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Utah Tech STEM Girls Program

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Utah Tech K–12 STEM Outreach Center

A game-changer for struggling students

Article by Cheryl McCollum

Photography by Courtesy of Utah Tech STEM Outreach Program

Originally published in St George City Lifestyle

A single mom praises a Utah Tech University Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics or STEM program for providing “endless possibilities” for her two sons and for turning them from struggling high school students into thriving ones who are passionate about science.

With her voice cracking with emotion, Ida Thompson from Washington, Utah, said the Utah Tech STEM programs offered an ideal place for her sons to be challenged.

“My oldest son struggled socially in high school, but when he found this group of friends at Utah Tech who also loved technology, suddenly he had a purpose. This program has changed and literally saved his life. It’s been a reminder to us that anything is possible,” says Ida.

TDS awarded a $15,000 grant to the K-12 STEM Outreach Center and its Utah Tech Prep and STEM Girls programs, with a goal to encourage students to pursue STEM-related careers. Funds will be used to purchase digital microscopes, an air-powered rocket launcher, Micro:Bits and snap circuit electronic exploration kits.

“Students love the technology units we have at Utah Tech, and the exploration kits will allow us to include motion, lights, sounds, and sensors into their projects,” says Jessica Davis, director of STEM outreach at Utah Tech University.

“Micro:Bits will help us to take the next step and make the connection between coding and creating,” Jessica adds.

Ida’s oldest son Aiden, 17, praised the teachers and the smaller classrooms that fit more with his learning style.

“I found I enjoy engineering and solving problems,” says Aiden. “The attention to detail in the coursework was amazing. I now know what I want to do in the future.”

TDS Associate Manager of Field Marketing, Wendi Bulkley, who nominated the program for the TDS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Community STEM Fund grant, said she is pleased TDS can support Utah Tech’s STEM programs.

“These courses have a proven track record and foster an interest in technology and engineering for future first-generation undergraduates as well as low-income and underrepresented students in STEM fields,” says Wendy.

Over the next 10 years, the demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase by four times the rate of other occupations. The Dean of the Utah Tech College of Science, Engineering and Technology, Eric Pedersen, believes the program is filling a void.

“In our STEM Outreach Center, students are having so much fun in these classes, they don’t even realize they’re learning! Many thanks to TDS for helping us reach the next generation of STEM learners,” says Eric.

For more information about STEM at Utah Tech University, visit Learn more about TDS at

This article contains sponsored content.

Over the next 10 years the demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase by four times the rate of other occupations. 

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  • Utah Tech K-12 STEM Outreach Center