The Society for Science & the Public announced that $65,000 in grants have been given to 20 extraordinary organizations supporting STEM education and science literacy.
The STEM Action Grant Program aims to bolster and support community-driven nonprofit organizations that are working to enhance the public’s understanding of science and to increase participation of underrepresented populations in STEM fields.
Half of the organizations the Society is funding in 2019 previously received support from the Society, with $30,500 going to continued support. To date (including this announcement), the Society has given $170,000 to 29 organizations seeking to improve access to STEM education.
“The Society for Science & the Public is eager to support organizations that engage young people with STEM in innovative ways,” said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News. “These organizations are seeking to lower the barriers to entry in STEM fields, ensuring students from all backgrounds are provided an opportunity to explore STEM fields and have meaningful experiences.”
The following organizations are awardees of the 2019 STEM Action Grant Program:
- Black Girls Dive (Owing Mills, MD) will receive $5,000 to support the foundation’s mission to empower and engage young, underrepresented girls in marine STEM fields. The girls participate in many activities that cultivate science literacy and conservation; examples include building underwater remotely operated vehicles, SCUBA lessons and conservation initiatives at the local and international efforts. This year’s grant will help fund supplies and equipment, provide staff training and participants’ capstone experience. The program capstones provide transformational experiences for youth as they explore their STEM identities. Previously, Black Girls Dive received $5,000 from the Society.
- ChiTownBio (Chicago, IL) will receive $5,000 to support the organization’s mission to provide an inclusive, state-of-the-art refurbished lab space where anyone in Chicago’s diverse community can engage with the field of biology. Comparable to community labs across the country, this grant will help ChiTownBio to purchase essential research equipment, such as a -80 Celsius freezer and incubators for research experiments.
- Collaborative Youth Education Alliance (Hammond, LA) will receive $5,000 to support the group’s work to provide affordable and quality afterschool programs in southeastern Louisiana, with a special emphasis on STEM enrichment. With this grant, the organization will support an Americorps Volunteer to coordinate the use of a mobile STEM lab, also known as the Brain Food Truck, which provides STEM activities for third to eighth graders in physics, coding, engineering and more.
- Congressional App Challenge (Washington, DC), a project of the Internet Education Foundation, will receive $2,500 from the Society to support their mission to encourage young students to learn how to code, through annual district-wide competitions hosted by members of Congress for their district. The funds will be used for operations and staff who will work on outreach to new locations, increase student and member of Congress engagement and improve educational materials. The organization received $5,000 from the Society in 2018.
- Electric Girls (New Orleans, LA) will receive $3,000 from the Society to support the group’s mission to build girls’ confidence and capabilities in STEM during summer camps, after school programs, in-school programs and more. This 2019 grant will be used to support the Electric Girls Saturday Workshop program, a novel STEM enrichment prospect for low-income girls aged 5-14, allowing education for an additional 60 students for 10 weeks of Electric Girls Saturday Workshops. They were a grantee in 2017 and 2018 as well, totaling $7,500.
- HYPOTHEkids (New York, NY) will get a $5,000 grant to support their flagship program STEAM the Streets, which brings unconventional science and engineering experiences to students outside of the classroom across New York City’s underserved neighborhoods. From street fairs to farmer’s markets, HYPOTHEkids knows that science research and learning can happen outdoors. These funds will be used for the staffing and materials for STEAM the Streets events, varying in attendance and nature.
- Latinas in STEM (Calabasas, CA) will receive $1,000 to inspire middle- and high-school Latina females, especially in underserved communities, to consider pursuing a STEM career. With regional collaborations in CA, TX and NJ, the 2019 grant will support a STEM 101 conference exposing 300+ girls from Jersey City, NJ, to STEM research and careers. Additionally, they will provide 150+ parents from Paterson, NJ and Jersey City with workshops that will teach them effective ways to support their daughters in STEM. The conference will be free of charge to all attendees and their parents.
- Learn Fresh Education Company (Denver, CO), a recipient of a $5,000 grant in 2017, will receive $2,500 to support the research, development and pilot testing of “EcoTour,” a new STEAM education program that will explore themes related to math, business management, design, and environmental and climate change science through the planning of a musical artist’s tour. In addition to research and development, funds will help develop partnerships with organizations in the music touring space to create exciting learning experiences for students.
- Lower Brule Research (Lower Brule, SD), based on the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation, will receive $5,000 to dedicate more time, training and resources to encourage Native American students to enter STEM fields. These funds will support Lower Brule’s three summer programs, which will serve 12 13-18 year old Native American students, 12 South Dakota State University undergraduate students and two adult Native American educators. This is the second grant for Lower Brule, which received $5,000 in 2018.
- Marie’s Kids (North Charleston, SC), founded in April 2018 as a tribute to passionate educator Marie Emmanuela Alfred, will receive $2,500 to build a sustainable STEAM curriculum to support their mission to provide STEAM education in Tri-County areas of Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley, SC. In their pilot year, Marie’s Kids will focus on third grade students at North Charleston Elementary. Through continued collaboration with the school districts, Marie’s Kids hopes to enhance efforts to build and diversify the STEM pipeline by providing early interventions for elementary students with limited access to STEAM education.
