NEWARK, NJ - The Newark Museum received $50,000 from Panasonic Corporation of North America for the Explorers Program to prepare Newark-area high school students for college, career, and life.
The Explorers program leverages museum resources and partnerships to provide comprehensive after-school STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) curriculum for rising ninth or 10th-grade students.
“We have the technology partner and the cultural partner,” said Linda Harrsion, director and CEO of the Newark Museum. “Without these types of partnerships, particularly Panasonic, we would not be able to have such a robust Explores program.”
Each year, the program accepts 40 students and exposes them to diverse jobs and fields of study that blend art and science throughout the three or four years until students graduate high school.
Since its inception in 1995, more than 280 students graduated from the Explorers Program. For the past 10 years, all of Explorers graduated high school and attended four-year colleges or universities. In 2018, five seniors out of a class of 13 were offered full scholarships.
Students are paid to participate in the program six hours a week during the school year and 25 hours per week during the summer. Students must also complete at least 30 hours of community service each year.
“Panasonic is proud to align with the Newark Museum in our goal to increase access to STEAM education and help students thrive in a 21st-century economy,” said Alejandra Ceja, executive director, Panasonic Foundation and Office of Corporate Social Responsibility. “Their unique program offers a road map for long-term success, both academically and professionally.”
The program won a National Arts and Humanities Youth award given to institutions using the arts and humanities outside of the school day to build students’ skills, creativity, and self-confidence.
Students in the program referred to as “Explorers,” intern in different areas of the museum and lead self-designed projects for exposure to a variety of fields of study.
A group of students developed wearable technology to improve public speaking for teenagers using on of the museum's art collections as inspiration.
Students created a coat that simulated compression technology to “hug” students and calm them down when they’re feeling nervous during a presentation.
Jessica Nunez, a museum educator and Explorer program coordinator, said the program changed how she views science and STEM careers. She appreciates how the museum features art, science, and employs teenagers.
“I’m thankful that Panasonic has decided to support the Explorer Program,” said Nunez. “When we give a voice to young people, it always amazes me how incredible they are, how they lead and pave the way.”