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Afterschool's role in preparing a STEM Ready America

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Afterschool's role in preparing a STEM Ready America

Afterschool STEM programming shone brightly under the spotlight this week with the release of a research study on outcomes and a compendium of articles presenting research and examples of effective afterschool STEM programming.

STEM Next at the University of San Diego (carrying on the work of the Noyce Foundation) and the Mott Foundation partnered to host an event at the National Press Club on March 1 celebrating afterschool STEM programming and its role in preparing young people for the workforce. Dr. Sylvester James Gates Jr., an extremely distinguished scientist and professor at the University of Maryland gave the keynote address. Dr. Gates was also on President Obama's Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, where he played a key role in advocating for STEM education.  It was in this latter capacity that Dr. Gates discussed his belief in the value of informal and afterschool STEM learning, recognizing that drawing young people into STEM fields is often more of an emotional issue than an intellectual one.

This last point is a special strength of afterschool programs, evident in the findings from an 11-state study conducted by Dr. Gil Noam and his team at Harvard’s PEAR Institute and Dr. Todd Little and his team at Texas Tech University’s Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis, and Policy (IMMAP).  They gathered and analyzed outcomes reported by 1600 students and nearly 150 facilitators in 160 afterschool programs. The data show that afterschool STEM programs substantially increase young people’s interest in STEM fields and STEM careers and can also help students to think of themselves as capable of doing science.  You can read more about these findings.

A lively panel discussion followed this presentation.  Moderated by Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer at U.S. News & World Report, the conversation included Bronwyn Bevan, Senior Researcher at the University of Washington, Jay Flores, an engineer with Rockwell Automation, Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO of Girls Inc., and Rose Wilder, superintendent of Clarendon School District One in South Carolina.  The panelists discussed the critical role of afterschool programs in leveling the playing field for access to STEM education and enrichment opportunities.

Finally, Ron Ottinger, the Director of STEM Next and the former Executive Director of the Noyce Foundation, which oversaw much of the investment in afterschool STEM over the past decade, launched a compendium, STEM Ready America, featuring articles on afterschool STEM from 40 authors. The articles are grouped into three main themes: Evidence for STEM (in afterschool); Partnerships for STEM Learning; and Ensuring Access to Quality STEM. I co-authored one of the papers with Bronwyn, “From Evidence to Policy: The Case for Afterschool.” In this paper, we present the research literature that has long documented the importance of out-of-school settings for engaging young people in STEM and the characteristics of productive programs that yield the best youth outcomes. We follow this discussion with a set of policy recommendations: increase funding to make more high-quality afterschool programs available for those who need it create mechanisms for increased collaboration between in-school and out-of-school educators; and invest in an afterschool STEM research agenda that will help document and understand how STEM learning occurs across time and setting and under what conditions.  There are many compelling papers in this compendium that lay out strategies for increasing access to high-quality afterschool STEM programs.

The research findings combined with the papers in STEM Ready America help to make the clearest case yet for the importance of afterschool STEM programs as vital tools to help all young people prepare for their future.  Keep an eye on STEM Ready America for more research and articles in the coming months!

Congress looks to address United States competitiveness in recent legislative effort

In early May, congress officially took the biggest step in negotiating a competitiveness bill by naming 107 members of congress (26 Senators and 71 House members) to the conference committee charged with reconciling differences between the House’s COMPETES Act and the Senate’s USICA...

BY: Chris Neitzey      07/08/22

May Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

During the month of May, the Million Girls Moonshot celebrates Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month). Our country owes a lot of our success to many hardworking, innovative AAPI computer scientists, engineers, and other STEM professionals. These assets will support Networks and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      05/10/22

April resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month the Million Girls Moonshot celebrates Earth Day and Environmental Education Week! Now is the time for all of us — education, business, and civic leaders — to take action on climate in order to preserve and protect our health, our families, and our livelihoods. To do this, we...

