STARS brings together Bank of America, Richmond Public Schools (RPS), and VCU Engineering to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in the Richmond region. This program provides participants with industry-ready knowledge and experiences in computer and data science by:
STARS aims to support students from populations typically underrepresented in engineering and computer science with a long-term goal of increasing the diversity of the tech talent workforce in Virginia.
The STARS Approach
The holistic approach of the STARS program focuses on three aspects: content, mentorship and exploration. By looking at the whole experience of students, STARS will be better able to make an impact on student interest and tech pathway retention.
STARS works within existing district-created frameworks to offer content support aligned with skills desired by industry and to prepare students for continued learning in higher education. All content is created by collaborative teams composed of RPS teachers, Bank of America employees and VCU Engineering faculty and staff. The result is content that is aligned to Virginia standards, is easily implemented by educators and that supports learning with real-world applications.
Using a Career Coach approach that pairs RPS students with teams of volunteer mentors from higher education and industry, the STARS program helps students explore topics such as career readiness, opportunity awareness and how to get on — and stay on — the tech talent pathway. This approach guides students through individual skills and interests while showing the broad career opportunities in technical, STEM-related and tech-adjacent fields. Regular meetings throughout the program provide structure and reliability to the coach/protégé relationship.
As students become aware of and interested in engineering, computer science and other STEM-related fields, the STARS program provides optional opportunities for further exploration. These include camps, competitions and research experiences that are designed to support STARS participants who are curious about the topics they learn about in other program components.
RPS has existing STEM Academy programming at both Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, Thomas H. Henderson Middle School and the Richmond Technical Center. STARS works with these three programs to support the educators and resources already in place to position students for success as they seek to access opportunities in technical and STEM-field careers.
STARS Career Coaches: Get Involved!
Are you a professional in a tech-related field ready to give back? As a STARS Career Coach, you can make a difference by presenting youth with opportunities in the tech industry and helping to guide them along a journey of career exploration and awareness. Coaches meet monthly with groups of students and follow an existing curriculum that frames the discussions and allows for coaches to bring their own experiences into the program.
The STARS Career Coach program will launch Fall 2021 with the following schools:
If you are able to help us make a real impact on these students’ lives, please consider completing the Career Coach application. The application deadline is Thursday, June 24, 2021 at 5 p.m.