The InterMountain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Launch Pilot (IM STEM)

Dear IMSTEM Community,

It is bittersweet to be coming to the close of our InterMountain (IM)STEM Project. The last three-plus years has been filled with learning, collaboration, creativity, and shared passion in identifying and addressing equity gaps in the participation, retention, and completion of women and girls, Students of Color (defined as Black, Indigenous/Native, and People of Color), and individuals with disabilities in STEM and career and technical education. We have learned that none of us has the answer alone; but we certainly can answer the complex challenges of today in community and through collective impact. Throughout this project, key connections have been made; individuals and institutions have learned from one another, and an important network of shared interest and shared passion has been cultivated. I encourage you to stay connected through the broader work of NAPE

I want to publicly thank Mimi Lufkin, NAPE CEO Emerita and project director for her leadership of this project since its inception. Her creativity, collaboration, and passion shone through in every detail of the work. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Senior Program Manager was instrumental in helping to manage many details of the work, including our network and steering committee meetings, and she worked closely with a number of the work groups. Lisa Riegel, NAPE Consultant was responsible for the projects external communications, whose creativity and vision helped us grow the network. 

I also want to thank and recognize the IMSTEM Steering Committee, without whom the project never would have been successful. The Steering Committee met monthly throughout the duration of the project. They helped to define and chart the direction of the project, and they led the development and implementation of the activities of the work groups. Thanks to the efforts of the Steering Committee we have a powerful STEM Equity Rubric; a STEM Program Asset Map for Nevada; and many other important resources, including a special paper that will be released this fall. We also have a dedicated group of professionals who have connected, shared best practices, and learned from one another.

The list of members who served on the Steering Committee is below:

  • Liz Kuehl and Alex Carter, Colorado Education Initiative
  • Angela Hemingway, Idaho STEM Action Center
  • Anne Seifert and Jennifer Jackson, Idaho National Labs
  • Sarah Penney, Idaho EPSCoR
  • Sonia Martinez, Idaho State University
  • Snehal Bhakta, Clark County School District, Nevada
  • Brian Mitchell, Nevada Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology
  • Anne Jakle and Selena Connealy, New Mexico EPSCoR
  • Robert Mitchell, Dona Ana Community College, New Mexico
  • Tami Goetz, Utah STEM Action Center
  • Susan Thackeray, Utah Valley University
  • Linda Barton, Wyoming After School Alliance
  • Guy Jackson and Michelle Aldrich, Wyoming Department of Education

We at NAPE plan to continue to utilize the strengths of collective impact in addressing the stubborn equity gaps that still exist in STEM and CTE, and that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank you for your participation in this project and hope that you will continue to stay connected with each other and with NAPE.

Warmest regards,
Ben Williams, PhD
CEO and PI

What's going on Around the network?

Colorado State University’s Women in Science Network sponsors Innovating Minds Lecture Series

The Women in Science Network is inviting you to hear from leaders in academia, industry, policy, NGOs and more… as they share their path to success as Women of Innovation. Each 2-hour event of the series is complimentary and includes networking, and creative speakers from local, regional and national platforms. Learn more at

Idaho State University Receives Scholarship Funding form the Mexican Consulate for Students of Mexican Origin

The Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) Scholarship Program helps Mexicans in the United States integrate and contribute in a better way in the society where they live and to their places of origin in Mexico through academic and professional development. Two Idaho State University students, Melissa Rivas, Biology major; and Bernice Sosa Aispuro, Mechanical Engineering major, were two of the award recipients for 2020. Read more about the scholarship here.

University of Idaho Receives Grant to Research Indigenous-Based STEM Education

University of Idaho researchers and partner institutions have received a total of $739,619 in National Science Foundation collaborative research grants to address the under-representation of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines and workforce.

The Cultivating Indigenous Research Communities for Leadership in Education and STEM (CIRCLES) Alliance builds on existing partnerships with tribal communities and tribal colleges in six states in the western United States: Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Together, the partners will develop a collective strategy for increasing the engagement, involvement and success of AI/AN students in STEM.

Click here to read more

Nevada STEM Summit – Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Nevada STEM Hub provides information and resources to develop a vibrant Nevada STEM workforce. The Hub will be sponsoring a virtual STEM Summit for those interested in improving STEM Education in Nevada. Government, business, education, non-profit/information education leaders are invited to join together to address STEM gaps in 3 Nevada regions (Southern, Northwestern, Rural).

