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At FirstBuild, our mission is to invent a new world of home appliances. Part of that mission is achieved by creating a socially engaged community of home enthusiasts, designers, engineers and makers that will share ideas, test out those ideas, and build real products to improve lives. But a core piece of what we do is make cool stuff with great thinkers. Those thinkers come from within GE, the local Louisville community, and around the globe. We want to encourage the next generation of great thinkers; for that reason, FirstBuild is a big supporter of youth STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs.

Last week, FirstBuild hosted two programs with that goal in mind.

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First, we hosted the Brown-Forman INSPIRE summer enrichment program. The program is designed to provide students, who are historically under-represented in the field, with an introduction to engineering.

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We also hosted the Louisville Urban League Project Ready Summer Reach Program. Summer Reach is a program for middle and high School students with an emphasis on careers that are directly related to STEM.

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For both sessions, we hosted about 25 high school students with a focus on STEM careers, gave them a tour of FirstBuild, and provided them with hands on exercises. For the exercises, we wanted to introduce the students to how the words in the STEM acronym can be applied to real life. The students used tools that FirstBuild employees use on an everyday basis; such as Raspberry Pis, cool accessories like Makey Makeys, and simple graphite pencils and paper to create a piano, which they later used to play Ode to Joy.

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The result was a fantastic event for both the FirstBuild staff and the participants in the programs. All of the groups were able to complete the tasks, and understood the role that STEM played in the activities. We were excited to put on great events for two groups of future STEM leaders. We would also like to extend a special thanks to Danese Caley for building the event curriculum that made these events possible.

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