To ensure a vital STEM economy, our country must provide engaging and inclusive STEM learning opportunities, inside and outside of school, to inspire the next generation of innovators and inventors. Yet many K–12 students lack access to high-quality STEM learning that sparks their interest and gives them a chance to explore careers in STEM.
EDC is continuing a long legacy of support for broadening participation in STEM education and careers through its leadership of the STEM Learning and Research (STELAR) Center. STELAR helps grantees of the National Science Foundation’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program meet their goals to create authentic, engaging STEM experiences that help K–12 students develop the skills and knowledge they will need for the future.
STELAR builds the capacity of the ITEST community of practice and broader field of STEM education and workforce development through webinars and online meetings, annual principal investigator (PI) meetings, and resources. Through STELAR, EDC offers the following technical assistance (TA) to facilitate projects’ success:
- Increase capacity of ITEST PIs and evaluators to design, evaluate, and implement projects that strengthen students’ STEM knowledge and skills and their awareness of related careers
- Synthesize and disseminate promising practices and project findings to inform and influence a national community of stakeholders, including STEM education professionals, business and industry leaders, policymakers, and the STEM and information and communications technology (ICT) education research community
- Broaden participation in the ITEST community to include individuals and institutions currently underrepresented in the ITEST community
Since 2003, EDC has provided highly regarded TA to more than 501 ITEST projects, serving approximately 1,588,363 youth, 63,034 educators and 20,053 parents and caregivers.