TCC Is Part of Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance

The Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance, an initiative of the Oklahoma Innovation Institute, announced it is soliciting additional partners to join its coalition to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in Tulsa. Leaders of successful STEM programs and businesses are welcome to join the emerging Tulsa alliance of educators, employers and policy makers working to create a regional impact on the growth of students and jobs in STEM fields.

The newly formed alliance has already received national recognition as a finalist in the US2020 City Competition. Tulsa is one of 13 finalists out of 52 applicants selected to pursue funding and other resources to build centers for innovation, support and mentoring in STEM fields.

The US2020 City Competition capitalizes on the role of cities as centers for innovation, supporting outstanding efforts to build science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentoring capacity at the local level. Tulsa is designing a collaborative model for STEM under the direction of the Oklahoma Innovation Institute, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and the Tulsa Area United Way.

The winning cities will win a share of nearly $1 million in resources.

The thirteen finalists include:

  • Allentown, PA
  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • Boston, MA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Chicago, IL                                          
  • Houston, TX
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Research Triangle, NC
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Wichita, KS

“Through the City Competition, cities are tapping into their most powerful resources -- their citizens,” said Eric Schwarz, Executive Chairman of US2020 and Co-Founder and CEO of Citizen Schools. “With representation from such diverse coalitions, we know that we’ve begun to stimulate a movement and are well on our way to making 1 million high quality STEM mentoring matches by the year 2020."

Tulsa’s entry into the City Competition is a public/private partnership aimed at reaching and mentoring students from economically disadvantaged schools with a high percentage of free or reduced lunches.  Studies have shown a critical time for a student to pursue STEM opportunities is in middle school.  The program will focus on STEM professionals mentoring middle school students to keep them engaged and encouraged through the pivotal age.

“The Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance has as its core the mandate to convene stakeholders, create an architecture to sustain the conversation and provide the platform for working collaboratively rather than as individual entities,” said Tulsa Community College President and CEO Dr. Tom McKeon. “Through our robust coalition, we believe we can tackle the challenges of implementing a large-scale, high impact STEM mentoring program that will provide age appropriate, evidence-based learning activities that engage students and keep them engaged in STEM throughout their lifetime.”

The Oklahoma Innovation Institute is leading the group through the application process.  Partners include American Airlines, Bama Companies, City of Tulsa, KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, NORDAM, Oklahoma Department of Education STEM program, Oklahoma Science and Engineering Foundation, Osage County Interlocal Cooperative, Society of Women Engineers, Starbase Oklahoma, T.D. Williamson, Tulsa Alliance for Engineering, Tulsa Community College, Tulsa County, Tulsa Public Schools, Tulsa Regional Chamber, The University of Tulsa, The University of Oklahoma – Tulsa, and Oklahoma State University in Tulsa.

“Tulsa is incredibly fortunate to have an extensive philanthropic community including a broad array of businesses dedicated to community investment,” said David Greer, executive director of the Oklahoma Innovation Institute. “The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is a major supporter of STEM in our community. Partnered with other organizations such as the Tulsa Community Foundation and the Tulsa Area United Way, we are able to show US2020 that Tulsa is committed to advancing STEM education.”

The competition was announced by President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative in June. The first round finalists moved on to the second round of the selection process, joining peers and STEM experts in Boston for "Ideas Camp," a 2-day strategy session Dec. 4-5 to help teams move their plans from concept to implementation. The second round applications will be due in January, and the awarded cities will be identified in February. The winning cities will share nearly $1 million in resources from US2020, based on their plans to significantly increase STEM mentoring for girls, low-income youth and minorities.

“By the end of the 2014/2015 school year, there will be an inventory of existing STEM mentorship programs including curriculum, locations and student demographics,” said Xan Black, coordinator for the Tulsa Alliance for Engineering. “Through relationships with individual mentors and companies, students will have unique access to resources, such as supercomputers and flight simulators."

Any Oklahoma business or organization interested in joining the coalition should contact OII at info@oklahomainnovationinstitute.org or 918-863-8700.

TCC