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Digi-Bridge Awarded BWF Student STEM Enrichment Grant

Digi-Bridge Awarded BWF Student STEM Enrichment Grant

$2.1 million approved for 13 informal STEM programs in North Carolina

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – Digi-Bridge is thrilled to be one of several STEM education programs across North Carolina to receive Student STEM Enrichment grant awards from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF). The Student STEM Enrichment Program (SSEP) will provide Digi-Bridge with $180,000 over three years to support educational opportunities that take place outside of traditional classroom time.

The BWF Board of Directors approved $2.1 million in funding for 13 programs located throughout North Carolina.

“For more than two decades, the Fund has supported programs that provide hands-on STEM education activities,” said President Dr. John Burris.  “This provides relevant experience in STEM with the goal of enrichment and exposure in STEM fields.”

With these funds, Digi-Bridge can take its computer and robotics programming to more scholars.

“Digi-Bridge is excited to expand our impact with Burroughs Wellcome Fund – together we will continue developing our state’s STEM talent pipeline,” said Digi-Bridge Founder and CEO David Jessup, Jr.. “BWF believes in what we can do for our community and our growth potential within the state.”

Since 2014, Digi-Bridge has been working with CMS schools to provide STEM programming to K-8 learners. This gift will solidify this district-wide partnership.

“Digi-Bridge helps build futures for our students not just by equipping them with specific skills, but by harnessing their imaginations. Students are inspired to achieve in a digital world when we transform education from a passive experience for them to active participation through Digi-Bridge opportunities. CMS is proud to partner with Digi-Bridge and is grateful to the partners who are investing in students through their commitments to Digi-Bridge,” said CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox.

Since 1996, the Fund has provided funding to 240 organizations for a total of $36.2 million dollars in informal STEM education.  As of 2017, SSEP has reached an estimated 38,000 N.C. students. The Fund’s giving has spanned all 100 counties in North Carolina through out-of-school time, inquiry-based STEM programming.  Selection of the programs is highly competitive. The Fund received 89 applications from non-profit organizations across the state in 2018.

“We aim to help improve student competence in science, “ said Program Officer Alfred Mays, who oversees the program.  “These programs help nurture a student’s enthusiasm for STEM.”

The recipients of the 2018 Student STEM Enrichment Program are:

Alamance Community College  

Medical Bridge for Minority Males (Minority Males in Medicine)

Digi-Bridge, Inc.  

Programming & Robotics Across North Carolina

Duke University  

The World We Live In: Geology, Hydrology, Climatology, Biology, Chemistry of the Environment of Northeastern North Carolina

East Carolina University  

Renewable Energy and Green Manufacturing Academy for Rural Middle School Students in Eastern North Carolina

East Carolina University  

Discoveries in Earth Science (DES) for Students with Blindness or Visual Impairments

Elizabeth City State University  

Drone Exploration Academy: Engaging Students in Real-World Engineering Design and Scientific Investigation Using Drones

Elizabeth City State University  

IMMERSE (Innovating, Mentoring, and Managing Emergency Response through STEM Enrichment)

North Carolina State University  

Falls Lake Partners in Forensic Science

Orange County Schools  

Engineering Solutions

Pfeiffer University

Project GENES: Genetics Education for the Next Era of Science

SouthEastern Regional Vision for Education  

AASTC Scholarships for Students Experiencing Homelessness

University of North Carolina-Pembroke  

The Kids in the Garden: Bees and Pollen Studies

Wake Forest University School of Medicine  

Girls in STEM:  A Piedmont Triad Initiative

Based in Charlotte, N.C., Digi-Bridge aims to equip shareholders with the means to foster optimal use of technology in the learning environment, ensuring that all 21st century learners have opportunities to succeed in the digital age.

Please direct all media inquiries to David@digi-bridge.org. 

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Fall into #STEAMSaturdays!

Friends of Digi-Bridge-

I hope this message finds all of our scholars and their families safe and dry. As the sun starts to shine again and the temperature drops (ever so slightly!), we’re excited to share news of our Fall #STEAMSaturdays! Courses this season will take place at Hygge Coworking in West Charlotte and The Hurt Hub@Davidson in Davidson.

