The Austin STEM Learning Center (SLC), housed at Frederick Douglass High School, will serve as an anchoring site in the community for STEM learning pathways for youth. The SLC will focus on providing local middle school students with high-quality STEM opportunities that will positively impact their self-efficacy and confidence in science and engineering, and develop their critical thinking skills. The programs and opportunities developed for the SLC will be identified through a series of community meetings with stakeholder partners, including parents and youth, as well as concrete collaborations between local partners and STEM-focused institutions across the city of Chicago. Ultimately, the SLC aims to be a neighborhood-based hub for youth, families, and teachers; it will amplify the value of STEM learning in the community and bridge citywide STEM resources with local assets.
This work is being led by the Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative (STEM Co-op), a collaborative effort steered by Project Exploration, aimed at increasing youth and family access to quality STEM experiences in both formal and informal settings, from cradle to career.
Through the Glimmer grant, we will accomplish the following:
- Collect existing data on youth engagement and participation in STEM learning activities in the Austin neighborhood.
- Engage community stakeholders – including families and youth – to map community needs and concerns related to STEM learning opportunities.
- Recruit and identify Hive partners to deliver youth programs through “residencies” at the SLC.