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Smart Buddies™ and STEM Ecosystems

Their aim is the same: workforce equity, diversity acceptance, and acquisition of coding experiences

Published October 22, 2019

CLEVELAND, OH (October 22, 2019) – STEM Learning Ecosystems are forming strong alliances between business and education across the country with a goal of cultivating a technically astute future workforce through inclusion and the embracing of diversity. Smart Buddies™ is now part of that mission.

(Printable PDF)

A unique new coding solution accompanied by a curriculum that focuses on increasing diversity awareness for third- to fifth-grade students throughout the US, Smart Buddies was introduced this week during the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice Convening in Cleveland, Ohio.

"We must recognize and celebrate inclusion and diversity, especially in the classroom where young minds are being shaped and prepared for an unknown future," said SmartGurlz™ CEO Sharmi Albrechtsen, creator of Smart Buddies, which are available from Pitsco Education. "Getting young people curious and excited about STEM and their eventual opportunities in the workforce is a primary aim of Smart Buddies and STEM Learning Ecosystems."

According to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, 2.4 million STEM jobs went unfilled in 2018. One way to close that gap is to ensure every student has the opportunity to learn, practice, and embrace STEM knowledge and skills, particularly at a young age.

Toward that end, nearly 90 STEM Ecosystems have formed across the US and even internationally. STEM Ecosystems were identified in a December 2018 federal report as the top strategy for improving STEM literacy, ensuring a strong workforce and global competitiveness for all, and an important means to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in a thriving STEM workforce.

Pitsco Education and Smart Buddies announced at the convening the donation of Smart Buddies classroom packs. Each young lady honored as a Girl Living STEM will pick an elementary school within their STEM Ecosystem area to receive one of the Smart Buddies classroom packs.

Smart Buddies has been created with a diverse set of relatable characters, or buddies, on self-balancing, programmable scooters called Siggys to enable learners to better envision themselves working in STEM and coding careers. With a focus on storytelling, the coding solution leverages the Smart Buddies app, where students are first introduced to their buddies – different role models who have interests in science, engineering, and the arts. These characters address systemic and personal issues such as diversity, race, gender difference, and conflict resolution.

Students are then exposed to the basics of block-based coding by controlling the movements of their characters on their Siggys. Exercises include problem-solving techniques that cover fundamental coding concepts such as sequences, loops, events, conditionals, functions, and variables.

"The computational thinking that comes from learning to code, especially in elementary school, benefits every student, regardless of the career they eventually choose," said Pitsco Vice President of Education Matt Frankenbery. "Having employees who can identify and solve problems in the workplace, regardless of the topic, is invaluable to any company or organization. Smart Buddies is an amazing avenue to open the eyes of our future workforce!"

Smart Buddies are available for purchase in customizable four-packs throughout the US, exclusively through Pitsco Education at



  • Click to Tweet: Smart Buddies™, a hands-on coding and robotics solution using characters to address systemic and personal issues such as diversity, race, gender, and conflict resolution, shares mission with STEM Learning Ecosystems. @pitscoed @STEMecosystems @SmartGurlzWorld
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Contact: Tom Farmer, Communications Manager, Pitsco Education, 800-828-5787,

Pitsco Education is the leading provider of hands-on K-12 STEM solutions. STEM education prepares learners for the future through the integration of science, technology, engineering, and math concepts using relevant hands-on applications to connect school, community, and work.

SmartGurlz is a STEM education and entertainment company whose flagship product is a line of friendly, self-balancing robots and action figures that engage and encourage girls to learn code. Connected via smartphone or tablet, SmartGurlz allows girls six and up to immerse themselves in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). SmartGurlz inspires the female leaders of tomorrow, today.

“You can go in there on any given day and there’ll be a child who has a learning disability or a child who doesn’t speak English – we have just the whole range here – and they’ll be successful in that STEM lab.”

– Jay Parker, principal, Wallace Elementary School, Wallace, North Carolina

We enable young learners to develop the mind-set, skill set, and tool set needed for future success.

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