Category Archives: Opportunities

Become a MassBay STEM Mentor

MassBay Community College in Wellesley runs a STEM Mentor Program in which STEM professionals meet with its students at least once a month during the school year. Activities during the year include periodic STEM Forums, a Robo-Sports competition, hands-on STEM activities, and tours of four-year colleges and local STEM companies. Learn more in this STEM Mentor Program brochure and enroll here. This year’s Kick-Off Reception, where mentors will meet their assigned students, will be October 4, 5:30-7:30PM. For more information, contact Valerie Kapilow, STEM Starter Academy Project Director, at or 781-239-3157.

Start a Design Squad Global Club for Ages 10-13; Register by Aug. 15

PBSKids facilitates the creation of Design Squad Global clubs for ages 10-13 to explore engineering and design — and then matches each club with a partner club in another country for collaboration. DSG clubs run in 6- or 12-week seasons throughout the year.  On your own or collaborating with a local organization, you can learn how to start a club, review the club guide, and then sign up by August 15 to form a club (ideally of 9 to 12 students) for the September 15 – December 15 season. Each week, you’ll need about an hour for preparation and an hour (or more) for club time, plus a half hour every other week communicating with your overseas partner club. No experience in teaching or engineering is needed. For more information, email Saranya Sathananthan at

Register Now for Destination Imagination 2018-19

Registration is now open for Newton’s Destination Imagination program for the 2018-19 school year.  It’s a volunteer-run STEAM program for Grades K-12 (see video). Teams of 2-7 students form in September (by Grades: K-2, 3-5, 6-9, and 9-12) to address various design challenges throughout the year in preparation for regional tournaments in the early spring and potentially state and global competitions in May. Over the years, over 350 Newton students have participated, and this year a Newton team went to the Global Finals! Here are videos of the 2017-18 Technical ChallengeScientific ChallengeEngineering ChallengeFine Arts ChallengeImprovisational Challenge, and Social Action Challenge.

For next year, teams are currently being formed in the communities of Angier, Cabot, Countryside, Franklin, Horace Mann, Mason Rice, Solomon Schecter, and Underwood schools — and other teams are welcome. Details are in this webinar. The registration fee of $150 is reduced to $50 for adults volunteering to co-manage a team. For more information, contact Matthew Miller at

2018 Congressional App Challenge is Now Open

Five Massachusetts members of Congress have joined their colleagues in other states to host the 2018 Congressional App Challenge. Middle- and high-school students who live and/or go to school in the districts of Representatives Clark, Keating, Kennedy, McGovern, or Moulton may sign up for the Challenge by September 10, as individuals or in teams of up to four. Registered entrants can then use any programming language on any platform to make an app on any theme or topic (except as prohibited by the rules) and then create and submit a 1-3 minute video demonstration of the app and its purpose by noon on October 15. The MassTLC Education Foundation is one of many partners sponsoring the Challenge.

Library Seeks Facilitator/Instructors for ‘Girls Who Code’ Club

The Newton Free Library, preparing for its fifth year hosting the Newton Girls Who Code Club, seeks volunteer facilitator/instructors for this very popular, free, after-school program for Grades 6-12. The Library provides meeting space, and the global Girls Who Code organization provides curriculum materials. Facilitators do not need technical experience and may learn alongside Club members. They need a passion for closing the gender gap in technology, skill in fostering community in youth groups, and the ability to volunteer 3 to 4 hours per week, October through May (including preparation and travel). Men and women are encouraged to apply. The Library expects to host two sections, each with 20-25 girls and two or more facilitators meeting two hours each week in afternoons, evenings, or weekends — depending on when instructors are available. If interested, read this description and email if you have further questions. Apply here.

High-School Discount to Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference, Aug. 12-17

Goldschmidt, the premier international academic conference on geochemistry, will take place in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center, August 12-17.  At NewtonSTEM’s request, the conference is offering high-school students a one-day pass for $95 to access all sessions for the day, the exhibition hall, and an evening poster session.  (Student admission is usually $560 for the week or $170 for one day.)  Any high-school students interested in exploring the intersection of chemistry, earth science, and environmental science should review the program, choose a day to attend, and then bring his/her valid high-school ID and mention the “NewtonSTEM high-school rate” to register on-site for $95.  This rate is not available online.

Coding Butterfly Offers Free Rides all Fall for Sign-ups by July 31

Coding Butterfly has an early-bird registration offer:  Students signed up by July 31 for one of Coding Butterfly’s after-school programs for the fall semester may receive free transportation via Sheprd to the program for the entire semester.  Rides must be completed to Coding Butterfly’s Newton or Boston location during weekdays 3PM-7PM, for not more than 5 miles driving distance.

Survey: Empow Studios Seeks Teens’ Opinions About New Programs

Empow Studios is planning to expand its programs for teens in Newton and Lexington and would like to hear from teens and their parents about what programs they would like to see offered. The company’s online survey is anonymous — unless you choose the option to provide your name and email address in order to be informed of future programs and provide more feedback in the future. It should take less than 5 minutes to complete. Empow Studios would appreciate your survey response by July 15, if possible.

Apply Now for STEM Pathways One-Day Lab Training in Synthetic Biology for Grades 10-12, July 14

Monday at 10PM is the deadline to apply for a one-day Training Session in Synthetic Biology in a real, synthetic biology environment. It’s offered to students entering Grades 10-12 (ages 16 and older) by STEM Pathways — the synthetic biology outreach program of the Living Computing Project — and the DAMP (Design | Automation | Manufacturing | Prototyping) Lab.  It will be held 10AM-4PM on July 14 on the Boston University campus. Apply online by 10PM on July 2. Include the name, email, and phone number of a teacher, mentor, or coach as a reference. For more information, email or call Rohin at 617-299-0816.

How to Plug Into the FIRST LEGO League in Newton

While the high-school FIRST Robotics Competition action in Newton is focused on the highly visible LigerBots, parents and kids may find it a bit difficult to get going in the younger levels, FIRST LEGO League (FLL) for Grades 4-8 and FIRST LEGO League Jr. for Grades K-3. There are about 15 FLL teams and at least a few FLL Jr. teams in Newton. Parents may want to find a team for their kids to join, but it’s sometimes not easy to add kids to existing teams. The best way to get your kids involved is to start a team, and there’s lots of help available — online as well as from others in Newton — to get you going.

The LigerBots provide support for developing FLL and FLL Jr. teams.  Last week, the LigerBots held an information session for interested parents (see photos), and each fall the team runs two FLL tournaments — a regional qualifier and the Eastern Massachusetts Championship — at Newton North HS, where parents and kids can see what it’s all about. The team also maintains a webpage of FLL information useful for parents and coaches.  If you missed last week’s information session, you can see the presentation here. You can also fill out the LigerBots’ FLL Survey to get on their mailing list and ask to be connected with nearby parents and kids interested in forming FLL or FLL Jr. teams. The LigerBots will follow up with respondents soon. You can also email with questions or requests for help.

In addition, Empow Studios is hosting FLL teams that will meet on Sundays in Newton and Lexington. Their online application has more information.

FLL Jr for Grades K-3 has challenges based on the same theme as the Grade 4-8 FLL teams, but with more age-appropriate materials. The theme for 2018/2019 is “Mission Moon.”  Teams are given a general problem to solve, and each team decides how they want to solve it and then creates a Lego model to illustrate their solution, creates a poster to go into more depth, and prepares a talk to explain their work.  Teams are 2-6 students and 2 or more coaches.