout South Florida who come together at FIU for an intensive three-week summer learning experience. The free program offers students the opportunity to expand their knowledge in STEM through courses including design thinking, 3-D printing, coding, augmented reality, entrepreneurship and robotics.

Throughout the academic year, these students also participate in monthly sessions where they develop a technology solution for a community problem that aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations.

The mission of the Verizon Innovative Learning program is to ensure that all children have an equal opportunity to a brighter future in a digital world. The donated robots will be used by students in the summer program and subsequently by others in After-School All-Stars programs.