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TGR Foundation keeps youth active and engaged in STEM

November 13, 2020

A 2018 report by the White House Committee on STEM Education and the National Science and Technology Council, reiterated that societal success requires a STEM-literate modern workforce that is adept at navigating an increasingly high-tech, digital and connected world. However, data from a test commonly taken by US college-bound high school students (the ACT) found that only 20% are ready for courses typically required for a STEM major.

Since the start of school closures due to COVID-19, Sport and STEM Alliance member, the TGR Foundation - A Tiger Woods Charity, has pivoted its TGR Learning Lab programs to a complete virtual format while continuing to keep students engaged in learning and active beyond their academic studies.  

“One of the key success factors for us has been the shared expertise and guidance from our internal team as we made the shift to online programming,” said Dr. Katherine Bihr, Vice President of Programs and Education. “Our professional learning and digital teams spent hours designing a training model for the instructional team to develop and navigate an online program that is engaging and interactive for our participants. It has truly been a team effort.” 

Also according to the report, underrepresented racial and ethnic groups make up 27% of the population, but comprise only 11% of the STEM workforce. TGR Learning Lab's Player Development Program, led by Roman Gonzalez, PGA-certified golfer and the TGR Learning Lab’s Director of Golf, exposes underserved youth to golf and helps them improve their skills. 

With the transition to a virtual format, the program launched Fitness at Home, a YouTube series hosted by Roman and his team. With six episodes now live, the series provides short tutorials guiding students through drills to improve components of their game from balance, strength and endurance to developing a consistent golf swing and more.  

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TGR Learning Lab Golf Director, Roman Gonzalez, guides viewers through “The Towel Drill” during a Fitness at Home episode.  

For many golf students, the Player Development Program opened doors to opportunities for exposure to new career pathways, holistic support outside of the classroom and the development of lifelong skills.  

“The entire golf staff at the TGRLL has mentored me in one way or another,” said Nathan Zet, a current TGR Learning Lab student who participated in all classes offered during the summer. “At every class, competition or run-in, they motivate me to do better. It’s thanks to them that I decided to take on golf full-time. It’s one of my favorites because I get to meet new people and catch up with old friends while practicing my golf skills.” 

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Nathan Zet practices golf drills from the TGR Learning Lab during school closures amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. 

In addition to the Fitness at Home series, the TGR Learning Lab also connects athletics to science through Family Design Challenges like the Basketball ShooterBoard Game Design and other activities that can be completed at home with common household items.  

The foundation provides more free STEM and college access resources on its digital platform TGR EDU: Explore, developed in partnership with Discovery Education. For more information on the foundation and its education programs visit TGRFoundation.org.  

Story provided by Jasmine Tate, TGR Foundation - A Tiger Woods Charity 

If you are interested in joining the Sport and STEM Alliance, please click here to learn more

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