BY: Chris Neitzey      04/26/22

March Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

March marks the beginning of Women’s History month. What was originally known as “Women’s History Week” in 1982, has deservedly transformed over the years into an entire month aimed at recognizing and celebrating the contributions of women in our society, throughout...

BY: Chris Neitzey      03/10/22

Engineer for the Week: Bring free, high-quality STEM learning to your students!

Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do you believe all students should have access to high-quality, cost-free programming where they can develop computer science skills...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      03/03/22

February Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

The Million Girls Moonshot is excited to launch recruitment for the inaugural 2022 Moonshot Flight Crew. They are looking for youth advocates — young scientists, engineers, inventors, builders, and leaders who have been inspired by their experience outside of the school...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/03/22

The Million Girls Moonshot is launching its inaugural Flight Crew!

The Flight Crew is a cohort of youth advocates, ages 13-18, who are committed to creating equity for girls in STEM through elevating youth voices and inspiring future STEM leaders. We are looking for young scientists, engineers, inventors, builders, and leaders who have been inspired by their...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/22

January resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Quality Trainings Audience: For programs and program staff in your state Share with Network STEM Staff, Key Partners, and Program Leaders in your state interested in becoming Dimensions of Success Certified. More information found here. Dimensions of Success (DoS) Certification...

BY: Chris Neitzey      01/14/22

December Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

December brings us the opportunity to reflect on our successes and explore how we might do more as we head into a new year. Below we bring you the December assets from the Million Girls Moonshot, and encourage you to share these resources with your networks and partners. If you are interested in...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/20/21

CyberStart America: A free computer science/cybersecurity program for afterschool

By Kate Straus, National Cyber Scholarship Foundation. The digitized and online world we now live in has revolutionized how we work, seek entertainment, stay informed and connect with each other. Unfortunately, it has also revolutionized how cyber criminals can target us! Whether temporarily...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/03/21

May Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

During the month of May, the Million Girls Moonshot celebrates Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month). Our country owes a lot of our success to many hardworking, innovative AAPI computer scientists, engineers, and other STEM professionals. These assets will support Networks and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      05/10/22

April resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month the Million Girls Moonshot celebrates Earth Day and Environmental Education Week! Now is the time for all of us — education, business, and civic leaders — to take action on climate in order to preserve and protect our health, our families, and our livelihoods. To do this, we...

BY: Chris Neitzey      04/26/22

March Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

March marks the beginning of Women’s History month. What was originally known as “Women’s History Week” in 1982, has deservedly transformed over the years into an entire month aimed at recognizing and celebrating the contributions of women in our society, throughout...

BY: Chris Neitzey      03/10/22

February Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

The Million Girls Moonshot is excited to launch recruitment for the inaugural 2022 Moonshot Flight Crew. They are looking for youth advocates — young scientists, engineers, inventors, builders, and leaders who have been inspired by their experience outside of the school...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/03/22

The Million Girls Moonshot is launching its inaugural Flight Crew!

The Flight Crew is a cohort of youth advocates, ages 13-18, who are committed to creating equity for girls in STEM through elevating youth voices and inspiring future STEM leaders. We are looking for young scientists, engineers, inventors, builders, and leaders who have been inspired by their...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/22

January resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Quality Trainings Audience: For programs and program staff in your state Share with Network STEM Staff, Key Partners, and Program Leaders in your state interested in becoming Dimensions of Success Certified. More information found here. Dimensions of Success (DoS) Certification...

BY: Chris Neitzey      01/14/22

December Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

December brings us the opportunity to reflect on our successes and explore how we might do more as we head into a new year. Below we bring you the December assets from the Million Girls Moonshot, and encourage you to share these resources with your networks and partners. If you are interested in...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/20/21

November resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Photo courtesy of Million Girls Moonshot Below are the November resources from Million Girls Moonshot. This month’s asset package includes resources to share and utilize related to the four transformative practices: equity and inclusion, engineering mindsets, role models, mentors and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/19/21

Upcoming STEM opportunities from Million Girls Moonshot

Teen Science Cafe The Teen Science Cafe is an opportunity for youth in rural areas to engage in conversations around STEM with each other and with a scientist, engineer, or inventor. Uniquely fitted to afterschool and out-of-school time programs, the goal of the Teen Science Cafe is to garner...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/30/21

August resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot focus on tools and resources for Networks, programs, and partners to relaunch the Moonshot and plan for capacity building events in their community. As programs head back to in person programming, this is an excellent opportunity to...