Whether you’re brand new to #STEAMSaturdays or have been with us before, our courses offer something for every scholar. Each course will have time allotted for work in our coding portal, where your K-8 scholar will be introduced to a variety of object-oriented computer programming languages. The personalized learning platform allows individuals to move at their own pace, making this course valuable for learners of all levels. Of course, we will have a number of Lego WeDo programming opportunities available, too. As always, scholars will self-select projects. 

We have seats available at both locations for courses on October 6, 13, 20, 27 and November 3. from 9-10:30am. The best part? New this season you can easily register your scholar for individual courses at $30 a course or you can register for the entire season for just $125, a savings of $25.

Click here to register your scholar for courses at whichever location is most convenient for your family. Don’t forget to tell your friends and neighbors. Together, we will #ReachOurFuture by creating innovators!

Cheers,

DJ

P.S. – Interested in bringing a friend? Shoot Christine@digi-bridge.org an email and she will hook you up with a free buddy pass.

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Guest Blog: Ashley Park 8th Grader Treshawn Pickett

In 2017, Digi-Bridge forged a partnership with Opera Carolina, thanks to support from OrthoCarolina. Together, we developed a Digi-Bin series that goes “Behind the Scenes” to explore STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) connections in opera. 

At the conclusion of the series, scholars attended their first opera performance, The Marriage of Figaro. Below, read reflections from Treshawn, an 8th grade #STEAMSaturdays scholar at Ashley Park PreK-8. 

Before visiting the opera I honestly thought it would be people randomly singing. I also thought it was going to be boring and hard to understand. I was actually impressed that it was very different than what I expected.

During #STEAMSaturdays at Ashley Park, we began diving into some Digi-Bins that had to do with music production. We worked on bins such as costume design, lighting, acting and even production setup. My favorite bins were the costume design and lighting. I could really identify what we were learning to what I want to do in my career. I want to be a fashion designer so it was cool to see how colors and costumes set the mood for different scenes and atmospheres.

The storyline for “The Marriage of Figaro” itself was so interesting. I would have never imagined that I could gather a story from just music and singers. Now that I know more about the opera scenes and what goes on behind stage, I can see myself using this in real life.

It’s really inspiring to see how I can use my love for fashion in so many different ways. I loved

seeing how makeup, costumes, and lighting played such a huge role in the opera and keeps the audience engaged. Those characters with different dresses and more bling were more regal.

I learned that there are so many jobs that go into creating a musical production, and I can put myself in multiple positions from just seeing one opera. I cannot wait to see another one!

Thank you to my teachers, Ms. Hobson and Ms. Newton, for getting us there on time. Thank you Opera Carolina and OrthoCarolina for the opportunity to go behind the scenes!

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2018 Winter #STEAMSaturdays – Programming and Robotics

Friends of Digi-Bridge,

Happy New Year!

Starting on Saturday, January 20th, our #STEAMSaturdays return to Hygge Coworking in West Charlotte and Northpointe Offices in Huntersville. Back by popular demand, this winter’s series will feature LEGO WeDo 1.0 building and coding. Torie Leslie, our Chief Academic Officer says, “We built this series to provide flexibility for scholars who love to build and design with LEGOs and for programmers who enjoy using Scratch to code challenges and adventures for their robot designs.”

Take a look at our course offerings:

Jan. 20th – Building and Coding – Scholars will choose a LEGO design, build it according to blueprint instructions and use Scratch to program it to move.

Jan. 27th – Emphasis on Coding– Scholars will choose a pre-built LEGO robot and use Scratch to program the robot to move and create a scene to match the build.

Feb. 3rd – Emphasis on Building – Scholars will use LEGO WeDo motors and hubs to design a programmable robot.

Feb. 10th – Emphasis on Coding – Scholars will choose a pre-built LEGO WeDo robot and program the tilt and motion sensors, using Scratch, to automate robot movement.

Feb. 17th – Building and Coding – Scholars will choose a LEGO design or create a LEGO design and use Scratch to program it to move.

Remember, there is no prior building or programming knowledge required. Each scholar has the opportunity to begin each course at their learning level.

In addition, every course will have time allotted for work in our coding portal, in which your K-8 scholar will be introduced to a variety of object-oriented computer programming languages. The personalized learning platform allows individuals to move at their own pace, making this course valuable for learners of all levels.

