STEM Pipeline Blog / September 25, 2023
Great Lakes Bay Region STEM Ecosystem Awarded Moonshot Catalyst Grant to Engage Underserved Youth and Girls in STEM Learning Outside the Classroom
Bay City, MI – The Great Lakes Bay Region STEM Ecosystem has been selected as a Moonshot Catalyst Awardee to engage more girls and underserved youth in deeper STEM learning. As an awardee, regional afterschool and summer programs and educators will gain access to key training, resources and professional development that will shift practices to create more access and more inclusive STEM learning opportunities for students historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
This grant will support the region in driving further engagement with several of our leading Great Lakes Bay Region STEM Ecosystem partners to shift practices (using the Access STEM Framework Strategies and Engineering Mindset), increase youth access and participation, and to mitigate access, equity, and inclusivity for girls in STEM.
Key project partners include the following organizations:
- Central Michigan University (CMU) – Center for Excellence in STEM Education
- Delta College (Delta College Planetarium, Delta Kids/Michigan Learning Channel)
- Davenport University
- Midland County Education Service Agency
- Saginaw S.T.E.M.
- Self Love Beauty
- Boys & Girls Clubs of the Great Lakes Bay Region
- Michigan Afterschool Partnership
- Michigan Afterschool Association
- MiSTEM East Central Michigan Region
STEM fields continue to be the fastest growing and highest paying careers in the United States, yet women and people of color continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. Currently, women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce of 58.9 million workers, yet represent only 30 percent of the professionals in science and engineering roles. Black and Hispanic women each make up only two percent and Indigenous women only one percent.
Launched in 2020, the Million Girls Moonshot is a transformative nationwide initiative that is inspiring and preparing the next generation of innovators by engaging millions more girls in STEM learning opportunities through afterschool and summer programs over five years. The Million Girls Moonshot is the premier initiative of the STEM Next Opportunity Fund, an organization committed to expanding exceptional STEM learning opportunities outside of the classroom for all children everywhere.
“The Catalyst Award is another important effort for the Million Girls Moonshot to expand the capacity of communities to support underserved young people with robust STEM learning opportunities in afterschool and summer,” said Teresa Drew, deputy director of STEM Next and director of the Million Girls Moonshot initiative. “STEM Next leans heavily into maximizing the time in afterschool and summer because the research shows us that is where kids spend 80% of their time and it’s a critical space to build a child’s confidence and interest in STEM. We are thrilled to welcome a new cohort of partners who are developing meaningful ways to combat the persistent gender gap and lack of racial diversity in STEM fields.”
“Gender STEM access issues persist both in our region and across America. Students spend the majority of their time, or 80% of their waking hours, in out-of-school time, so if we’re going to impact STEM talent development and access/equity issues in our region, we must capitalize on the time when students are not in school,’ said Rich VanTol, lead of the Great Lakes Bay Region STEM Pipeline Out-of-School Time Network. “To this end, the Million Girls Moonshot grant will provide additional resources for our region, while leveraging collaboration and key assets to create sustainable solutions to increased access.”
The 2023 Moonshot Catalyst Awardees include:
- Great Lakes Bay Region STEM Ecosystem, Bay City, Michigan
- Philadelphia Education Fund, Philadelphia, PA
- Remake Learning Pittsburgh Regional STEAM Ecosystem, Pittsburgh, PA
- Tech Corp Ohio, Columbus, OH
- EdVenture Group, LLC, Morgantown, WV
- Greater Rochester Afterschool and Summer Alliance, Rochester, NY
- Digital Harbor Foundation, Baltimore, MD
- Southeast Service Cooperative, Rochester, MN
- Educate Maine, Portland, ME
- North Carolina Afterschool Partnership, Charlotte, NC
- Fleet Science Center, San Diego, CA
- Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, Lewisburg, PA
“The Center for Excellence in STEM Education is excited to participate in the Million Girls Moonshot grant, as we recognize that women continue to be under-represented in STEM careers,’ said Julie Cunningham, director of The Center for Excellence in STEM Education at Central Michigan University. “We understand that in order to change this, we need to provide young women with role models and opportunities in STEM, especially in two of the fastest growing STEM career areas – computer science and engineering.”
Catalyst Awardees will join a professional network of 50 statewide afterschool networks, including thousands of afterschool and summer programs and hundreds of thousands of informal educators.
Each grantee will focus on building an engineering mindset – 10 values and thinking skills associated with engineering that include skills like critical thinking, teamwork, persistence, and iterative thinking – with young people in their region. Awardees will also focus on expanding the visibility of role models and mentors for young people, the role of families as champions, as well as raising awareness to other partners to connect opportunities for youth as they progress in their STEM learning.
To learn more about the Million Girls Moonshot, visit www.milliongirlsmoonshot.org
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