May 31, 2019
By Joseph Duda, Head of North America Strategic Partnerships and Product Optimization
This month, we celebrate the first anniversary of STEM-CARE, a 10-year collaborative effort between Mylan and West Virginia University (WVU). The primary focus of STEM-CARE is to instill problem-solving and critical thinking skills in West Virginia’s youth to help prepare them for their future. Through this joint initiative, WVU brings its expertise in education and connectivity to all 55 West Virginia counties through its Extension Service programs while Mylan is providing $5 million in funding and will leverage its subject-matter expertise.
STEM-CARE is a unique program that will utilize hands-on, design-based curriculum, leveraging themes often found in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs as well as including a growth mindset component to encourage youth to challenge themselves. In doing so, they will understand the learning process consists of both success and failure. Kids often hear and say expressions like, “Math is hard,” or “I am no good at science.” These subjects can be challenging, but what is truly important is to encourage kids to get out of their comfort zones and try more demanding experiences and subjects. No matter what career field they hope to enter, students will grow in their confidence and intellect, ultimately making them more Curious, Active, Resilient and Engaged (the CARE acronym in STEM-CARE).
In one year, Mylan and WVU have gained much ground in realizing and understanding the STEM-CARE vision and establishing a more tangible road map and work plan. This was accomplished through various camps last summer at Jackson’s Mill, discussions with educators and students, and a statewide survey to 4-H ambassadors. The responses from our outreach have been very helpful. We now have a better understanding of the vastly different needs for the counties across the state. For example, access to reliable internet varies for students, schools and even local libraries – just one of many components as we think through our program’s development.
Additionally, we have added dedicated team resources, narrowed in on curriculum options, and selected multiple locations and camps to beta test materials this summer, support instructor training and obtain youth feedback before rolling out the program to select counties and schools starting this fall.
Right now, we’re focusing on how to deliver programming that will meet the needs of diverse classrooms and gain the support of students, instructors and parents alike. I remain confident as we look ahead because of how far we’ve come already. STEM-CARE, which started as a vision and commitment to West Virginia’s youth, has now taken root and continues to make strides in creating better health for a better West Virginia.
For more STEM-CARE updates, be sure to follow Mylan on Instagram @mylan_westvirginia.