Global Company Calls Stamford ‘Perfect City to Launch’ its STEM for Children Program in the United States



STAMFORD – U.S. Representative Jim Himes, D-Conn., Said his earliest memory was in the summer of 1969. He was only 3 years old, but Himes remembers when Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon.

“So here I am, watching on a tiny little black and white television, and I watched a human being walk on the moon,” Himes asked a group of children in Mill River Park on Friday. “Why did this happen? “

“Science!” the children responded.

“Science!” Himes said. “It happened because a lot of young people were as inspired as I was when I saw it happen.”

Himes and the students gathered on Friday as Henkel, which has offices in downtown Stamford, officially launched its Researchers’ World program in the United States. The international company’s brands include Dial soap, Purex laundry detergent and Snuggle fabric softener.

The program aims to introduce 8-10 year olds to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. It started in 2011 in Germany, where Henkel is based, and has expanded to other parts of Europe as well as South America, Asia and the Middle East, according to the company website.

Stamford is the first American city to host the program.

“Henkel has operations all over the United States, why Stamford? Said Jenny Schiavone, vice president of corporate communications for the Americas at Henkel. “Stamford is a perfect city to launch this program because it is a snapshot of the world. This creates the right environment to launch and grow our program and serve more children in more communities for years to come. “

To take the program to new places, Schiavone said Henkel is looking for “a community partner who has expertise in reaching children.” In this case, the company has partnered with the Mill River Park Collaborative and the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

On Friday, a small group of children wearing masks participated in a workshop that taught them about sustainability and included an experiment with small solar panels.

There will be two more free workshops this summer – one on “the natural world of adhesives” and another on “how humans and animals have skin and hair that play vital functions in their lives,” according to the Mill River Park Collaborative website.

Arthur Selkowitz, president of the collaboration, said the downtown park provided “the perfect environment for learning.”

At the park on Friday, a dozen tables were set up in front of the merry-go-round. From their seats at the tables, the children could gaze at the grass and see a row of trees.

“I think by the end of the day, Professor Trent will have made all of you sustainability ambassadors and sent you on a career in science around the world,” said Selkowitz, referring to Trent McCann, who manages the educational programming of the collaborative.

Children need hands-on learning after spending so much time learning virtually because of COVID-19, said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who was also on site.

Additionally, Bysiewicz noted that “STEM-related jobs are the highest paying jobs you can get,” although women are underrepresented in these areas.

“So, are we going to change that, young ladies?” Said Bysiewicz.

She had a loud “Yes!” of a girl who listened.

Mayor David Martin said more programs like Henkel’s are needed.

“We’ve seen, going into this pandemic, how many people in this country don’t understand what science is and how it works and anything else,†said Martin, who has two degrees from the Massachusetts Institute. of Technology.


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