Bridging the Divide: Incorporating Identity and Culture to Sustain STEM Engagement

Room: Red Level, Suite 20

The current model of STEM engagement tends to ask middle and high school students to assimilate into STEM culture, instead of meeting them where they are. In other words, teachers often ask youth to leave their identity — as young people, as girls and young women, as urban dwellers, as individuals having racial, ethnic and cultural roots and experiences — at the door, so as to embrace an “objective” way of knowing. After school environment provides an opportunity to incorporate these other identities, to invite youth voice and choice, and bridge the divide between STEM and youth culture. Panelists will discuss how they have done so through the design of their programs, including science fairs and open-ended competitions.

  • Connie Chow, Ph.D.  -  Executive Director, Science Club for Girls

  • Susan Klimczak, Ph.D.  -  Education Director, South End Technology Center
  • Maisha Moses, M.A.  -  Executive Director, The Young People‚Äôs Project
  • Ricarose Roque, M.Eng,  -  PhD Candidate, Lifelong Kindergarten, The Media Lab, MIT