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New issue brief: Partnerships with STEM-Rich Institutions

By Melissa Ballard

Boys & Girls Club youth run a dry ice experiment with their university mentors in the award-winning afterschool program Science Club. 

Afterschool programs have long partnered with other youth-serving and community organizations to better meet the needs of their students.  As interest and momentum grow around STEM programming in afterschool, partnerships become increasingly important in offering high-quality, hands-on STEM experiences for youth. 

Our latest issue brief, Partnerships with STEM-Rich Institutions, demonstrate several models of how afterschool programs are partnering with STEM-rich institutions like science centers and museums, universities and colleges, business and industry, and government agencies.  The brief highlights the strengths of each type of STEM-rich partner and describes their potential contributions to afterschool programs.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Universities and colleges have undergraduate and graduate students who can work consistently with youth in a mentoring role, sharing their expertise in STEM content.  Several programs described in the brief use university students.
  • Science centers and museums can translate their experience in informal science education into professional development for afterschool educators. The issue brief describes how LEAP into Science at the Franklin Institute structures its training model.
  • Science centers and museums can also engage older youth by providing work experience through career ladders within their institutions. EVOLUTIONS afterschool program at the Yale Peabody Museum is described within the brief.
  • STEM businesses have a wealth of enthusiastic employees willing to share their knowledge and career experience. The issue brief includes a few programs that utilize these STEM professionals in different ways.

...Read more about each example in the issue brief

One afterschool program detailed in the issue brief, Science Club, is the 2013 winner of our Afterschool STEM Impact Awards in the “Partnerships” category.  Science Club, a partnership between Northwestern University and the Boys & Girls Club, successfully demonstrated how the strengths and contributions of each partner combine to provide an impactful experience for youth.  Several other strong programs that applied for the award are also featured in the issue brief, including those mentioned above.

In December, we’ll release another STEM-themed issue brief on computing and engineering in afterschool.  Stay tuned!

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