A news release said the change was in light of continued uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing major funding disruption.
This move reflects the reality that in-person instruction will be challenging for the foreseeable future while the demand for innovative, virtual STEM learning is increasing, the STREAMWORKS release said. With the significant disruption of normal, in-person programs and key funding, like many other nonprofit organizations during this time, STREAMWORKS is reducing its expenses to help ensure long-term viability while continuing its mission of partnering to enhance STEM education through innovation, networking and creating opportunities to develop and showcase the talent of students and teachers.
“I am deeply grateful for the thousands of students, teachers, interns, coaches, parents and friends of STREAMWORKS who have been instrumental in the material shift in K-12 extracurricular STEM focus in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Northwest North Carolina,” STREAMWORKS Executive Director Dennis Courtney said in the release.
“Last year alone we had 2,000 students come through the STEM Gym doors working on hundreds of projects in a team setting. Additionally, we have provided STEM-related professional development for over a hundred teachers, and many have gone on to coaching teams competing at local, regional, state, national, and world competitions. We are proud to have built the largest K-8 LEGO robotics competition in the state of Tennessee as well as our state’s first Regional Underwater Robotics competition” Courtney said.
“And we are especially gratified to have been instrumental in bringing to our region the 2019 MATE International Underwater Robotics Championships and the approximately 1,000 competitors from around the world,” Courtney said. “These and other outcomes would not have been possible in just three years without a huge amount of community and regional support. We are especially grateful to Eastman and the Eastman Foundation that had the vision to launch STREAMWORKS three years ago.”
Through leveraging virtual technology and the physical facilities of educational systems, STREAMWORKS will continue to work with schools, teachers and students across the region to help them innovate and develop new educational platforms, as well as connect with the global STEM educational ecosystem. Communities and school systems interested in such support can contact [email protected]