The Regional STEM Mentoring (RSM) Program is a non-profit youth mentoring program dedicated to building relationships between students and mentors to encourage further pursuit in scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) subjects. We believe that through mentoring and hands-on learning we can expand knowledge of STEM subjects, provide positive role models, expose students to real world issues relating to STEM subjects, and enhance overall education for participants in area schools.
The Program places professional scientists and engineers in after school or summer school programs to help present the process of inquiry-based learning and how to develop a STEM experiment for students in grades 5th-11th within the Northern California region. The program and curriculum are extremely flexible in order to attract maximum participation from teachers, students and volunteers. The program was installed within two different school districts, at 5 schools sites during its pilot year and has only grown more and more popular.
Mentoring is intended to extend the opportunity to participate in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) Fair to students beyond those students who complete projects independently at home or as assignments during school hours. This program is a supplement to appropriate grade level school-year teachings and the program curriculum is aligned with the newly implemented Common Core Standards and the new Next Generation Science Standards.
Through this program, mentors will be trained to assist and guide students in the following areas:
A mentor who volunteers his/her time through the RSM Program should expect a time commitment of approximately one hour a week during the duration of the program, with a possibility of continuing the program into the next year. Mentors will be matched as closely as possible with the selected school programs, based upon subject area, area of expertise, and metropolitan area.
The Plan of Action
A mentor who volunteers his/her time through the RSM Program should expect a time commitment of approximately one hour a week during the duration of the program they are assigned. Mentors will be matched as closely as possible with the selected school programs, based upon subject area, area of expertise, and metropolian area requested.
Once an after school or summer school program has been selected by the RSMP Staff, the teacher, mentors and staff will hold a curriculum meeting to ensure all parameters of the school's learning criteria are met in participation of this program. The curriculum has already been developed - no curriculum work on the mentor's part will be needed except to be available and attentive.
During the first classroom visit, each mentor will give an introductory presentation to the entire group of students, introducing their career and the pathway that led them to it. Following the initial visit, the emphasis will be on expanding students’ view of STEM subject area leading to career pathways and on the processes to run their own experimentation. The mentor will relate their own experiences in their field and encourage students to pursue their own interest in STEM subjects through presentations, mentor-run experiments, and student based inquiries.
Introduction of the scientific method and engineering design model will occur through 10-20 minute experiments and hands-on STEM activities such as making simple machines, robots, rockets, or exploring the local environmental issues or natural habitats and guiding students through the investigative processes while they ask questions and develop hypotheses. These experiments will be listed in the curriculum and the materials will be provided for mentors. Mentors will help students research and develop their own experiments. As the RSM Program progresses, students will gain more responsibility and ownership of their scientific study.
Students who participate in the RSM Program will produce the makings of a STEM fair project. Throughout the RSM Program the students will be prepared with information regarding the Synopsys Sacramento Regional STEM Fair and how to participate. The basis for a STEM project that the RSM Program helps students develop, if further developed and completed, is eligible to be entered into the following year’s Fair. The students will be rewarded and recognized by other STEM professionals at the Synopsys Sacramento Regional STEM Fair, helping to not only improve their ability to speak about STEM projects using skills developed through the RSM Program, but also their confidence in their own learning.
Proof of Improvement
In Sept. 2011, Afterschool Alliance published “STEM Learning in Afterschool: An Analysis of Impact and Outcomes.” Below is a brief overview of outcomes recorded from their study:
"1. Improved attitudes toward STEM fields and careers:
a) Increased enrollment and interest in STEM related courses in school
b) Continued participation in STEM programs
c) Increased self‐confidence in tackling science classes and projects
d) Shift in attitude about careers in STEM
2. Increased STEM knowledge and skills:
a) Increased test scores as compared to non‐participants
b) Gains in knowledge about STEM careers
c) Gains in computer and technology skills
d) Increased general knowledge of science
e) Gains in 21st century skills, including communication, teamwork and analytical thinking
3. Higher likelihood of graduation and pursuing a STEM career:
a) High rate of high school graduation among participants
b) Pursuit of college and intention of majoring in STEM fields
Patterns in the findings across multiple studies begin to reveal the potential of STEM programming in after school as a means to engage students in STEM fields and careers and nurture that interest.
The evaluation results collected offer a sample of the positive impacts of these programs on youth: After school programs can not only inspire youth, but provide them with the confidence to pursue STEM fields both academically and professionally. To maximize potential impact, future STEM education policy should support after school and summer opportunities for STEM engagement. " Read the whole study here.
Summer L.A.B. through People Reaching Out
The NorCal STEM Education Foundation has teamed up this summer with People Reaching Out, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring, educating, and mobilizing young people to build healthy futures for themselves, their families, and their communities, for their Summer L.A.B. (Learning, Achieving, Believing) Program for 7th-9th graders at Cosumnes River College from June 23 - July 30, 2015.
Summer L.A.B. (Learning-Achieving-Believing) is a great opportunity for young people to gain exposure to a college environment while participating in fun, constructive activities. In addition, participants are provided free lunch and snack each day.
Fall 2015 & 2015-2016 School Year RSMP Enrollment Open Now!
The Regional STEM Mentoring Program can be:
To begin the process of enrollment, contact staff today at sacSTEMfair@sacSTEMfair.org.
STEM in NEED
Many students in secondary school in the Northern California region have no access to hands-on, engaging STEM programs. US students rank 17th in Science proficiency and 35th in Math in the world. Despite record unemployment, companies report being unable to find qualified candidates in STEM with more than 1 million unfilled jobs on the horizon. We need to act now to change the perception about STEM for today’s students.
The graphic below was published by the Washington Post on July 16, 2015. It showcases that not only are a majority of students not receiving STEM programs, but many of those students are minority and under-served populations.
Without sustainable programs, the numbers will continue to show a shortage of diversity within the Technological workforce.
The problem is bigger than technological companies being unable to hire a diverse workforce - it comes down to advancement and progress towards the future. Without future creative STEM professionals, the age of discovery and innovation will come to a screeching halt - at least in the United States.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2018, the bulk of STEM careers will be:
Computing – 71 percent
Traditional Engineering – 16 percent
Physical sciences – 7 percent
Life sciences – 4 percent
Mathematics – 2 percent
and we need students today to fill those jobs for tomorrow!
455 Capitol Mall, Suite 500 Sacramento, CA 95814
P: (916) 441.3150
F: (916) 442.4182
The mission of the NorCal STEM Education Foundation is to inspire and engage students to become interested in pursuing scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) degrees and careers.
©2016 NorCal STEM Education Foundation