Catalyzing Inclusive STEM Experiences ALL Year Round

In the CISTEME365 3-minute video entry for the 2021 National Science Foundation STEM for All Video Showcase, entitled “Catalyzing Inclusive STEM Experiences: Tune in for Equity,” you’ll hear from educators who have been learning together and implementing change in this virtual setting. They share how tuning into micromessages makes a difference in the lives of their students. 

Now in its seventh year, NSF’s annual video showcase will feature over 280 innovative projects that are produced by federally funded projects who focused on improving STEM and computer science education. The 2021 theme was “COVID, Equity & Social Justice.”

NAPE partners with the University of Illinois through a National Science Foundation grant-funded program CISTEME365. The initiative hypothesizes that intensive experiences with cutting-edge technology must exist all year-round to significantly broaden access and participation in STEM for middle and high school students. The initiative further hypothesizes that providing these types of experiences is insufficient – creating an environment that’s inclusive, equitable, and culturally responsive is also required.

CISTEME365 is unique in that it supports teams of educators to develop their expertise and confidence in the technical aspects of implementing electrical engineering projects in informal settings while also creating a more equitable learning environment for their students. COVID-19 restrictions led to many changes in this project, including a switch to virtual professional development sessions, re-calibrating project materials for virtual (yet hands-on) STEM Clubs, and collaborating with schools to find solutions for remote learning to keep educators, students, and schools invested. 

The STEM equity curriculum used in this project comes from the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) and is facilitated by Dr. Meagan Pollock. The engineering curriculum and the college and career content are facilitated by Dr. Lynford Goddard of The Grainger College of Engineering, the Holonyak Micro & Nanotechnology Lab, and Dr. Lara Hebert of the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The project was funded by NSF Award# 1850398 to the University of Illinois.