Million Girl Moonshot
The STEM Next Opportunity Fund, in partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, is investing in all 50 afterschool state networks to expand high quality STEM expanded learning opportunities aligned with national efforts. While there has been significant increase over the past six years in the quantity and quality of STEM learning experiences in afterschool and summer learning, clear gaps continue to exist across the span of STEM. Since OregonASK received its first national funding in 2013 to support STEM expanded learning efforts and became the convening organization for the Oregon Girls Collaborative focused on supporting girl-serving STEM organizations in 2014, we’ve been working towards creating more equitable opportunities across Oregon.
Equitable STEM & CTE Committee
As part of OregonASK’s Million Girls Moonshot work, and building upon our Equity & Access efforts, we started convening an Equitable STEM & CTE Committee in the fall of 2021. This committee has provided feedback and guidance on numerous pieces of work, including partnership events with Intel for Manufacturing Day and Engineers Week, building a youth survey process, understanding and supporting culturally-responsive practices, and increasing quality summer STEM exploration.
This initiative is intended to provide the opportunity to leverage the strength and reach of the 50 State Afterschool Networks, build on the growing partnerships with business and industry, and expand our connections with state agencies and policy makers in order to create more effective STEM pathways for all youth.
Children spend less than 20 percent of their waking hours in school. Afterschool STEM can almost double the time some students have to question, tinker, learn, and explore STEM topics. The more equitable representation of students participating in STEM learning opportunities after school and in the summer, the more diverse STEM subjects and majors will become in the future.
Over the coming years, we will be sharing resources from national and local partners within several key focus areas:
- Equity & Inclusion: Support programs and STEM partners to understand the fundamentals of equity and access, putting into place effective practices and supports for change
- Engineering Mindset: Embed an invention/engineering mindset/problem solving methodology into afterschool and summer learning programming
- Role Models, Mentors, & Families: Support programs to foster the sustained involvement of families, mentors and role models as part of STEM work with youth
- STEM Pathways & Transitions: Help create successful “hand-offs” between program opportunities including work-based learning, post-secondary, etc.