Championing Gender Equality in Tech through Education
STEM Fuse is an educational resource provider that specializes in developing web based STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) curriculum. Founded in 2008 by Carter Tatge, a former Minnesota State System admissions manager, the company has gained popularity since its inception and it’s curriculum is being used by 7,000+ schools across the United States and five foreign countries.
STEM Fuse utilizes gaming and game development as a tool to teach K12 students programming and graphic design skills. Their unique approach of gamifying learning, also helps students build problem solving skills using the engineering design cycle. Students learn how to work in a development team while discovering how crucial math and physics concepts are all interconnected to the UX/UI of a game.
One of the big reasons for STEM Fuse’s success undoubtedly lies in its commitment to developing female leadership who have a keen interest in inspiring and empowering youth to become technology confident and competent individuals. Alexandra Brown, Director of Curriculum and a bonafide female technology professional, is responsible for K-12 STEM curriculum and content development. Since beginning her career at the company in 2016, she has taught herself various technologies and programming skills from 3D printing and game design. As a former teacher, Alexandra also functions as a teacher ambassador for STEM Fuse customers; aggregating feedback from teachers across the globe and synthesizing their feedback into high quality STEM curricula
Alexandra believes that women bring many valuable skills to the field. “I’ve learned that creativity and problem-solving are incredibly valuable skills – no matter what industry you intend to work in. Women bring a vital perspective to all areas of STEM and our voices are an essential piece of the process. My hope is that my experiences influence our curricula and inspire other girls to pursue a future in STEM.” — says Alexandra
She also led STEM Fuse’s product development updates on the GAME:IT series, which are full semester courses on game programming and design. “We need more women inspiring and developing the games of our future,” Alexandra said. “With recent popular video games featuring female leads like Horizon Zero Dawn and Overwatch, we can clearly see that celebrating women and diversity leads to major success in the game design world. Female game designers have so much to offer in this industry and I’m excited to see how our GAME:IT courses inspire the next generation of female game designers.”
Alexandra is not the only female STEM enthusiast at the company. Stephanie Spaan, Regional Sales Manager and Director of Professional Development at STEM Fuse, is passionate about helping schools integrate STEM into their core curriculum areas as well as helping teachers provide highly engaging course materials.
Stephanie embodies the company’s motto of “Curricula by Teachers, For Teachers.” Formerly an elementary, middle school, and University instructor, Stephanie enjoys the comradery of working with teachers all across verticals to help students become more creative and better problem solvers. Whether she is working at an elementary school in a makerspace, or assisting high school students with web design, Stephanie prefers the classroom environment over a typical 9 to 5 desk job.
With women like Alexandra Brown and Stephanie Spann as part of the company’s leadership team, it's no surprise that STEM Fuse has joined the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence, in supporting the Aspirations in Computing Award Program as a Champion Partner who is actively leading the charge for gender equity in tech and the state institution’s #MNGirlsDisruptTECH initiative.
Success stories of STEM Fuse’s impact in the classroom are being echoed across the state. Just last year the company’s influence in at a local Minnesota high school computer literacy course inspired a young woman, Julia Nelson-Troska, a Hutchinson High School senior, to pursue a future in tech by applying for the Aspirations in Computing Awards program, which awarded her with a State Honorable Mention trophy. Julia is now a Computer Science major at the Minnesota State University – Duluth campus thanks in part, to her engagement with STEM Fuse’s K-12 STEM curriculum.
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ABOUT STEM FUSE
STEM Fuse is an educational resource provider that specializes in developing web based STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) curriculum. Using gaming and game development as a tool for teachers to instruct technical skills like programming and graphic design as well as teach students problem solving through the engineering design cycle. STEM Fuse is helping schools across the globe attract students to STEM courses and inspire those students to pursue additional STEM related courses, degrees and careers. For more information, visit www.stemfuse.com.
ABOUT ASPIRATIONS IN COMPUTING
The Minnesota Aspirations in Computing (MNAiC) program, an affiliate of the National Center for Women and Information Technology, brings together Minnesota thought leaders from local businesses, along with leaders from the technology sector and community to help young women achieve their computing related educational and career goals. The award program inspires and exposes young women in grades 9 to 12 to I.T. curriculum, training, scholarships, careers and so much more. For more informations, visit Aspirations in Computing Awards.
ABOUT THE MINNESOTA STATE IT CENTER OF EXCELLENCE
Formerly known as Advance IT Minnesota, the MN State – IT Center of Excellence engages employers, educators, technology professionals and learners to develop a more robust IT workforce in Minnesota. A Center of Excellence within the Colleges and Universities of Minnesota State (formerly MnSCU), it is located at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul Midway campus. For more information, visit www.mnstateitcoe.org.