Paula Garcia Todd showing a cloud in a bottle to a group of students.

64 Selected for New STEM Professional School Partnership Program (SPSP)

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jon Waterhouse, Lenz, Inc., 678.770.9561, [email protected]
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64 Educators and STEM Professionals Selected for Science ATL’s New STEM Professional School Partnership Program (SPSP)

IF/THEN and Science ATL Partner To Create Year-Long Program For Local Atlanta Schools and STEM Entities To Enrich Science Education

September 18, 2020 (Atlanta, GA)Science ATL, in partnership with IF/THEN®, a national initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies® which seeks to advance women in STEM, announced today they are launching “STEM Professional School Partnership Program” (SPSP). This new program, partially funded through a grant from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) IF/THEN Ambassadors program, was created to enrich science education in classrooms around metro Atlanta.

Paula Garcia Todd showing a cloud in a bottle to a group of students.

IF/THEN Ambassador Paula Garcia Todd

“Now more than ever, our schools need the community’s support,” says Jordan Rose, executive co-director of Science ATL. “Instead of one-and-done classroom visits by scientists, the SPSP program fosters stronger partnerships by cultivating repeated interactions and longer-term relationships between schools and STEM companies and universities. The result will be schools’ increased capacity for STEM partnerships, and more meaningful exposure to STEM topics and careers for students.”

Co-founded by Science ATL and Atlanta-based AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador Paula Garcia Todd, SPSP pairs 32 STEM professionals to 32 K-12 schools in Atlanta for a year of monthly interactions, reaching more than 10,000 students and creating a flexible framework to strengthen long-term STEM partnerships. The participating schools come from eight metro Atlanta school districts (Atlanta, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Marietta City, and Rockdale), and include elementary, middle, and high schools. For a complete list of participants, see To help more students see themselves as future STEM professionals, the program has recruited a diverse group of scientists and engineers, including 63% women, 53% Black/African-American, and 16% Hispanic/Latinx STEM professionals.

Each educator and STEM professional pair will implement 7-10 classroom or school engagement activities that support the STEM efforts within the selected schools. These efforts will be guided by goals centered around school needs and the resources the STEM professional can leverage from their personal/professional networks. The program supports participants through monthly newsletters, quarterly professional development webinars, and a supply budget to support partnership activities including reimbursement for field trip travel and activity supplies.

“We are excited to introduce students to the many everyday applications of STEM, and to positive role models who are improving their communities through their STEM skills,” says Paula Garcia Todd, AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador and Global Strategic Manager, DuPont. “While we hope students will be inspired to pursue a STEM career, we are confident the program will create more curious problem solvers and lifelong learners, ready to tackle tomorrow’s challenges.”

The AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassador program brings together 125 women from a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers to serve as high-profile role models for middle school girls. STEM professionals use their skills in many fields – including research and development, sports and recreation, finance, fashion, gaming, engineering and manufacturing, entertainment, healthcare, retail, music, and more. More information can be found by visiting

To find out more about the STEM Professional School Partnership Program, visit

Science ATL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people together through the wonder of science. Through public events and community programs, Science ATL fosters a love of science, builds community around science, and enables equitable access to science learning opportunities. The mission began in 2014 with the Atlanta Science Festival, co-founded by Emory University, Georgia Tech, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber. This annual two-week event, presented by Delta Air Lines, has brought science programming to more than 250,000 people in metro Atlanta. Additional Science ATL initiatives increase public interest in and appreciation of science in Atlanta with easy access points to science, technology, engineering and math throughout the year. More at

IF/THEN® is part of Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ commitment to fund game-changing advancements in science and nature. IF/THEN® seeks to further advance women in STEM by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers. Rooted in a firm belief that there is no better time to highlight positive and successful female professional role models, IF/THEN® is designed to activate a culture shift among young girls to open their eyes to STEM careers by: (1) funding and elevating women in STEM as role models, (2) convening cross-sector partners in entertainment, fashion, sports, business and academia to illuminate the importance of STEM everywhere, and (3) inspiring girls with better portrayals of women in STEM through media and learning experiences to pique their interest in STEM careers. To learn more, visit or follow IF/THEN® on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Lyda Hill Philanthropies encompasses the charitable giving of founder Lyda Hill who believes that “science is the answer” to life’s most challenging issues and is committed to funding transformational advances in science and nature. To learn more, visit

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