“The Center of Innovation … gives me opportunities to learn and do activities that are fun, but also challenging, expanding my STEM skills, exploring different technologies and innovating cool things,” she said.
Specifically, Waterton enjoys honing her art skills on the COI’s Wacom Art tablet, a tool commonly used by professional graphic artists.
“It’s really cool to experience this [Wacom tablet] at such a young age,” Waterton said. “It’s like I’m this big artist when I’m really starting my path.”
The tablet is among a variety of new equipment purchased for the center, all part of Raytheon Technologies $10 million pledge to support military families and veterans by providing educational resources. Other equipment includes two personal computers, robotics, STEM kits, 3D printers, a green screen and a mix of additional STEM-enhancing activities.
“It’s a natural good fit and it make sense, and I’m just excited that Raytheon Technologies and Boys & Girls Clubs [of America] can come together in this partnership to provide that environment and opportunity for all children from all walks of life,” said Randy McIntire, a director for Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business.
McIntire, a 35-year Army veteran, intimately understands the significance of COIs.
“We lived on military installations, so I know the value of having programs like this, as a father of four children that took part in these kinds of activities. It takes a community to make it better for our children,” McIntire said.
The center celebrated its grand opening with a STEM Learning Day. Hands-on activities such as smart remote-control cars and DIY experiments with slime, art supplies and more, took center stage during the event.