STEM Guides: Professional brokers in rural STEM ecosystems

Date: 
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Community Outreach Programs, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Professional Development and Workshops, Resource Centers and Networks
Audience: 
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Museum/ISE Professionals
Discipline: 
General STEM
Access and Inclusion: 
Rural
Organization:
Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance
Description: 

This article describes the research and development of an NSF-funded, five-year experimental program to strengthen informal (out-of-school) STEM learning by youth in five rural communities. The central component of the model was a cadre of community members known as ‘STEM Guides’ who were hired to work as brokers between youth and the STEM learning resources potentially available to them. These STEM Guides were respected adults with credible connections to youth, flexible schedules, the ability to travel within the community, and enthusiasm for identifying local STEM resources. The Guides were trained and supported by the project staff of an educational research and development non-profit, whose researchers studied the Guides’ experiences over several years as they reflected on the ways they could support youth to pursue STEM outside of school. This project was unusual in developing embedded rural residents to take a professional brokering role with youth aged 10–18 throughout a region of several neighbouring towns, instead of relying on parents or teachers to provide such connections opportunistically and only for their own youth. Taking an ecosystems perspective, this article highlights some of the opportunities and challenges these STEM brokers faced as they tried to catalyze connections for youth in their communities.

Funder(s): 
NSF
Funding Program: 
AISL
Award Number: 
1322827
Funding Amount: 
$2,690,708
Citation
DOI:
10.1080/21548455.2019.1700317
Publication Name: 
International Journal of Science Education, Part B
Volume: 
10
Number: 
1
Page Number: 
17-35
Document:

Team Members

Sue AllenAuthor
Kate KasteleinKate KasteleinAuthor
Jan MokrosJan MokrosAuthor
Jennifer AtkinsonJennifer AtkinsonAuthor
Scott ByrdScott ByrdAuthor

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