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Local Long Valley Teen Wins $500 for World-Changing Efforts

Tuesday, 25 June 2013 11:43, a national not-for-profit organization that helps young people change the world, announced this week that Samantha Rizzuto, age sixteen, was named a 2013 Seed Grant winner. This grant will help fund STEM-CAM’s efforts to spark an interest in young students, especially girls, in subjects related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). 

“It’s important for America’s youth to foster a passion for STEM, since it will have a strong influence on our country’s future,” said Rizzuto, “When I heard my program, STEM—CAM, was the recipient of a $500 grant from, I was so excited. I plan on using the grant money for equipment, such as microscopes, which will help me inspire students to take part in STEM.”

sam2STEM-CAM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through building Confidence, Changing Attitudes, and Mentoring) was founded by Rizzuto in 2012. She will be a junior at the Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering this fall. While Rizzuto always excelled and enjoyed math and science, many of her friends said "I just can’t do it." This statement perplexed Rizzuto and inspired her to show students who struggled in STEM-related subjects how much fun STEM is. She decided to target a younger age group, so the students she teaches won’t grow up with the “I just can’t” mentality. This was the birth of STEM-CAM. Through STEM-CAM, Rizzuto, along with several other mentors, has been able to present science lessons to student’s between the ages of five and twelve at local libraries. Each lesson consists of hands-on activities and encourages students to observe and question. Through this approach, Rizzuto hopes to instill a passion for STEM in young students and in turn raise the percentage of young American students entering STEM fields. 

Historically, America’s ingenuity for invention and innovation has strengthened our economic growth, global competitiveness, and our standard of living. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one million new STEM-related jobs will become available this year, but only two hundred thousand American college graduates will be qualified to fill these positions. 

“You are doing a great thing here. We are all very proud of you and are certain you have a very bright and exciting future ahead of you,” said Fadila Gathers, parent of a student participating in STEM-CAM. 

sam3Seed Grants, awarded by, could be put toward project ideas and programs that are just getting started or to jump-start a program and realize ideas for the first time. These grants could also be put toward projects that are already developed and sustainable, and toward the next steps of projects and organizations to help you as you look to expand your program and grow your impact. is one of the largest funders directly to young people in the U.S. The grant winners, age twenty-five and younger, are chosen based on overall impact and creativity.  

For more information about the Do Something Grants, go to To find out more about Rizzuto's project, go to 

About is one of the largest organizations in the U.S. that helps young people rock causes they care about. A driving force in creating a culture of volunteerism, is on track to activate two million young people in 2011. By leveraging the web, television, mobile, and pop culture, inspires, empowers, and celebrates a generation of doers: teenagers who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action. Plug in at has helped STEM-CAM with its endeavors to inspire young students to pursue STEM related fields. Being a recipient of the Seed Grant means STEM-CAM, a not-for-profit organization, will be able to pay for equipment that will aide mentors and encourage young students to love the sciences. 

Written by: Samantha Rizzuto