- Mobile STEM Programming at Memphis Public Libraries (MPL) (Memphis, TN) will receive $5,000 to support the all-encompassing goal of reducing barriers to STEM education access for minority and low-income youth in Memphis and Shelby County, TN. In order to accomplish this, funds will be used to purchase STEM equipment for MPL’s Start Here! mobile technology van and program staff. The Start Here! van is a fully-staffed learning lab on wheels that travels throughout Memphis Public Libraries’ service area to deliver innovative programming to traditionally underserved communities.
- ProjectCSGIRLS (Potomac Falls, VA) will receive $2,500 to cultivate the organization’s national and international chapters, sponsor a 2020 national gala, increase workshop offerings and develop a new curriculum database. ProjectCSGIRLS seeks to close the gender gap in computer science and technology through a national computer science competition for middle school girls. The organization is headed by Pooja Chandrashekar, a 2015 alumna of the Society’s Science Talent Search. ProjectCSGIRLS has received $17,500 in grants from the Society.
- SAFE Alternative Foundation for Education (Baltimore, MD) will receive $2,500 to support its mission to provide diverse educational programming and vocational exposure to inner city youth. The SAFE Foundation will use the grant to expand STEM learning to about 40 students in geographic regions that are underserved and plagued by poverty, violent crimes and drug activity. The students will learn about STEM, specifically focused on mechanical, marine and naval engineering. SAFE received $5,000 from the Society in 2018.
- Science from Scientists (Bedford, MA) will receive $2,500 to support and grow its mission to teach and inspire the next generation of scientists by improving STEM literacy. The funds will help expand the organization’s In-School Module Based (ISMB) programs, from 9,300 3rd- through 8th-grade students in 77 partner schools to over 10,000 students. The organization will also assist with teacher development, by providing content specialist instructors, who will bring challenging hands-on STEM materials into classrooms. The ISMB project will serve approximately 250 teachers and help facilitate increased parental engagement. Science from Scientists has received $12,500 in grants from the Society.
- Science Policy Outreach Taskforce (SPOT) (Chicago, IL), based at Northwestern University, will receive a $2,500 grant to primarily support their Science with Seniors program. SPOT is comprised of graduate students and postdocs in STEM-related fields who seek to enhance exposure to science in voting age populations. While many STEM outreach programs focus on children, SPOT is focused on science literacy in senior citizens. As the most dedicated voting demographic with over 90 percent of Americans aged 60+ registered to vote, this group of academic researchers are passionate about educating seniors with interactive presentations on various scientific topics, from solar cells to biology. Over the past two years, Science with Seniors has reached 200+ senior citizens in Greater Chicago.
- Sci-Inspire (Philadelphia, PA) will receive $2,500 from the Society to help realize an expansion of their programs to the Midwest, grow their current platforms in Chicago and Pittsburgh and support their overall mission to strengthen U.S. science education by cultivating and sustaining partnerships between institutions of higher education and K-12 schools. University volunteers connect with students in numerous ways, such as mentoring kids with their science fair projects. Sci-Inspire currently supports an expansive infrastructure of volunteers in about 40 chapters, and previously received $12,500 in funding from the Society.
- STEM Saturdays/Dibia DREAM (Miami, FL) will receive $1,000 to support their mission to engage youth of color with STEM activities in order to spark a life-long interest in STEM fields. The funds will be used for STEM kits, supplies, a 3D printer, nutrition and transportation for students in their unique program, STEM Saturdays.
- Together Educating All Children in Hospitals (TEACH), (Staten Island, NY), a student-run organization founded in 2013, will receive a $2,500 grant from the Society to support their efforts to creatively engage hospitalized children ages three to 21 across the country. TEACH provides children, in both inpatient and outpatient settings, and their visiting siblings with access to activities that seek to instill self-confidence and spark an interest in science. The funds will be used to expand the program by three to five branches over the next year.
- Virtual Field Trips/Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum (New York, NY), an educational and cultural museum centered on the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, a National Historic Landmark, will receive $2,500 from the Society. The grant will lend continued support for a popular videoconference program called Virtual Field Trips, created for students and the elderly who are unable to visit the museum physically. The grant will increase the number of Virtual Fieldtrips by hiring an additional educator, reaching an additional 6,500 underserved students. This is their second STEM Action Grant, with the program receiving $5,000 in 2018.
- Youth Code Jam (San Antonio, TX) will receive $5,000 to support their student and family-focused afterschool computer science programs, also known as school-based Community Code Jams, for K-12 students in cities and schools across Texas. The primary goal of their programs is to eradicate barriers and reduce the digital divide for families whose first language is not English. This STEM Action Grant will be used to translate, format and distribute materials into Spanish, servicing 1,000+ bilingual families. In addition, materials will be distributed to 50 teachers across Texas who are already running school-based jams, as well as new teachers in the 2019-2020 school year.