20 May 2024
Four students around a table, showing a Lewis Latimer picture book, working on an invention in STEAM club.

In the bustling halls of Northbrook Glenview District 30, a beacon of innovation and inclusion is rising. It is called RisingSTEAM, a transformative initiative that is breaking barriers and igniting the passions of young minds in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM). This is no ordinary program—it is a celebration of diversity, an homage to the unsung heroes of color who have shaped the landscape of STEAM fields throughout history. 

At the heart of RisingSTEAM lies a simple yet profound idea: to inspire, educate, and empower students by introducing them to the remarkable contributions of people of color in STEAM disciplines. It does not stop there - with the help of a generous grant, this initiative is taking hands-on learning to new heights, quite literally. 

Imagine a club where students embark on a journey of discovery, guided by the stories of Lewis Latimer, Granville T. Woods, Elijah McCoy, and other trailblazers. Each session begins with a captivating tale, a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of individuals who defied the odds. Then, armed with curiosity and creativity, students dive into interactive STEAM activities, reimagining pre-purchased kits to make them more accessible and affordable. 

RisingSTEAM is not just about tinkering with circuits or building marble mazes. It is about instilling a sense of belonging in every student. By showcasing a diverse array of role models, from Madame Walker to Chien-Shiung Wu, this initiative aims to broaden horizons and shatter stereotypes. It is about showing students that regardless of their background or identity, they can shape the future of STEAM. 

And the impact? Through RisingSTEAM, students are not only honing their technical skills, but also developing empathy, critical thinking, and a passion for lifelong learning. Perhaps the most significant achievement is the ripple effect that extends far beyond the walls of our school district. 

By sharing videos of student-designed STEAM alternatives online, RisingSTEAM is inspiring countless others to embark on their own journey of exploration and discovery. It is a testament to the power of education, of storytelling, of coming together to celebrate our differences and embrace our shared humanity. 

As we look to the future, the possibilities are endless. With RisingSTEAM leading the way, we are paving the path for a new generation of scientists, engineers, artists, and mathematicians, united by their passion for knowledge and their commitment to making the world a better place—for everyone. 

So, join us on this adventure as we rise above obstacles, break down barriers, and reach new heights in STEAM education. Together, we can unleash the full potential of every student, one experiment at a time. Welcome to RisingSTEAM—where diversity meets exploration, and the sky is truly the limit.  

Today's blog post was written by April Eichmiller, Library Media Specialist, Willowbrook School.  

This project was made possible by the My Library Is... Grant.