CWU partners up with Real Madrid and Microsoft to create a STEM pipeline into higher education

High school students get the opportunity to learn soccer from Real Madrid coaches.

Courtesy of CWU

High school students get the opportunity to learn soccer from Real Madrid coaches.

Jewels McClure, Staff Reporter

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Creating an environment where the worlds of soccer and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) come together to help low income, middle and high school students reach their goals is what Game On! is all about.

Game On! combines soccer and coding in such a way that the students become mentors to one another. The program is an opportunity for students to continue into higher education and is currently funded by CWU, Microsoft, and Real Madrid foundation.

“Every kid that we’re working with, we’re saying YOU can go to college,” said Manuel Rodriguez, CWU executive director of Game On!. “These kids may not have had anyone to tell them that they can, or [they] may not have any role models in their family or friend circle.”

When asked about the criteria to get into the program, Rodriguez replied that he does not choose the students, the schools choose because they know the students better. The program is centered toward low-income, first-generation students who might be disengaged.

Game On! provides the students with hands-on experience in the STEM field as well as soccer-related field trips. It provides opportunities of a lifetime for students who otherwise may not get a chance to see their capabilities.

This is important because, with two completely different subjects, there is room for growth and leadership. Students who prefer soccer over computer coding may help mentor those who prefer computer coding and vice versa.

“Coding provides a critical thinking, problem solving approach to pretty much anything,” Rodriguez said.

Through Game On!, students are able to learn more about the different aspects of teamwork.

“Using brand name giants to reel [the kids] in, but through the coding and soccer, provide them with skills and values that we instill in them through our activities and sessions such as respect, self-esteem, teamwork, and inclusivity,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez expressed his belief in the kids and is proud of what he and the other partners have accomplished and will continue to accomplish in the lives of these students.

This program is currently on its third year and is involved with six different schools. The purpose of Game On! is to create a pipeline of students who go onto a higher education.

Rodriguez mentioned that the program is looking for sponsors who believe in the program to help with funding. They would like to be able to continue the program as well as expand it and this can be done more successfully with the help of more sponsors.

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CWU partners up with Real Madrid and Microsoft to create a STEM pipeline into higher education