Archives:

Select:

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

READ FULL STORY

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented communities in the STEM field.

In 2011, Keshia Ashe didn’t know she was starting a business. She just knew she saw a problem.

A graduate student at the time, Ashe was mentoring a group of tenth graders, many of whom were interested in pursuing medical school once they graduated. She reached out to friends in the field but kept hearing a familiar story.

“A lot of my friends said, ‘I can’t come, I’m busy, I don’t have the time to drive an hour to interface with the students,’” Ashe recalls. “At the time, Skype was really starting to gain some traction and not have so many technical difficulties, so my friends would Skype into the classroom to talk to the students. That’s really the nucleation site of ManyMentors. It was me trying to solve a problem with the students I was working directly with.”

ManyMentors is an organization that connects younger people to older people in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, using a hybrid strategy that combines face-to-face monthly mentoring meetings coordinated by onsite chapters with a mobile app that promotes sustained communication between mentors and mentees. In addition to more than 400 onsite mentors at six universities in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York, ManyMentors is opening a cohort of chapters in the D.C. region, with students from University of Maryland, Howard University, George Washington, George Mason University, and more.

How it works

To get started, mentors and mentees create a profile that functions as their application, and complete a questionnaire about their interests. Mentors complete a background check, complete a mentor-mentee agreement, and participate in training. Mentees select the track they are interested in, with subjects ranging through the STEM fields. This data is gathered by ManyMentors to begin the matching process.

In January, ManyMentors hosts an event to bring together all the individuals who have signed up so they can meet each other, gathering their own sense of whether the suggested matches will be good connections for them. From there, monthly events are sponsored through the chapters associated with universities, professional organizations, and other entities with the infrastructure to host and convene face-to-face meetings.

“Every week, on ‘Mentor Mondays,’ mentors receive a prompt to engage with their mentee using a question we send them,” says Ashe, the co-founder and chief executive officer. “That’s what we use to keep them connected in the times when they’re not seeing each other during those once-a-month activities.”

Those monthly activities generally take place during the afterschool hours, because afterschool provides the perfect opportunity for mentors to access and engage with students, offering lots of opportunities to develop relationships and explore new college and career possibilities. 

Plugging into the possibilities

Mentoring is crucial for success in many fields, and STEM is ripe for broader and deeper opportunities for engagement. Youth in communities of concentrated poverty, demographically underrepresented youth, and girls particularly stand to grow and advance if they are supported by professionals and college students who share identity traits with them. Afterschool programs are already doing amazing work supporting those students in other aspects of their development; mentoring of all kinds is a natural next step.

“There’s a psychological aspect of success,” Ashe says. “If you’re a woman or a person of color in certain fields, like engineering or computer science, at some point you will be the only person [in a situation] that identifies as a person with one or both of those identities. I think the other reason this program has had so much success is because people are really drawn to others who have those periods of isolation. Mentoring plays a big role in helping people to have a firmer sense of their identity; to not say, ‘Oh, because I’m the only one here, maybe I don’t belong,’ but shifting that to ‘Okay, even if it’s just me, I’m helping somebody get to this place and walk through these doors’ or ‘I have somebody helping me and I feel connected and not so isolated.’”

When she talks about her star mentee – a member of that inaugural class of tenth graders back in 2010 – Ashe’s voice lights up with excitement and pride.

“She’s from Colombia and at the time she’d been in the U.S. for less than two years and barely spoke English. She has since graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from University of Connecticut, and she worked with me in the lab while I was there. She’s now pursuing her MBA. I introduced her to a young woman who was interested in pursuing chemical engineering who was also from Colombia. My mentee is still mentoring her! I like to highlight her because she’s taken the whole ManyMentors model to heart and I know that she’s doing that with other people as well.”

What's next?

ManyMentors is wrapping the recruitment process for their current year of mentoring, but the organization is growing quickly. Afterschool programs can plug in by creating profiles through the ManyMentors app. Providing the space, structure, and logistical items like transportation make it possible for mentors to engage with students easily, online and off.

Ashe also emphasizes the value of an open mind, when beginning a mentoring initiative. “We’re in a space and time where a lot of organizations and schools are hungry for STEM education. The fact that they’re open and will allow us to come in and do our thing, whether it be in computer science or engineering or biology, makes a huge difference.”

“All of this is about empowerment,” Ashe says. “All of this is about providing a channel to develop confidence and the wherewithal to be active in the STEM space. But it’s also about being in a place and being intentional about growing relationships. When you meet a person this way, you know you might be able to help them one day, or they might be able to help you, but in the meantime, you get to know somebody really cool.”

Renewed commitments to computer science at CSforAll Summit

On October 8, computer science (CS) educators and advocates descended on Detroit, Michigan for the 2018 CSforALL Summit. As part of this year’s summit, a special one-day working session, entitled Mo’ Time for CS Education, was held to bring practitioners, advocates, researchers, and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      10/29/18

It’s not too late to sign up: Afterschool Lab Report October recap!

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this October. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research...

BY: Leah Silverberg      10/23/18

New California “Kids Code” program to expand computer coding in afterschool

The Kids Code Pilot Program, which passed the California Legislature earlier this year and was championed by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, will provide $15 million in funding over three years to expand access to coding in afterschool programs across the state. The pilot program will allow existing...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/21/18

NSF awards funding for convening of afterschool STEM field

Over the last decade, the out-of-school time science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field has expanded rapidly. We have seen substantial growth in not only the numbers of STEM programs, but in the diversity of programming offered. While the availability of a multitude of learning...

BY: Faith Savaiano      08/27/18

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

It’s not too late to sign up: Afterschool Lab Report recap!

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this July. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research in...

