If you’re an educator, you’re aware that more opportunities to provide STEM courses to your learners would be great.
We talk to hundreds of educators every year and one frustration that comes up all the time is budget. There just doesn’t seem to be enough funding to allow for the purchase of the materials needed to give students hands-on experience in building electronics and working with technology.
One solution is a STEM scholarship, but very few educators know how to go about establishing one.
We created this post to discuss a Maker Portfolio, and how Creation Crate can help you make your own Maker Portfolio in order to achieve the ultimate goal of establishing a STEM scholarship that can be used to fund more STEM programs and encourage growth in your students through hands-on education in electronics and technology.
What is a Maker Portfolio?
First, let’s talk about what a Maker Portfolio is and how it can enable the establishment of a STEM scholarship.
A Maker portfolio is pretty much what it sounds like: a description of a project that you’ve built.
Schools can use Maker portfolios to illustrate to parents what the students are working on, or individual students can create a Maker portfolio to supplement their applications to college.
What’s in a Maker Portfolio?
A Maker Portfolio generally consists of documentation of your work, and a short video in which you explain your concept, show it being built, and answer questions.
That’s it. It’s a big sounding name that really just means ‘explain what and why you did this, and what you liked the most about it.
What Tools Can I Use To Make a Maker Portfolio?
Since a Maker Portfolio is really the crucial bit in generating interest and support for your STEM scholarship, let’s talk more about how to make one that will really stand out.
Here are some pointers for a great Maker Portfolio:
- A text outline that covers the details of your project.
- Diagrams of your initial plans.
- Photographs of project stages and your completed project.
- A video explaining what you are building, and why.
What is an Example of a Maker Portfolio?
Examples of Maker portfolios that have been submitted to undergraduate colleges for admissions purposes can be seen here, on Tuft’s University home page.
Why Donors Love Seeing Maker Portfolios.
Simply put, people love to see where their money will go. When they see children excited about learning invaluable skills in STEM, they’re even more willing to donate.
Do Schools Accept Maker Portfolios?
More universities accept Maker portfolios as part of their admission process. MIT began accepting them in 2013. Tufts soon followed suit. Now, they’re almost everywhere.. Contact the university you’re interested in to find out their rules for submitting Maker portfolios.
How to Create a STEM Scholarship.
Once you have a Maker portfolio, you have something to show people in order to advocate for the establishment of a STEM scholarship. It doesn’t have to be a huge sum of money; even a thousand dollars would go a long way towards supplying STEM materials. Potential donors include local hardware or computer stores looking for promotional opportunities, school alumni, even crowdfunding sites.
In fact, MAKE magazine just featured an article about two brothers, Luke and Adam Iseman, who established a scholarship for their old high school with that exact amount.
How did they do it?
According to the brothers, it was as simple as writing to the school and explaining what they wanted to do with the money. Once their application was in, the school was on board with the plan, excited to encourage students to learn and provide STEM opportunities.
Make magazine donated a subscription to the cause to aid in generating interest, and the donations to the scholarship came in.
Together, they established the Butwin Elias Science and Technology Award, which is designated to go to one applicant.
So you see, it doesn’t have to be a huge scholarship to initiate a difference in a student’s life.
Be sure to approach your learning institution to ensure that you can set up a STEM scholarship and make sure that all the proper paperwork is filled out.
Once you have a good Maker portfolio and the technical aspects taken care of, you can post your portfolio on the school’s website, or provide it to businesses, teachers, and parents who might be interested in donating to the scholarship.
That’s it! It really is that easy to set up a STEM scholarship. If you need help getting started with projects that you can include in a Maker portfolio, remember Creation Crate.
But if you are still not sure about our curriculum, check out some more blogs that include different project ideas you can use for your portfolio.