BY: Chris Neitzey      08/30/21

February Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

The Million Girls Moonshot is excited to launch recruitment for the inaugural 2022 Moonshot Flight Crew. They are looking for youth advocates — young scientists, engineers, inventors, builders, and leaders who have been inspired by their experience outside of the school...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/03/22

The Million Girls Moonshot is launching its inaugural Flight Crew!

The Flight Crew is a cohort of youth advocates, ages 13-18, who are committed to creating equity for girls in STEM through elevating youth voices and inspiring future STEM leaders. We are looking for young scientists, engineers, inventors, builders, and leaders who have been inspired by their...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/22

January resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Quality Trainings Audience: For programs and program staff in your state Share with Network STEM Staff, Key Partners, and Program Leaders in your state interested in becoming Dimensions of Success Certified. More information found here. Dimensions of Success (DoS) Certification...

BY: Chris Neitzey      01/14/22

December Resources from Million Girls Moonshot

December brings us the opportunity to reflect on our successes and explore how we might do more as we head into a new year. Below we bring you the December assets from the Million Girls Moonshot, and encourage you to share these resources with your networks and partners. If you are interested in...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/20/21

CyberStart America: A free computer science/cybersecurity program for afterschool

By Kate Straus, National Cyber Scholarship Foundation. The digitized and online world we now live in has revolutionized how we work, seek entertainment, stay informed and connect with each other. Unfortunately, it has also revolutionized how cyber criminals can target us! Whether temporarily...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/03/21

November resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Photo courtesy of Million Girls Moonshot Below are the November resources from Million Girls Moonshot. This month’s asset package includes resources to share and utilize related to the four transformative practices: equity and inclusion, engineering mindsets, role models, mentors and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/19/21

Upcoming STEM opportunities from Million Girls Moonshot

Teen Science Cafe The Teen Science Cafe is an opportunity for youth in rural areas to engage in conversations around STEM with each other and with a scientist, engineer, or inventor. Uniquely fitted to afterschool and out-of-school time programs, the goal of the Teen Science Cafe is to garner...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/30/21

Engineer for the Week Fall Sprint is now open for registration!

Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do you believe all students should have access to high-quality, cost-free programming where they can develop computer science skills...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/02/21

August resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot focus on tools and resources for Networks, programs, and partners to relaunch the Moonshot and plan for capacity building events in their community. As programs head back to in person programming, this is an excellent opportunity to...

BY: Chris Neitzey      08/30/21

June resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Summer has set in across the country and that means the #SummerOfSTEM has officially kicked off. This month’s resources focus on tools and resources for Networks, programs, and partners to implement STEM into summer programming. As programs across the country slowly head back to hybrid and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      06/29/21

Engineer for the Week: Bring free, high-quality STEM learning to your students!

Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do you believe all students should have access to high-quality, cost-free programming where they can develop computer science skills...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      03/03/22

CyberStart America: A free computer science/cybersecurity program for afterschool

By Kate Straus, National Cyber Scholarship Foundation. The digitized and online world we now live in has revolutionized how we work, seek entertainment, stay informed and connect with each other. Unfortunately, it has also revolutionized how cyber criminals can target us! Whether temporarily...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/03/21

Engineer for the Week Fall Sprint is now open for registration!

Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do you believe all students should have access to high-quality, cost-free programming where they can develop computer science skills...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/02/21

July resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot offer tools and resources for programs looking to implement STEM learning in summer programming. This summer provides an opportunity to reintroduce the four transformative programming areas of the Moonshot: equity and inclusion,...

