GYSTC and AT&T Support Georgia Students Throughout COVID-19 with Remote STEM Learning

Staff Report

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

With so many K-8 students in Georgia attending classes remotely this fall, Georgia Youth Science & Technology Center (GYSTC) is delivering virtual learning field trip experiences free of charge to Georgia public, private, charter and homeschoolers. A $50,000 from the AT&T Foundation is allowing GYSTC to enhance and expand STEM Camp offerings through virtual field trips to 200,000 underserved students from across the state. 

GYSTC Discover Georgia STEM Camp is a virtual exciting learning experience for bright, forward-thinking (grades K-8) students who will evolve into our next generation of science innovators, engineers, health and Information Technology (IT) professionals. Now, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic which has placed limitations on schools providing traditional in-class learning experiences for students, GYSTC Discover Georgia STEM Camp is offering pre-recorded camp videos to facilitate virtual field trips during the 2020-2021 school year. 

“Through the support of dedicated community stewards like AT&T, GYSTC is better positioned to support our Georgia students, especially now when it is needed most,” said State Representative Matthew Gambill. “The global pandemic has presented challenges for so many, and it’s great to see our amazing learning centers like GYSTC quickly adapting to help young and curious minds further STEM learning and explore STEM-careers associated with Georgia’s industries.” The virtual field trip sessions will be facilitated until December 2020, and the virtual camp videos will extend through May 2021. 

“Our Georgia communities continue to grapple with unprecedented challenges amidst the global pandemic. Now, more than ever before, connecting people with the resources they need to maintain a sense of normalcy is paramount,” said Don Barbour, AT&T Regional Director of External Affairs. “We are proud to work with GYSTC to provide STEM learning experiences and innovative, virtual resources. Supporting our Georgia students, families and teachers has never been more important.”

These virtual field trips – led by GYSTC science-expert teachers – will allow these students the opportunity to learn about STEM applications used in some of Georgia’s leading industries while engaging in challenging activities using a digital platform. The Discover Georgia Camp lessons are published on the GYSTC website and available to all teachers and students free of charge.  

"We are thrilled that AT&T, our long-time partner in supporting STEM education for Georgia students, has made this generous contribution. Through videos located on the GYSTC website and newly scheduled virtual field trips, a new cohort of youngsters will be able to experience virtual in-classroom learning featuring STEM excursions into a variety of indoor and outdoor locales that occurred earlier this year,” said Betsy Green, Executive Director of GYSTC. “AT&T"s contribution makes extended access to these science adventures available to an even wider audience. We are deeply grateful that their sponsorship of GYSTC and its important programs remains firm in these unprecedented times."

The GYSTC virtual learning activities are aligned to the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) and are optimized to reach students in all learning environments including on smart phones and tablets. The GYSTC virtual field trips are ideal solutions for the many local school districts hybrid of distance and traditional in-class learning models currently being implemented. 

Since 1989, GYSTC have served over 2.5 million students, teachers, administrators and parents across Georgia. GYSTC provides services to an average of 105 school districts annually and currently operates with 10 regional centers and programs. Georgia school systems utilize our services on a volunteer basis, and we maintain a retention rate of over 85% for school systems.  We have Centers and programs located at the following locations: Kennesaw State University, Georgia Cancer Center-Augusta University, ABAC-Bainbridge, East Georgia State College, Gordon State College, Georgia Highlands College, Lanier Technical College, Southern Regional Technical College, Mercer University, Georgia Southwestern University, University of West Georgia, and Northeast RESA.