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Today, iBIO announced that Horizon Therapeutics, a global biopharmaceutical company, has made a donation to support iBIO’s Charitable Programs working to diversify the STEM talent pipeline. The donation will support two main programs focused on increasing interest in STEM in underserved communities for girls grades 3-8.

Recently released studies about STEM education by Microsoft in partnership with KRC Research found that despite the high priority that is place on STEM in schools, efforts to expand female interest in STEM are not working as well as intended. iBIO’s two programs, StellarGirls and STEMGirls camps are focused on addressing this challenge by providing inclusive programs for girls grades 3-8 focused on engaging hands on activities, exposure to influential female leaders in STEM careers, and real world examples of how STEM is used.

StellarGirls was founded in 2011 and introduces girls to “Big Ideas” in STEM fields. Through weekly hands-on activities, students explore how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are used to feed, fuel, heal and save the world. The program seeks to diversify the STEM pipeline by focusing recruitment on underrepresented minority girls in high-needs schools and school districts. Since 2011, over 2100 girls have participated in Stellar Girls programming.

“We track the effect of camp on girls’ interest and enthusiasm in STEM subjects through pre and post-surveys and reflection journals.” Ann Vogel, senior vice president for charitable programs at iBIO, “Each year campers demonstrate significantly increased positive feelings about science activities and report that they are much more likely to want to work in a science job after attending camp.”

Horizon’s donation will support the development of program resources for delivery on a digital platform, including: activity training videos for teachers, video career speakers, monthly school contests, support and special content for teachers, and integration of Art into STEM activities or “STEAM”.

STEMGirls Camp was launched in 2016, as a 5-day summer camp aimed at sparking an interest in STEM in girls grades 3-8. STEMgirls camps are held annually in Red Bud, IL and Waukegan, IL. Each camp offers fun hands-on activities, field trips and networking with local business and industry partners.

Horizon’s support for the STEMGirls Camp supports the camps operations and provides Horizon’s employees with volunteer opportunities to deliver program content, lead field trips and participate in the STEM Fair and Family Day, encouraging girls to share their excitement about STEM and information about STEM education and careers with family members.

“Innovative STEM programs inspired an early passion for science and offered diverse experiences that helped shaped my career,” said Shao-Lee Lin, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president, research and development and chief scientific officer at Horizon Therapeutics. “It is a privilege to bestow the same opportunities through Horizon’s support and recognition that programs like iBIO’s StellarGirls and STEMGirls Camp provide this next generation the ability to answer the challenges of tomorrow and to see new possibilities.”