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First Lady Gianforte encourages young Montanans in STEM, reading

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News from the office of Governor Gianforte

HELENA — Advancing her initiatives as Montana’s first lady, Susan Gianforte recently traveled to Kalispell and Townsend to recognize the exceptional work of Montanans promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and boosting literacy.

“As I thought about causes near to my heart, education stood above the rest,” First Lady Gianforte said. “Every Montana child should have access to the resources they need to learn, grow, and thrive. That’s why I’m focused on promoting STEM education and boosting literacy for young Montanans.”

Earlier this month, the first lady visited Townsend Elementary School to learn more about its innovative work to incorporate STEM education into the curriculum and promote literacy. 

The first lady sat in on a first-grade class and spoke with students about the importance of STEM education.

During the class, students read “The Three Little Pigs.” Then, using their budding STEM skills, they built a house with toothpicks and Dots for an imaginary pig. Their challenge was to build it sturdy enough to withstand the wrath of the huffing and puffing Big Bad Wolf, played by their teacher’s hairdryer.

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see Townsend schools utilizing STEM to help their students learn how to solve complex problems and boost their confidence,” First Lady Gianforte added.

In honor of National Coding Week, the first lady last week honored young women in Code Girls United, an after-school computer science program, who were semifinalists in a recent international coding competition.

The members placed in the competition for the development of two separate apps. The first, called “Found,” was created by Isabelle Ashley, Emma Anderson, and Makayla Davenport to combat human trafficking and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons crisis. The second, called “Communication Station,” was created by Kiara Van Slayke, Maryn Hobby, Peyton Norris, and Evangeline McCormick to help children make friends through nonverbal communication.

The first lady presented the young women with a Spirit of Montana award for their achievements and positive impact on their peers.

Promoting and expanding access to STEM education, particularly for girls and students in our rural communities, and boosting literacy to empower more Montana children are the first lady’s initiatives.

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