BY: Chris Neitzey      07/30/21

April resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from Million Girls Moonshot continue the theme around role models and mentors, with new assets from the IF/THEN collection. April signifies the celebration of Earth Day and you’ll find a few Earth Day themed resources below. Please feel free to share these...

BY: Chris Neitzey      04/30/21

March resources from Million Girls Moonshot

March is here, and while that may signal spring for some, it also means new resources from the Million Girls Moonshot! This month’s resources will continue a focus on diverse role models and how afterschool programs can incorporate STEM role models into programming efforts. You’ll find...

BY: Chris Neitzey      03/15/21

CORAL Expanded Learning Program helps children from underprivileged neighborhoods get STEM-ready for high school

By Nisha Shanmugam Kokilam, STEM Program Supervisor, CORAL Expanded Learning Program, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. CORAL supports narrowing the opportunity gap in accessing STEM in the underprivileged neighborhoods of San Jose by offering free, innovative and high-quality programs...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/02/21

February resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Welcome to the February installment of STEM resources from the Million Girls Moonshot. This month, Million Girls Moonshot resources are focused on diverse role models and mentors as a strategy to strengthen equity and inclusion in STEM programs. You’ll find podcasts, toolkits, and activity...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/22/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

Out-of-school STEM during a pandemic: An interview with leaders from FIRST, Learn Fresh, and Girlstart

By Gemma Lenowitz, associate program officer for Inspired Minds at the Overdeck Family Foundation. This article was originally published on the Overdeck Family Foundation's website on November 30, 2020. It is reposted here with the author's permission. Erica Fessia is vice president of...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/01/20

July resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot offer tools and resources for programs looking to implement STEM learning in summer programming. This summer provides an opportunity to reintroduce the four transformative programming areas of the Moonshot: equity and inclusion,...

BY: Chris Neitzey      07/30/21

CORAL Expanded Learning Program helps children from underprivileged neighborhoods get STEM-ready for high school

By Nisha Shanmugam Kokilam, STEM Program Supervisor, CORAL Expanded Learning Program, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. CORAL supports narrowing the opportunity gap in accessing STEM in the underprivileged neighborhoods of San Jose by offering free, innovative and high-quality programs...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/02/21

What does a new president and Congress mean for afterschool STEM?

President Joe Biden was sworn into office on January 20, marking the beginning of a four-year term with the pandemic still front and center in the eyes of policymakers and the general public. The first steps for President Biden and Congress have been aimed at getting a handle on the pandemic, which...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/16/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

From the STEM field: An innovative model to deliver STEM learning to under-served youth during the COVID-19 era

By Stephen White, Vice President of External Affairs, Strategic Initiatives, and Business Development and Allie Greiwe, Director of External Affairs at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, OH. This blog is a continuation of our series of case studies examining how informal STEM...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/10/20

How STEM learning is adapting in COVID-19

This blog post comes to us Rachael Van Schoik, Science Action Club Manager at the California Academy of Sciences. Over the coming months we’ll be highlighting how STEM programs have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue serving students with STEM activities, and what lessons we can...

BY: Guest Blogger      10/26/20

Share your ideas for advancing equity in Science and Technology with the White House

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently issued a challenge to engage the American public around one essential question - “How can we guarantee all Americans can fully participate in, and contribute to, science and technology?” The Time is Now:...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/05/21

July resources from Million Girls Moonshot

This month’s resources from the Million Girls Moonshot offer tools and resources for programs looking to implement STEM learning in summer programming. This summer provides an opportunity to reintroduce the four transformative programming areas of the Moonshot: equity and inclusion,...

BY: Chris Neitzey      07/30/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

Free STEM learning opportunity: Facebook's Engineer for the Week!

We are excited to invite you to join Engineer for the Week's Fall 2020 Sprint! It runs from October 5 to December 4, 2020. Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/14/20