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At first, the class was like any other at Georgia’s Quitman County School District. Kids sat at desks while an adult lectured. Despite appearances, this was no ordinary lecture. Schneider Electric organized STEM activities for the kids in this Quitman County high school class. These activities are part of Quitman County’s energy performance contract with Schneider Electric and are designed to engage students in a STEM-inspired engineering shadowing program focused on energy conservation.

NMSI’s mantra is that education empowers opportunity. How have you experienced that?

Using community engagement, professional development, custom curricula and digital resources, the leaders of Oak Ridge Schools in Tennessee hope to transform the district into a recognized leader in STEM education.

Working with vinyl cutters, students in the Mahtomedi School District’s engineering program create their own folder covers.

Students taking the ‘How to Make (Almost) Anything’ class at Mahtomedi High School in Mahtomedi, Minn. can literally make almost anything—from chess pieces to cups to chairs, and DVD cases to clocks to lampshades—right in their classroom. And besides getting a daily dose of amazement, these students are making history in the first public school district with access to such groundbreaking, hands-on STEM education.

The gulf drilling explosion on the Deepwater Horizon caused an unprecedented disaster that left experts scrambling to discover the elusive solution that will halt the unceasing flow of pollutants. The question remains: How do we prevent this kind of disaster from happening again? The most sustainable and forward-thinking answer may lie in education. It is within the academic realm of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), often touted as the Achilles' heel of the U.S. educational system, that the foundations for future disaster-aversion could be built.