Local Engineers Volunteer to Bring Real-World STEM Projects to the Classroom

Local Engineers Volunteer to Bring Real-World STEM Projects to the Classroom
Posted on 12/18/2017
STEM Volunteer Engineer Working with Students

Fleming Elementary’s STEM Cooperative Program


Individuals from Olin, Dow and BASF have joined forces with Fleming Elementary School Counselor Barbara Pruessing and Evan Tiffany, the program coordinator from Olin, to give students hands-on lessons in Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science and Life Science.

The volunteer program, called “STEM Together,” started in October with nine engineers coming from Olin, Dow and BASF. Eight engineers work with 4-5 students each in kindergarten or first grade for forty-five minutes a week during regular school hours. Other volunteers work with all kindergarten and first grade students in Maker-Space, a collaborative work area in the campus library where students explore and learn utilizing high-tech and no-tech tools. These engineers are bringing students real-world, hands on activities centered on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Students are instructed to work together to communicate and come up with solutions to group challenges. They benefit tremendously from this model as they are challenged to express themselves, work together, and think critically in ways that they may not regularly experience at home or in their normal curricular activities.


Volunteers working in the STEM Together program can expect to develop great relationships with the staff and the students. The positive influence a volunteer brings to a student’s education will leave a lasting impact on that child’s life, and in their community.


STEM Together is in its first year of programming, and is currently operating at Fleming Elementary. The program hopes to expand to other schools in Freeport.

Andy Pierlussi Olin Reliability Engineer

Andy Pierlussi, Reliability Engineer for Olin, works with students on Rapunzel STEM project.

Josh Spahn Olin Engineer
Josh Spahn, Chemical Engineer for Olin, works on an engineering project with first graders.

Kalli Robinson BASF Engineer Kalli Robinson, Chemical Engineer for BASF, works with students on an engineering project. Matt Jones Production Manager Matt Jones, Production Manager for Olin, works with students on an engineering project. Travis Walthal BASF Engineer
Travis Walthal, Compliance Engineer for BASF, discusses latest project with first grade students at Fleming Elementary.
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