Chief Science Officer Teens Get Creative 
to Promote STEM While Navigating 
School Closures  
IDRA Texas CSOs serve as STEM ambassadors
in their school communities  

San Antonio, May 27, 2020
- IDRA's Texas Chief Science Officer students shifted their work to create new ways to enrich a STEM culture despite school closures. This year, more than 100 teens in San Antonio and Houston served as their school's Chief Science Officers, learning leadership skills to carry out their own on-campus projects and advocate for student voice in STEM. But school closures threatened to derail their plans. Innovative by nature, these students took up the challenge.
CSO Shreya, a 10th grader, 
created a Discord BellBot for her peers who are studying at home  to alert them, as a school bell would, to transition to the next subject's coursework. It also gives them quick links to their teacher's online platforms and assignments and allows students to document each day's homework. Shreya attends Keystone School.

Eighth-grader CSO Elizabeth and her team at NEISD STEM Academy are finalists in their digital inclusion project for SA Smart: The Mayor's K-12 Smart City Challenge. The challenge  asked for ideas to solve the city's 38% digital divide. Their idea is to increase the sales tax to push funding to communities who need digital inclusion resources. Winners will be announced later this month.

CSO Ian's original action plan was to lead a STEMonstration for his youth group, which of course  could not happen once COVID-19 closures began. Instead, he led a virtual STEMonstration via Zoom. He and a friend created a DIY (do it yourself) water coagulation kit using household materials to build a circuit board, creating an electric current that purifies polluted water. Ian is an eighth grader in Cornerstone Christian Schools Online.

In addition to her STEM work for school, CSO Alicia focused on her family by teaching her little sister how to build and operate robots. Alicia is a seventh grader at Dwight STEM Academy in South San Antonio ISD.
 
"We're proud to foster students' discovery of STEM pathways and make an important global program available to Texas students," said IDRA President & CEO Celina Moreno. "Our CSO program amplifies voices of underserved students as they advocate STEM in their schools."
 
The Chief Science Officer program empowers middle and high school students to enrich school STEM culture and career awareness by bringing STEM/STEAM-related opportunities to their schools and local communities. The Arizona-based SciTech Institute initiated this international CSO program in 2015. The Alamo STEM Ecosystem (a member of the International STEM Learning Ecosystem) brought it to San Antonio in 2018. IDRA manages the Texas expansion of the program, particularly into historically under-resourced schools and to serve low-income students, students of color and girls.
 
Typically, CSOs support STEM programming on campuses by helping to plan field trips, host science nights, start STEM-related clubs, initiate student-led civic action projects, and bring speakers from local industries to engage students in conversations about the STEM workforce.
 
In 2019-20, the CSO program is in schools in the following school districts: Edgewood ISD, Harlandale ISD, Houston ISD, Judson ISD, North East ISD, Northside ISD, San Antonio ISD,  South San Antonio ISD and  Southwest ISD.
Webiinar info
Friday, May 29, 2020 at 
9:30 AM (cdt)

Are you interested to learn more about IDRA's Texas Chief Science Officer Program? CSOs are students in grades 6-12 elected by their peers to be liaisons for STEM in their schools and communities. They learn leadership skills to implement on-campus projects and advocate for student voice in STEM.

Join Dr. Stephanie Garcia, the Texas Regional Lead for the CSO Program, with your questions and coffee in hand! This is an open Q&A discussion for families, students, educators and community organizations. We would love for you to join the conversation and learn more about how to be a part of this incredible student-driven program.

Texas CSO flier
Contact Dr. Stephanie Garcia, regional lead for the IDRA Texas CSO program, for more information about the program: 
210-444-1710 *  stephanie.garcia@idra.org
Texas CSO list of school roles
Media contact: Christie L. Goodman, APR, IDRA Director of Communications,  christie.goodman@idra.org
The Intercultural Development Research Association is an independent, non-profit organization. Our mission is to achieve equal educational opportunity for every child through strong public schools that prepare all students to access and succeed in college. IDRA strengthens and transforms public education by providing dynamic training; useful research, evaluation, and frameworks for action; timely policy analyses; and innovative materials and programs.

We are committed to the IDRA valuing philosophy, respecting the knowledge and skills of the individuals we work with and build on the strengths of the students and parents in their schools.