STEM Experience

It takes a village, working together towards a common purpose to create an atmosphere of success. The individual members of SIP create, as they participate in their self-selected hands-on STEM activities, the line items that appear on their resumes.

The intersectionality of our talents and focused commitment culminates in an intergenerational team supported by external partners that allows us to work together to forge a personalized STEM pathway for each member.

STEM Activities

The SIP K12 program engages in a lot of STEM activities. The major ones are listed below. The remaining one are available by clicking on this button. We invite you to explore the pictures we took as we participated in STEM fun!


BRIGHT-CS is a program for girls in middle school. Girls learn how computer science can help them solve problems they care about and create new things in the digital world. Girls get to interact with women of color with careers in computer science and build friendships with other girls like them. By the end of the year, girls see themselves as leaders and scientists.


Cyber-AI was a virtual seminar hosted during COVID by Aya Elfettahi and Lidya Demilew. They created an interactive seminar that exposed middle and high school girls to computing through two of the fastest growing fields in technology, Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity. The seminar included a cybersecurity professional guest speaker in addition to a number of “hands-on”, interactive activities.


A teacher told a mutual friend about an article in George Mason University’s Magazine. Ms. DeHart’s friend brought her the article about a forensic professor that had organized a STEM summer camp for minority girls; maybe she would be interested? Interested! YES! Ms. DeHart sent the instructor and email, invited them to meet her students and they ended up in a partnership for 2+ years!


HackSIP was a hackathon series created by Mera Seifu and Nardos Demilew. They, along with a skilled support team, put together an online hackathon for underrepresented middle and high school girls. Mailing the materials directly to their homes, students were exposed to coding through Scratch, micro:bit, and other hands-on activities. The seminar series was so well received that we might even do it again!

Hour of Code

Coding is a 21st century skill. Whether you are a software engineer, or not, coding is everywhere and in someway shape or form affects a student’s career trajectory. Given that importance Ms. DeHart made it a priority to expose, teach coding in any way she could. Not knowing how to code herself, and have little time to learn, she was supported by students that offered peer-to-peer teaching.
The result were very positive: student-sponsored hackathons, coding curricula, robotics, seminars, a coding clud, etc. The Hour of Code is a wonderful way to support students in coding.

National Engineers Week

As a middle school teacher Ms. DeHart felt it important to expose and support girls to STEM. As part of her focus she partnered with FCCLA to serve a 3 course dinner while entertaining as many girls as possible for a NASA speaker that presented during National Engineering Week. The event was a success! 25 girls attended and asked the speaker questions that truly indicated their interest in the opportunity!

Scratch Conference

The Scratch Conference is a gathering of educators, researchers, developers, and other members of the worldwid Scratch community. Our proposal was accepted into the conference and Abia Zahir and Aya Elfettahi were able to afford to attend the field trip. They presented to a group of teachers and got a chance to enjoy the extraordinary network opportunities that the conference offers. This trip required student contribution but was well worth the expense. In addition to the conference we were able to visit MIT’s and Harvard’s campuses!

Smartbrief Summit

Part of SIP’s program is for students to make public presentations. It exposes our program in addition to teaching students how to plan, write, practice, and present a speech to an audience of real people! Ms. DeHart would submit a proposal and invite students that were willing to participate in the process. This event was for teachers and administrators. Abia Zahir and Aya Elfettahi joined Ms. DeHart on their field trip. Our presentation went so well that we secured a presentation offer with an attending organization.

Starting from Scratch

A chance meeting between two adults, from different countries, during a pandemic and inspired by a similar mission – to teach underrepresented students how to code – generated an opportunity for global connection! Our mottow was No Borders, just learning! Ten Scratch class and 10 youth mentors later students from New Delhi India and the United States inspired students from India to attend coding classes Livestreamed on Youtube! 25,000 views later the project gifted SIP its first international student members: Pallab Layak and Tanisha Dhami.

STEM Into Spring

This seminar was inspired by the Hour of Code activity facilitated by Mera Seifu and Yabesra Ewnetu. Happy with the engagement the students demonstrated, SIP was invited to conduct a larger seminar – one in which the high school students were the program managers, middle school students were the STEM educators, and elementary school students enjoy the STEM program! This was one of our best activities. Lots of work by lots of value!

VEX Competitions

Ms. DeHart had spent the previous year being a First robotics coach. She was poised to bring First to her middle school when she found out that they had chosen VEX robotics instead. Her previous team, all but one, elected to join the soccer team and things were looking bleak. To no avail, Ms. DeHart asked a new set of students and ended up taking 17 + their parents to the VEX state competition! While the team did not earn the right to move on to Worlds, some of the students volunteered to go to Worlds, explore the experience, and prepare for the next year!