As part of the General Motors Austin IT Innovation Center’s efforts to elevate STEAM education in Austin, GM’s Hispanic Initiative Team (HIT) and volunteers hosted the second annual “Day of Giving” luncheon for River Oaks Elementary students, faculty and parents in November. The event is one highlight of the mentorship program established last year between GM HIT and the school, to help raise awareness of educational needs and encourage the community to join GM’s efforts to elevate STEAM education.
“This is one of Pflugerville’s most underserved communities, as well as being a fully bilingual elementary, so it was a great fit all around,” says Angela Piñeyro de Hoyos, a GM employee leading the program.
With the help of GM volunteers, several key programs were launched in Pflugerville ISD, involving more than 200 students in weekly STEAM activities. GM volunteers mentored elementary students on a weekly basis and led STEAM-related activities, such as building straw rockets and balloon-powered cars. They also worked with students at Connelly High School, the feeder school for River Oaks Elementary, to complete a first-ever AP Computer Science class.
“Today’s event is a fun celebration of this partnership,” Piñeyro de Hoyos says. “Last year, it was my goal to get everyone into the school to see what we can do for them. This year’s goal is to grow that partnership, so we’re looking at bringing different groups together: Girls Who Code, Latinitas and other existing non-profits. We want to bring their resources into this community, in partnership with GM, where we can have the most impact.”
One recent summer program brought together young girls from Latinitas and Girls Who Code to solve a business problem and redesign websites, all while networking with one another.