The series will run for five consecutive Saturdays, from January 20th to February 17th, at 9am and will run for 90 minutes each. Click here to register your scholar for courses at whichever location is most convenient for your family. Don’t forget to tell a friend!

We look forward to exploring the world of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics with your scholar soon.

Here’s to a new year filled with learning!

Cheers,

DJ

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Syncing at #STEAMSaturdays

Today, we’re launching #STEAMSaturdays across Charlotte. While I’m “in it,” I wanted to share a quick note with you.

This morning, I’m sitting at Briarwood School, powered by Arts and Science Council, as a cohort of scholars and their facilitators work through our “Moving With Muscles” Digi-Bin. Attendees are casually dressed, pop hits are playing in the background and participants are thinking critically about the challenge outlined.

When I introduced myself to the group of scholars, one said, and I quote, “Wow. We’re going to use technology here? I’m going to take advantage of that. You know at my house I have my email synced to all my devices.”

Having spent enough time around kids, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have his email synced to all of his devices, but I’m sure he’s heard an influential adult in his life make a similar statement.

Our scholars are sponges, seeking all opportunities to soak up new knowledge and skill. They imitate those they admire and will find success if given the time and opportunity to pursue it.

So, why not Saturday mornings? 90-minutes of unstructured time to explore, create and maybe even learn how to sync devices.

In year four, I’m filled with tremendous gratitude as I think about how you, our supporters, have committed to our most precious assets. During the 2017-18 academic year, we are on track to serve 1,000 scholars, with support from 28 educators, across five schools and three community centers.

Hot glue guns are coming out now, so I better jump in to lend a hand.

Gratefully,

DJ

P.S.–Interested in visiting a #STEAMSaturdays site? Inbox me! david@digi-bridge.org

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STEAM Learning Through Hip Hop?

Friends,

This summer has been full of new and exciting partnerships for Digi-Bridge. Today, I want to tell you about a particularly unique collaboration that I bet you wouldn’t expect: STEAM education and hip-hop.

Earlier this month, we were invited to be a part of The Intersection: A Conversation About Hip-Hop Culture and Education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American  Arts + Culture. Scholars and their families gathered for a performance and presentation by Jahi of PE 2.0, an artist with immense talent, experience and perspective on the importance of hip hop in learning about arts and culture.img_4867Led by #STEAMSaturdays facilitator Kia Moore, a room full of young music-loving scholars were able to take their learning into their own hands with our DJ Digi-Bin by exploring the math, listening and problem-solving skills that allow a DJ to do their job and keep the party going! Scholars learned some basics, then got to apply their mixing technique to their choice of today’s Billboard hits.

img_4856Next, a couple of talented young DJs from With These Handz DJ Academy allowed scholars to put these skills to the test and play their creations on a turntable for everyone to hear.

It was truly an exciting day of hands-on learning for everyone involved. We are so grateful to the Gantt Center for catalyzing this collaboration

Whether through creating your own music or creating your own robot, putting these kinds of experiences in the hands of Charlotte scholars is exactly what we strive to do. To learn more about how you can provide  21st century teaching and learning opportunities to all Charlotte scholars, head to digi-bridge.org/donate and support us as we work to  #ActivateSummer.

Together, we will #bridgethedivide.

 

With tremendous gratitude,

DJ

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The Pathway Revealed

Friends,

In order to bridge the digital divide, Digi-Bridge works to uncover and help create equitable pathways to careers in STEAM fields. Often, scholars begin on this pathway in middle school, where they’ve been assigned a counselor who helps them choose classes that fit their interests and aptitudes. This process continues into high school and college where a scholar chooses their major.

However, times are changing and as the need to fill STEAM careers is growing, we’ve found that the pathway to these jobs may not seem quite so straightforward to many scholars. It seems that the sooner we can help scholars realize their interests and aptitudes the more likely they are to keep moving towards them.

file_002As we work to create the opportunities for scholars to explore and experiment, we meet the most brilliant and capable STEAM professionals who share in our vision. These meet-ups turn into partnerships which turn into opportunities to expose our scholars to the pathway to STEAM careers.

