The Sacramento Regional Science & Engineering Fair Foundation (dba NorCal STEM Education Foundation) is a Sacramento-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation whose mission is to inspire and engage students to become interested in pursuing scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) degrees and careers. Our mission is fulfilled through the programs and resources we offer to the Northern California community. Through our Sacramento Regional STEM Fair to the Regional STEM Mentoring Program, to Professional Development workshops; the Foundation has educational opportunities and resources for all. Most of our resources are also offered free of charge.
The mission of the NorCal STEM Education Foundation is to encourage students to find their passion for STEM and spark their interest in scientific, technological, engineering or mathematical degrees and careers.
About the Foundation
Why STEM Education?
Strategy & Initiatives
The NorCal STEM Education Foundation was founded as a nonprofit corporation in September 2001, after the California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS) and Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) advocated Blanning and Baker Associates, Inc to adopt and revive the event. The Foundation was originally created solely to operate and organize the Sacramento Regional Science and Engineering Fair, previously supported by the Sacramento Bee. The first annual Fair, run by the Foundation, was held in the Spring of 2002 where it was noted that there was minimal participation from the region. Through grassroots efforts, the Foundation conducted research that illustrated a need for STEM educational programs. The lack of STEM educational initiatives in the greater Sacramento region inspired the Foundation to expand from purely organizing the Fair to grow and become a now 12 county STEM educational foundation that provides programs and resources for the entire region.
STEM is all around you! From your iPhone (Technology) to your allergy medicine (Science) that you take before driving to work over Sacramento’s Tower Bridge (Engineering) to budgeting for your groceries for dinner (Math), STEM is a part of everyday life! We need to engage and expose our students to inquiry-based activities to get the gears in their heads to turn and connect career pathways to their interests.
The New Standards. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), to be fully implemented in California in 2016, focus on hands-on, student-driven, inquiry-based project learning that involves cross-curricular collaboration among teachers and peer-to-peer learning opportunities for students*. A major focus of NGSS is how it ties to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English/Language Arts. Many teachers in the Northern California region are struggling with this shift in curriculum; the Sacramento Regional Science and Engineering Fair Foundation reaches out to assist these teachers in a multitude of ways.
Guiding students through a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) project can be one way of meeting the diverse requirements of NGSS. Students’ participation in our regional fair is an opportunity for collaboration across curriculum. The Professional Development offered by the Foundation focuses on how to shift curriculum to satisfy NGSS simply. Many of our resources and partnerships provide outlets for free or low-cost materials for students and teachers.
*Read more about the Next Generation Science Standards at: www.nextgenscience.org.
Building the Workforce. In 2011, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science Assessment Report published their results which illustrated the lack of career-ready STEM professionals that the United States educational system was producing , with California as a whole ranking in 34th place . The United States Department of Commerce estimates that by 2018, the United States will have 1.2 million unfilled jobs in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields because the workforce will not possess the necessary skills or interest to fill them —this in a country with a 7 percent unemployment rate . In Sacramento County, the 2013 STAR test results show that 54.7% of 11th grade students are at the basic level, or below, of knowledge in end-of-course science, with the surrounding Northern California counties following suit . Thus, K-12 STEM learning has risen to the forefront of educational issues. Without a basic foundation in science, technology, engineering or math, students are not prepared to pursue degrees and careers in STEM.
Our Commitment to Change. Our mission is to inspire and engage students to become interested in pursuing scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) degrees and careers. Our mission is fulfilled through our educational programs and the resources we offer the Northern California community. “Research claims that students’ engagement in authentic informal educational activities in their early years enhances their interest in STEM,” precisely why the Foundation offers programs to students in 5th-11th grades. Through grassroots efforts, the Foundation has grown to become a now 12 county STEM educational foundation that provides programs and resources for the entire region.
Exposure to Career Pathways. Think back to the time when you were in middle and high school. You probably only knew about the careers of your parents, your adult relatives, and perhaps your friend's parents. The options that you believed you could pursue, career-wise, were likely rather limited. With the rise of technology and the flow of information, one would assume that students today would have so much information about the types of careers they could pursue, they would need little to no help. This assumption is wrong. Students today have no more advantage and no more information than we had as students. There may be more non-conventional career information - building a start-up, creating a product, inventing something new - but many students are not betting their career development on an idea, they want tangible careers. This is one of the strategies of the NorCal STEM Education Foundation - to help showcase different and divergent pathways to STEM careers.
Community Programs. The Foundation focuses on programs that involve the community in STEM Education. Without strong support from community members, parents and educators, the programs would not be as successful in assisting students. Showing students that a multitude of people care that they succeed helps with self-confidence and learning.
Community Resource. Our philosophy is akin to "if you build it, they will come." Providing resources and programs is something the Foundation was made to do. We attempt to provide all programs and resources at low-cost, if not free, pricing.
Nonprofit & Event Collaboration. Partnerships and collaboration is a large part of the culture of the Foundation. We know that, just like the community needs to support students, nonprofits and STEM educational organizations need to support each other. We love to branch out and work with other organizations to spread information for all and provide the best resources around.
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
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