Great Lakes Bay Region STEM Ecosystem Publishes Access + Equity Impact Reports for Grants Given Over 2019-2022
Hello friends of the Great Lakes Bay Region,
The Great Lakes Bay Region STEM Access and Equity Initiative aims to mitigate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) access and equity barriers for at-risk youth (ages 0-12) and their families. This is accomplished by leveraging existing regional STEM assets and creating new sustainable STEM learning partnerships between student-serving organizations, STEM-rich institutions and families.

This initiative capitalized on existing resources in the community including STEM-rich institutions such as museums, planetariums, zoos, libraries, outdoor education and nature centers, community centers, summer camps, and mobile labs/programs, etc.

Improved STEM access and equity was accomplished via competitive mini-grants meant to encourage long-term, sustainable partnerships between student-serving organizations and STEM-rich institutions. These organizations and STEM-rich institutions partnered to co-develop, design and implement their projects. The mini-grants were used to offset programming costs and remove barriers such as admission and/or transportation for students.

The primary purpose of this funding opportunity was to provide STEM access and equity opportunities to underserved populations, including minority groups, girls, rurally-isolated students, and children living in poverty. Roughly one-third of students in the region are from low-income households.

The initiative is inspired by the Equality of Opportunity Project, including the article America’s Lost Einsteins, and the research from the Center for Childhood Creativity, “The Roots of STEM Success: Changing Early Learning Experiences to Build Lifelong Thinking Skills.” Both bodies of research clearly demonstrate the immense need to address STEM access for at-risk children and the need to mitigate access and equity with an upstream approach, very early in a child’s life.

Through collaboration and resource sharing from several of our partners, we were able to extend STEM programming to underserved populations. Many of the efforts aimed to equip teachers, educators, parents and caregivers with the tools to continue STEM learning at home and through other activities outside of the classroom. When designing STEM programming, barriers to access and equity were taken into account, and costs for admission, transportation and more were provided or reduced. Thanks to funding and support from Nexteer Automotive, MiSTEM East Central Michigan Region and The Strosacker Foundation, it was possible to provide youth in the Great Lakes Bay Region with 28 mini-grants over a four-year period from 2019 to 2022.

Please join us in celebrating the impact of this work throughout the last four years and the many partners that helped along the way.

In learning and exploration,
Lori Flippin
STEM Initiative Leader
View or download the report below!