West Side STEM Learning Center has a new Facilitator and Program

by | May 22, 2018 | News |

What stands out to me about Project Exploration is that they seek to take advantage of the demand for STEM educated professionals by providing STEM-related opportunities to underfunded and underserved communities in Chicago.” – Maximilian Esterhammer-Ficsettings

West Side STEM Learning Center has a new Facilitator and Program

Project Exploration is pleased to introduce Maximilian Esterhammer-Fic, our latest STEM Facilitator at the West Side STEM Learning Center.  He is currently running Project Exploration’s STEMQuest program which introduces students on the west side to various STEM-related disciplines. This program is to help discover an interest in a variety of different STEM areas. The students will learn to develop self-esteem and self-confidence in their knowledge of STEM. They will also learn how to improve problem-solving and communication skills through a combination of learning and leadership development.

Current STEM Facilitator Introduces Maximillian to PE

Maximilian heard about Project Exploration through another current STEM Facilitator who put him in touch with our Program Manager. He is originally from Chicago and is currently studying Childhood Development at Harold Washington College. Maximilian has always been naturally comfortable with mathematics, and it is his favorite subject, so even when he wasn’t in a math class, he found himself continuing to study through books or online.

Making Connections!

His passion for continuing his studies led him to find a volunteer opportunity at Inspiration Kitchen. Inspiration Kitchen is one of Project Exploration’s partners with our Science Giants program. He quickly applied and began leading group tutoring sessions and one-on-one sessions with students from a diverse set of backgrounds, ages, and skill levels.

Memorable Moments and Electromagnets….

One of his most memorable moments that stands out is at family night at George Leland Elementary School. He had a table set up with a science demonstration, which was to create electromagnets out of wire, a bolt and a battery. A student came up to his table, who must have only been in first grade; she was so young he had to set up most of the demonstration for her pretty much because she wasn’t strong enough to bend the wire.  So he helped her set it up until the last step where all she had to do was connect the wires up to the battery. When she did that, the electromagnet activated and picked up some paper clips, and her face just lit up right then, and she looked at me and just had the biggest smile on her face. The idea that this demonstration brought that much joy and excitement to this little girl was a little proof to me of the effect we can have on these students.

Testing the Limits of Teaching

Working at Project Exploration has allowed him to test the limits of his teaching ability and to have the opportunity to guide this group of young learners, they have taught him as much as he has taught them.  Each one of them brings something different to the table every day, so no two classes are ever the same. He can give the students the opportunity to explore fields of Science and models through which they can understand the world that they might not otherwise have a chance to be exposed.  A new upcoming program that he is most excited about is Project Exploration’s new coding curriculum which can have a significant impact on some of these kids. It can give them a head start one of the most lucrative careers available right now.

Next, Maximilian plans on continuing serving the communities by joining the Chicago Police Department. He hopes to gain a deeper sense of connection with the variety of communities that exist within Chicago.

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