STEM of the Future
Story Kayli Corbin Photos Kimberlee Miller
STEM Matters 2018, a recent event held at Boise’s Capital Building, highlighted hands-on activities and current projects in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The emphasis was not only what is up-and-coming in these fields, but the importance and value that their development will provide to future generations. A staggering 7,000 jobs remain unfilled in the STEM fields. Geeko Labs is proactively working to decrease that number and offers exploratory education in STEM fields, including art (STEAM).
Jeff McCauley, a member of Geeko Lab’s Board of Directors, states “STEAM is an area of critical importance as we move into an economy that is more focused on how to manufacture products using technology rather than with traditional labor. The skillsets we are trying to help kids develop are becoming increasingly important. Creative thinking and using technology to accomplish objectives is becoming essential in today’s economy.”
Heather Allen, Executive Director at Geeko Labs, is an energetic and driven teacher. Her experience spans elementary education to corporate training, and her passion for growth, development, and contribution is unending. She co-founded Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a local non-profit providing children with bunk beds, and visibly loves her current role.
She expressed the triumph of Geeko Labs and the value it’s Board of Directors see in empowering kids of all ages to own their potential. Ben McCallister had five children enrolled in the now retired PCS Edventure. At the sunset of this program’s existence, Ben saw an opportunity to continue developing children in STEAM fields. He, along with Keith McCauley, Jeff McCauley, and Tyler Craig, funded the creation of Geeko Labs and are responsible for the current program’s ability to develop logic, creativity, and problem-solving in local children.
In September 2017, Geeko Labs reopened its doors with updated curriculum, a new and unique system of testing and reporting progress, and a rebranded culture and philosophy. Their exciting and interactive lab space shows exactly what they strive to provide – education, growth, and opportunity for children. They strive to bridge the gap between knowledge and real-life application, ensuring that their curriculum is relevant and correlative with modern day practices in STEM fields. Their future holds certifications and resume-building activities that give kids a leg up when it’s time to get out into the field.
Kids from 9 to 17 enjoy all that Geeko Labs has to offer. Weekly lab sessions allow them to pick their own path within the realms of virtual reality, robotics, drones, 3D printing, electronics, computer programming/coding, video game design, and video production. Camps are also a great way for kids to learn about a specific subject. Spring Break (March 26th-30th) will have a focus on virtual reality, so be sure to save a space now!
McCallister provided amazing insight into the benefits this program offers, “As a business owner I have come to appreciate working with those who have a general understanding of many disciplines. The breadth of one’s education seems to lead to greater creativity, innovation, and invention. An after-school learning program offers young people unique opportunities to complement the standard education they are receiving. Creation is an act of combining ideas and concepts in new, unexpected ways. The more disciplines someone is familiar with, the more material they have at their disposal to create with. A basic understanding of STEAM subjects will allow students of all disciplines to stand out and create in their field of interest.”