Full-Scale Development: STEM Guides: Building Coherent Infrastructure in Rural Communities

October 1st, 2013 - September 30th, 2018 | PROJECT

This full-scale development project will address the need for creative models to support STEM learning in underserved rural communities that lack traditional infrastructure such as science centers. The project will create and study an innovative model of capacity-building: viz., small networks of community-embedded “STEM Guides” will be trained to identify a range of existing STEM resources available in their local regions, and to connect STEM-interested youth with them in creative and personal ways. Anticipated learning outcomes for youth and families include greater awareness of and interest in STEM experiences and pathways. At the regional level, the project will build capacity through increasing the STEM Guides’ knowledge of local STEM opportunities, and by enhancing connections among STEM-related resources, programs, and industries. The project will implement and study STEM Guide networks in a staggered series of five low-income, rural regions, providing startup resources and professional development. The project will increase the frequency and depth of out-of-school STEM experiences for approximately 3,000 youth aged 10-18 at a relatively low cost, creating a national model for STEM capacity-building in rural settings. It is led by the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, with 4-H, Cornerstones of Science (library-based STEM) and Maine’s university system as collaborators. EDC is the primary external evaluator.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Poster - STEM Guides
Video – STEM Guides: Connecting Rural Youth to Informal STEM
2019 AISL PI Meeting Poster: STEM Guides: Brokering in Rural Ecosystems
STEM Guides External Summative Evaluation Report
STEM Guides: Professional brokers in rural STEM ecosystems
Facilitating formal-informal connections in rural STEM ecosystems
Farmers markets and fairs as venues for doing math in rural settings
Drone technology in hurricane response

Team Members

Jan Mokros, Principal Investigator, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance
Sue Allen, Co-Principal Investigator, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 1322827
Funding Amount: 886096


Access and Inclusion: Rural
Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Community Outreach Programs | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Public Programs | Resource Centers and Networks