BY: Leah Silverberg      07/24/18

Guest blog: Inspiring New Mexico’s Youth STEMbassador program

By Julie Hernandez, STEM Afterschool Expansion VISTA for New Mexico. Science introduced me to a world of possibilities. I see scientists as modern day explorers, discovering worlds we’ve never seen and providing answers to questions we didn’t even know to ask. Science also...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/09/18

From afterschool to electrician

Today, we shine a light on Colby Holmes from New Hope, Alabama. Then a senior in high school, Colby attended the 2017 Afterschool for All Challenge in Washington, D.C. and took the time to tell his story: how his afterschool program has inspired his future career in a STEM field and fueled his...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/11/18

Maker Mart in Roanoke puts the tools to learn in students’ hands

At the Maker Mart in Roanoke, Virginia, students in safety glasses guide hissing handsaws across two-by-fours of pale wood. At a work table nearby, drill bits peel out pencil-shavings from a tube of wood, opening up holes to fit the screws for a student’s new design – a handmade chair...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/13/18

Guest blog: 33 boys. Zero girls.

By Jothi Ramaswamy, founder and CEO of ThinkSTEAM. “33 boys. Zero girls.” Four words. That’s all it took to transform my 13 year old perspective on society. I was talking with my brother over dinner when he iterated this gender ratio in his undergraduate C++ coding...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/29/18

Education Innovation and Research grant provides opportunities for student apprenticeships

Eighteen new grantees were recently awarded Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grants from the Department of Education. Developed under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), EIR grants, which are inspired by the Investing in...

BY: Leah Silverberg      11/05/18

Renewed commitments to computer science at CSforAll Summit

On October 8, computer science (CS) educators and advocates descended on Detroit, Michigan for the 2018 CSforALL Summit. As part of this year’s summit, a special one-day working session, entitled Mo’ Time for CS Education, was held to bring practitioners, advocates, researchers, and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      10/29/18

New California “Kids Code” program to expand computer coding in afterschool

The Kids Code Pilot Program, which passed the California Legislature earlier this year and was championed by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, will provide $15 million in funding over three years to expand access to coding in afterschool programs across the state. The pilot program will allow existing...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/21/18

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

What the FY19 budget request does, and doesn’t do, for STEM learning

On February 12, the White House released its FY19 budget request. As expected, it reiterated much of the FY18 request, including deep cuts to and elimination of many discretionary programs. This year’s request was made more confusing due to the congressional budget deal reached just days...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      02/22/18

Stay informed about STEM with the Afterschool STEM Hub newsletter

Brought to you by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the Afterschool Lab Report is dedicated to continuously providing advocates with the tools they need to make the case for out-of-school time STEM learning. The Afterschool Lab Report is sent each quarter,...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/22/18

Wrapping up the 2017 CS Ed Week

Computer Science Education Week (CS Ed Week) 2017 was an exciting time for the Afterschool Alliance and the CS education community at large. The Afterschool Alliance shared key resources for afterschool computer science throughout the week, including: “Connecting to computer science: A...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      12/15/17

Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet...

BY: Melissa Ballard      12/08/17

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/07/17

New commitments to equity, engagement at the CSforALL Summit

“Power is the ability to write and author the American story… and that requires ambition to be nurtured; it requires the administration of an infrastructure that can do this.” These words come from Dr. Kamau Bobb of Georgia Institute of Technology, explaining how institutes of...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      10/20/17

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

Guest blog: Inspiring New Mexico’s Youth STEMbassador program

By Julie Hernandez, STEM Afterschool Expansion VISTA for New Mexico. Science introduced me to a world of possibilities. I see scientists as modern day explorers, discovering worlds we’ve never seen and providing answers to questions we didn’t even know to ask. Science also...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/09/18

Guest blog: 33 boys. Zero girls.

By Jothi Ramaswamy, founder and CEO of ThinkSTEAM. “33 boys. Zero girls.” Four words. That’s all it took to transform my 13 year old perspective on society. I was talking with my brother over dinner when he iterated this gender ratio in his undergraduate C++ coding...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/29/18

Storytelling & mentoring can bring STEM's Hidden Figures into the spotlight

By Allyson Kennedy, a scientist, educator, and STEM advocate. Allyson received her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016 and is now working to broaden participation in computing education through an AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellowship at the National...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/26/18

Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet...

BY: Melissa Ballard      12/08/17

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/07/17

New commitments to equity, engagement at the CSforALL Summit

“Power is the ability to write and author the American story… and that requires ambition to be nurtured; it requires the administration of an infrastructure that can do this.” These words come from Dr. Kamau Bobb of Georgia Institute of Technology, explaining how institutes of...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      10/20/17

It’s not too late to sign up: Afterschool Lab Report recap!

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this July. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research in...

BY: Leah Silverberg      07/24/18

Overdeck Family Foundation renews efforts to support STEM learning

Updated March 2 to include a quote from Overdeck Family Foundation Program Officier Brian Carter.  Advancing supportive afterschool policies, regardless of the focus area, requires a collaborative, multi-pronged approach. As such, we are delighted to continue our partnership...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      01/26/18

3 must-read articles from Connected Science Learning

Are you interested in collaborations that bridge out-of-school and in-school STEM learning? Check out the new peer-reviewed online journal, Connected Science Learning, a project from the National Science Teachers Association and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. Connected...

BY: Leah Silverberg      02/21/17

What are you doing for Computer Science Education Week?

This December 5-11, join the Afterschool Alliance in celebrating the importance of computer science education for all kids for the 2016 Computer Science Education Week. Planning an Hour of Code with your students and participating in our tweet chat is a great way to start! Plan an Hour of...

BY: Melissa Ballard      11/21/16