New Mexico

Indigenous Educators Bridge Native and Western Science in the Classroom

Gregory Cajete stands in front of a classroom full of University of New Mexico students enrolled in a graduate seminar on Indigenous nations and sustainable communities. Cajete is teaching these students about having a relationship with, and responsibility for, the environment. This way of knowing is called Native Science, and it is part of a body of evolving Indigenous knowledge based on generations of learning and direct contact with nature.


Utah Girls in Tech Day Take the Challenge

Utah is committed to accelerating the number of girls in the STEM talent pipeline through a unified effort across industry, community, education and government. This year the Women Tech Council, legislature and Governor worked together to declare March 20 Utah Girls in Tech day. We are excited by the united support for girls in tech.
On this day, we ask parents, educators, companies and communities to engage girls in various opportunities to celebrate girls in tech, learn about tech careers, interact with role models and be inspired to pursue tech careers.

As part of this important day, the Women Tech Council created the GIT Challenge. The challenge is designed to help companies, parents, educators and community to actively create opportunities for girls in STEM and to recognize the amazing work that girls in tech are already doing. Please share your chosen activities on social media using #utgirlsintech – let’s show the nation how engaged Utah is in supporting our girls in tech!


Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium Accepting applications for the 2021 LIFT Project!

The Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium sponsors education and research programs in the state of Wyoming in support of NASA missions, serving as a link between citizens of the state and NASA programs. It is one of 52 consortia representing each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Our programs include research fellowships and internships for students at the University of Wyoming and Wyoming community colleges, scholarship programs for community college students in STEM majors, grants for college and university faculty, and educational resources and programs for Wyoming K-12 students and teachers.

General Topics
Why STEM Needs to Focus on Social Justice

STEM majors earn more than most other majors, and the dearth of Black students in these disciplines is part of why Black college graduates on the whole make so much less than their white counterparts. (Though it’s certainly not the only reason; Black STEM graduates earn less than white ones in the same industries.) It has led many academics to explore why so few Black students study technical subjects. The answer is complex, with structural causes that can date back to elementary school. But according to interviews with multiple Black academics, it’s about far more than just K–12 education. Black students’ disproportionate interest in social justice and the absence of Black STEM majors are causally related. In their courses and jobs, most STEM faculty and employers do not make social change a focus. And for many Black students, that’s a serious problem.

Stereotypes in Language May Shape Bias Against Women in STEM

A new study digs into 25 languages to explore the gender stereotypes in language that undermine efforts to support equality across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. Despite decades of positive messaging to encourage women and girls to pursue education tracks and careers in STEM, women continue to fall far below their male counterparts in these fields.

The researchers set out to examine the effect of language on career stereotypes by gender. They found that the language we speak strongly predicts implicit gender associations. Their work suggests that linguistic associations may be causally related to people’s implicit judgement of what women can accomplish.

Click here to read more. 

25-Year-Old Black Tech Lead in Silicon Valley: I Want to Use my Influence to Combat Systemic Racism

Already in his young career, Kyle Woumn, 25, has had disappointing experiences that are too typical for a Black techie in white Silicon Valley. 

While a computer science student at Georgia Tech, Woumn remembers being one of only one or two Black interns at cloud platform Twilio in San Francisco for two summers running. When he took a job there in 2017 he was one of about six or eight Black engineers at the company, he says. Click here to read more.

Podcast: Black Chemists Discuss Strategies for Dismantling Systemic Racism in Science (Chemical & Engineering News)

In August 2020, Black chemists and allies took to Twitter to celebrate the inaugural #BlackInChem week. The social media campaign highlighted the diversity and accomplishments of Black chemists at all stages of their careers and also created space for candid discussions about the discrimination these scientists face in chemistry. In the latest episode of Stereo Chemistry, host Kerri Jansen and reporter Ariana Remmel hear from Black chemists from a variety of disciplines across academia and industry about the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the chemical sciences and what non-Black allies can do to support Black chemists. 

Click here to read more
Three Steps to Building Equity in the Classroom From the TGR Foundation, A Tiger Woods Charity

The academic year has begun. Back to school shopping was less about clothes and three-ring binders but instead focused on hotspots and laptops. Stress, fear, anxiety – yep, all present. But this school year is different. Very different. What’s particularly troubling is the fantasy we tell ourselves that this will all be over soon and everything will go back to normal. Normal. Let that sink in – was normal really all that great? If it was great, who thought so?

