The Spokane Public Schools Foundation (SPSF) recently raised over $42,000 for students in STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Mathematics) programs during an event at the newly renovated Steam Plant.  All money raised by the Foundation goes to grants for innovative and creative student projects throughout the district.

Guest speaker Dr. Bonita Burke, a 1997 graduate of Rogers High School, described her journey from Rogers to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory, where she serves as a Technical Staff Member and is chair of the women’s network of 500 women and staff.

During her speech, Burke talked about how geometry could be used to intercept criminal behavior in law enforcement and to provide analysis to find the ideal location for a New York City hospital. These are examples of what a STEAM education does – combining arts and sciences to develop innovative problem-solving skills.

“I came from Rogers and I know what it is like to come from behind and have to work extra hard to make up for lost opportunities,” Burke said, “but I also know how getting a leg up can make a world of difference in someone’s life.”

Burke said she was eager for SPS students to access the many summer programs offered by MIT, and she encouraged everyone to help Spokane students reach their full potential by donating to the Foundation. She has agreed to do what she can to help facilitate these opportunities, and the SPS Foundation will pay the travel costs for students who are selected for the program.

This first annual STEAM-Powered event was a great partnership of the Spokane Public Schools Foundation, Avista Corp and the Steam Plant. Thank you to major sponsors Numerica, Integrus Architecture, Kaiser Aluminum, the Kalispel Tribe and Wendle Ford.