The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

2C STEM: Empowering youth through curated STEM programs

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Photo Courtesy of Carine Suherman
The magnet car station involved a hands-on teaching experience to engage kids.

It is no secret that as our world grows more dependent on technology and artificial intelligence, the relevance of STEM education has grown in tandem, even among the youngest children. In the summer of 2022, then-sophomore Carine Suherman and her sister, then-senior Calista Suherman, decided to be a part of this change.

2C STEM, a 501(c)(3) organization, aims to empower youth through its STEM programs. In the past year and a half, the organization held bi-monthly sessions at the Burlingame, Millbrae, San Mateo, and San Francisco Public Libraries. In these sessions, kids build critical thinking skills and familiarity with STEM through a hands-on teaching style. Subjects like magnetism, energy, coding and motor function are taught with self-experimentation and friendly competition. The instructors often guide the kids in the right direction, but the main focus is creating a fun, yet self-paced learning environment.

Initially, the program was run by Carine’s sister, Calista, but Carine started managing operations to expand her legacy. The program was an opportunity to spread her love for STEM and expand her business and organizational skills.

“We [wanted] to start something together where we could leave a lasting impact,” Carine said. “I’m interested in business, so I was also [thinking about] what can I learn from starting an organization, and being able to manage volunteers, teams and events.”

When Calista graduated, Carine was left to run 2C STEM on her own. Although this change wasn’t drastic, as she had been in charge of operations for a while, Carine needed more volunteers. Luckily for her, two of her close friends, juniors Sofia LaBonte and Billy Song were willing to help.

“Carine was studying math with Billy [and I]. She had one of her meetings, and invited us to help out,” LaBonte said. “We kind of joined informally studying for math together, but it just went [on] from there.”

While Suherman is still the organizer, Labonte and Song have offered immense help. Having more volunteers keeps engagement up during sessions.

“Carine usually plans it because she’s the one that organizes it,” Song said, “We [still] have to come an hour to half an hour early to set up the materials.”

With the help of Labonte, Song and other volunteers, 2C STEM hit success that the Suhermans never envisioned. Originally, commitment was minimal — the program held sessions once every other month at the Burlingame community center. But this year, sessions have increased to twice a month and the program spread to Millbrae, San Mateo and most recently, South San Francisco.

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  • Junior Isabella Song managed the math station at 2C STEM’s event at the South San Francisco Grand Opening event.

  • 2C STEM hosts bimonthly activities at various libraries across San Mateo County. One of their activities was a Scratch workshop that taught kids basic computer programming functions.

In November, 2C STEM hosted one of its largest events at South San Francisco Library’s grand opening. They set up an interactive walk-through station featuring aspects of STEM categories: technology, engineering, art and math.

The grand opening event featured an invisible ink station, magnet cars, a Makey Makey kit, brush bots and a math maze. These stations gave the kids hands-on experiences. To make a “brush bot,” kids created a miniature robot attached to a brush, which would move around with a vibrating motor. Kids also made magnet-powered cars and watched their inventions come to life.

The banana piano was the most popular.

“We saw interest from even adults, [not just] kids,” Carine said. “We basically just plugged in a bunch of alligator clips to bananas and connected it to a computer. You could touch the banana and it would produce sound.”

Throughout the three-hour event, there was a continuous flood of people coming in, with over 300 kids and adults cycling through their stations. The event was not only noteworthy, but a culmination of the years of effort Suherman and her volunteers put into the program.

2C STEM’s program is not just about educating youth in STEM — it’s about spreading passion and forging a positive relationship with STEM early on.

“They’re our next generation of innovative thinkers and they have a lot ahead of them,” Carine said. “What I can do today is to make sure every kid is leaving our event happy.”

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About the Contributor
Evelyn Du, Staff Reporter
Evelyn Du is a sophomore at Burlingame High School and a first-year journalism student. She can’t wait to learn more about her community and contribute to the school newspaper. Outside of school, she enjoys playing tennis, hanging with friends, watching movies, and baking with her sister. Throughout the year, she hopes to improve her interpersonal skills while interviewing and is so excited to be apart of journalism.
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