I wonder how we as educators will confront what is in front of us. The challenge isn’t about COVID-19, remote learning and social distancing. It’s about leaning in and taking a hard look at the longstanding problems affecting K-12 education. It’s about admitting that our educational system is not equitable – COVID-19 may have brought that reality closer to the surface, but the gaps have always been there. As educators we must reflect on our roles and accept responsibility to deliver on the promise of providing all students with the chance for success.

We are at an inflection point, one that challenges teachers, and everyone in education, to not succumb to the way things used to be, but instead give voice and energy to what can be for each and every classroom around the country. Now is the time to be nimble and brave enough to know that change is absolutely critical. As leaders, we must create a set of expectations for learning as we move forward and meet the needs of ALL the students we teach.

Click here to read more. 

How the Pandemic is Changing STEM Education
This year’s back-to-school is unlike any other. Parents, teachers, and students are weighing safety against the desire to be in the classroom. Campuses that are usually buzzing with students are nearly empty. Dorms are sites of isolation rather than community, places where students are stuck before the glare of a laptop. Even colleges that have opted to have in-person classes need to prepare to pivot online in case of a COVID-19 outbreak. 

But one type of class is particularly difficult to move online: lab classes. 

Many courses in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—include lab or field classes as practical components to an otherwise theoretical course. Professors are now tasked with converting this experiential learning—which relies on the student’s ability to touch and see and feel the lesson—to a flat, remote interface. 

Click here to read more. 
Personal Interactions are Important Drivers of STEM Identity in Girls

As head of the educational outreach arm of the Florida State University-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Roxanne Hughes has overseen dozens of science camps over the years, including numerous sessions of the successful SciGirls Summer Camp she co-organizes with WFSU.Researchers found that nuanced interactions between teachers and campers at a coding camp for middle school girls as well as among the girls themselves impacted how girls viewed themselves as coders.

Click here to read more.

Intel Foundation Joins STEM Next Opportunity Fund to Launch Million Girls Moonshot

The Intel Foundation is excited to announce a partnership with the STEM Next Opportunity Fund (the legacy organization of the Robert N. Noyce Foundation), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and many other technology and philanthropic leaders to launch a nationwide initiative designed to help close the gender, socioeconomic and racial diversity gaps in STEM fields. The Million Girls Moonshot is a transformative, nationwide movement that will re-imagine who can engineer, who can build and who can invent. 

Just as the original Moonshot nearly 60 years ago united the nation behind a common goal, the Million Girls Moonshot is taking a collaborative, collective impact approach to change the trajectory of women and girls in STEM. It will provide grant funding and in-kind resources such as technical assistance, access to educational resources and STEM mentors to the afterschool networks in all 50 states so they can provide high-quality, immersive STEM learning opportunities to the millions of children who participate in afterschool programs across the nation. 

Click here to read more.

To Value Girls Properly, Plug the Leaky Pipeline in STEM

When I was a girl, I used to watch characters like Murphy Brown and Angela Bower from “Who’s The Boss?” on television. I remember seeing these incredible women workplace role models and how tough and tenacious they were. They got the job done, often in fields primarily dominated by men. 

But while they made for great businesswomen role models, I did not have those same role models in fields related to science, technology, engineering or math. I was fortunate to have a father who encouraged me to do anything I dreamed of, but many young girls today don’t have the same privilege. Even as television yielded to the internet, giving us new ways to connect, girls still struggle to find support and understand the value they bring to the world, especially in STEM.We can help young girls get inspired and want to pursue careers in STEM fields, and we can build better workplaces to help women shine in their roles.

Click here to read more.

Systemic Racism in Higher Education

The nexus of Black Lives Matter protests and a pandemic that disproportionately kills Black and Latinx people highlights the need to end systemic racism, including in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), where diversity has not meaningfully changed for decades . If we decry structural racism but return to the behaviors and processes that led us to this moment, this inexcusable stagnation will continue. We urge academia to combat systemic racism in STEM and catalyze transformational change.

Click here to read more.

SciFest All Access Dates Extended!

SciFest All Access will now be available until October 31st! If you haven't yet had a chance to join us, there is still time! This extension will give attendees more time to explore the seven STEM Zones, watch superstars on the STEM Stage, shop in the STEM Store, and launch careers in the College Career Center! Be sure to register today so you don't miss out on all that SciFest All Access has to offer! If you've already registered, log back in to join us again! Register Today
IM STEM is a network of STEM educators and leaders across six states (CO, ID, NM, NV, UT, and WY) working to support STEM equity at key transition points (middle school to high school and high school to college).
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1744472. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.