One such partnership we’ve enjoyed has been with Lenora Crabtree, UNCC Biology Services/PhD student and Tiffany Bell, rising Junior Biology student at UNCC. These STEAM professionals brought an exciting chemical reactions lab to our #STEAMSaturdays scholars at Allenbrook Elementary School. Using Tiffany’s previous lab experiments and research, these scientists provided an exploration of the relationship between the oyster shells and changes of temperature and acidity in the surrounding water.

Lenora and Tiffany captivated our scholars both by effectively presenting the science at the level of the 4th and 5th graders, and by relating this change in the oyster’s world to a change in their own world, their neighborhoods and even their homes. I can’t think of a better way to outline the path to being a scientist than by bringing scientists from our local university directly to our scholars.file_001

Would you like to help us continue to provide opportunities like this for our Digi-Bridge scholars? Learn more about how you can help us #bridgethedivide by following us on social media (@DigiBridgeUS), and join us on June 17th at the Google Fiber Space for our Summer Daddy Daughter Code-In. This is another great opportunity to expose our young ladies to STEAM concepts and careers!

Click here to learn more about and register for Digi-Bridge courses and events.

Here’s to revealing the pathway for Charlotte scholars!

Cheers,

DJ

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Bridging the Divide! Read All About it!

Friends,

We have a quick but very exciting announcement. On top of being featured in a Charlotte Observer and News & Observer series about supporting the growth of high-achieving low income students, our work and our scholars have been featured on the front page of the Observer!

We are so pleased to see a spotlight shone on the work being done to advocate for under-served scholars in Charlotte. We are also extremely grateful that the Observer has chosen to include our work in such an important piece.

If you can’t get your hands on a paper copy of Wednesday’s Observer, click here to check out the online version. You will find our work mentioned under “#4 Pay for extra opportunities when parents can’t”.

Thank you, as always, for supporting Digi-Bridge as we work to #bridgethedivide!

Cheers,

DJ

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Prepare for Liftoff, Summer #DDCodeIn is Coming!

Friends,
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We are excited to announce that registration for our second Daddy Daughter Code-In of 2017 is now open! Join us on Saturday, June 17th from 7-8:30 pm for a night of food, fun, and technology.
If you have never attended one of our Code-Ins before, you are in for a treat. After eating together, each Daddy-Daughter Duo will rotate through activities that include exploring robotics, creating constellations, and more!

Did you know that although women fill close to 1/2 of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) jobs? Let’s show our young ladies that their potential is out of this world, because after all, girls code too!

We gear our activities towards K-8th grade scholars, but all ages are welcome. The event is located at Google Fiber’s East 7th street location. Please come prepared to pay for parking that evening at one of the parking lots or decks off of 7th street.

img_3281Come celebrate Father’s Day early with your daughter(s) and enjoy the teamwork of hands-on STEAM learning! Click here to reserve your spot now, as tickets are limited.

Please contact Kelly Carpenter at kelly@digi-bridge.org for additional questions or inquiries. We can’t wait to see you there!

Cheers,

DJ

 

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ICYMI: #STEAMSaturdays in The Observer

Friends,

We are proud to share that our digital consultancy work at Ashley Park Pre-K – 8 was featured in The Charlotte Observer this week!

In case you missed it, here is the link to a piece that informs the community not only img_0567our #STEAMSaturdays programming, but a number of fun learning opportunities we have been able to provide thanks to the generosity of the OrthoCarolina Foundation.

Any opportunity to have our work featured on such a platform means a lot to us here at Digi-Bridge and spreading the word about our programming makes great strides to help us #bridgethedivide. Please check out the article, and if you could share it with your friends on social media, we would really appreciate it! Here is the URL if you need: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/education/article149050544.html

file_000Just as a reminder, registration is still open for our Summer #STEAMSaturdays, which run until June 3 at Advent Coworking (Plaza Midwood) and until June 10th at Hygge Coworking West (West Charlotte) and Birkdale Offices (Huntersville). Classes can now be purchased individually at $25 per course to best work around your family’s Summer schedule!

You can learn more about these courses and register at digi-bridge.org/courses and send any questions to Kelly@digi-bridge.org.

Wishing you a restful weekend,

DJ

 

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