The Problem: Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related occupations are a growing and vitally important part of the U.S. economy -- particularly in the midwest, where innovations in the water and medical industries are leading job creation. However, student interest is not only lower than what it needs to be, but is also marked by certain groups being significantly underrepresented: women, students of color, and students from low income families (Carnegie Corporation of New York, 2009; Toglia 2013; National Science Board 2014). Early adolescence is a critical point of intervention. Four out of five students who decide to major in a STEM field report making that decision in high school or earlier (Microsoft News Service 2011). Neede...
The Problem: Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related occupations are a growing and vitally important part of the U.S. economy -- particularly in the midwest, where innovations in the water and medical industries are leading job creation. However, student interest is not only lower than what it needs to be, but is also marked by certain groups being significantly underrepresented: women, students of color, and students from low income families (Carnegie Corporation of New York, 2009; Toglia 2013; National Science Board 2014). Early adolescence is a critical point of intervention. Four out of five students who decide to major in a STEM field report making that decision in high school or earlier (Microsoft News Service 2011). Needed are more initiatives that facilitate the active engagement of students in their learning. Such activities that have been shown to increase interest in STEM, especially among girls, are those that:
(1) are culturally and personally relevant to students;
(2) mix in-class and at-home applications;
(3) reflect a cooperative, rather than competitive frame; and
(4) connect higher-order thinking skills to improve one’s community (Saxton et al. 2014;Weber 2012).
The Solution: STEMhero is designed to solve these problems, and builds upon the research on STEM education cited above. STEMhero empowers students as authentic scientists, modeling, comparing, and experimenting with data they collect from the water, gas, and electric meters in their homes, schools, and other partnering community buildings. Aligned especially well to the Human Impacts strand of the Next Generation Science Standards, and evidence based argumentation within the Common Core State Standards, STEMhero makes STEM real and relevant for all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, gender, or race.
STEMhero currently works in schools helping students and teachers complete basic assessments of the energy and water consumption of their school building, classroom, and home as part of their science and math curriculum. We partner with different utilities and performance contracting companies that are looking for curricular tie-ins to building efficiency upgrades/usage analytics/conservation programming.
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The STEMhero team is passionate about infusing science and math education with technology and a grounding in sustainability. This platform is a game-changer for schools looking to meet rigorous common core standards and a point of engagement for community stakeholders that want to make a difference.
Nate and the folks at STEMhero have created an incredible tool for teachers and schools. For students to be prepared to lead in a diverse America, teachers and school leaders must be culturally responsive, driven by justice in education and able to connect learning to students lives and issues facing the broader community - STEMhero makes it happen. STEMhero connects rigorous STEM content directly to the lived experiences of students, helps students understand the relationship between classroom content and social justice issues in their immediate context, AND gets students engaged in collecting, manipulating, and learning from data. Also, as a full-time educator and teacher coach, it is awesome to find such a strong program that gets kids excited and is easy to use.
Nate and his team have developed an activity-based platform for engaging students in energy, science, and math which makes energy/water efficiency exciting for kids (and this isn't easy to do!). As a mentor to STEMhero in the MWERCbench labs accelerator, it was a pleasure to work with dedicated founders who work hard, aren't afraid to ask questions, and take input to improve the product and the business model. This model includes multiple avenues for generating revenue especially through utilities (water, electric, and natural gas) that see the PR benefit, but also have significant conservation budgets to achieve savings goals. Bright future ahead for this team.
To say the least, STEMhero has been an impressive and inspiring story of two passionate and committed founders taking a unique idea, finding the right audiences and growing a profitable business. They've taken full advantage of every opportunity and explored every avenue of potential, resulting in smart, bold and strategic actions.
It was a pleasure to work closely with STEMhero, as they leveraged our program (The Commons) to identify and secure their tech cofounder and a talented sales rep.
I've also been happy to see the level of sophistication of their tech stack: STEMhero isn't just a website. It's a robust, scalable platform with great potential for feature growth.
I look forward to seeing the success STEMhero has in its future!
The Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP) is excited to partner with STEMhero whose innovative approach for enhancing STEM interest and skills is a perfect complement to KEEP’s own school to home energy efficiency outreach activities. STEMhero’s engaging online dashboard to track and understand the energy savings that result from energy education activities in the classroom is not only a valuable tool for program evaluation, but also an effective educational resource for students and teachers active in real-life energy investigations at school and home.
STEMHero is a excellent example of using cutting edge ideas and technology to help change the way we think about and use energy. STEMHero founders, Dan and Nate, do a fabulous job of balancing what needs to be done today to keep the company on task and driving STEMHero toward their big dreams for the future! Together, Dan and Nate will make the world a better place!
It was a great pleasure to have STEMhero in our 10-week accelerator program (Madworks). STEMhero has a well-rounded, thoughtful, diligent team that not only pushed themselves but also other members of the community. They are committed to progress, and showed great improvement every week of the program. STEMhero has a great technology to invigorate an interest in STEM subjects for students, and connect those students to the practical outlets of those fields. I am excited to see their continued success.