Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) In Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Initiative

Scholarship & Mentorship Program

According to a report published by the Pew Research Center in April of 2021, women and people of color were underrepresented in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce as of 20181. Another study published in January of 2021 revealed systemic inequalities for LGBT professionals in STEM fields2. Wyoming Stargazing wants to further our mission of educating and inspiring everyone by increasing Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in STEAM. So, we’re creating a scholarship and mentorship program for opportunity youth to attend a university or community college so that they can successfully earn a degree in a STEAM field. Our goal is to provide wrap-around mentorship support beginning in middle school and to provide four $5,000 annual scholarships to deserving local graduating seniors through four years of college.

In the mentorship program students will gain valuable personal and professional skills to help them succeed in college and throughout the rest of their lives. This program will also support students through their transitions from middle school to high school to college and then to a professional career, which can be exceptionally daunting. Mentorship content will include, but will not be limited to: scientific reasoning, emotional intelligence, astronomy and physics basics, client communication, writing skills, financial planning, mindfulness, computer literacy, math, professional resilience, creative storytelling, and much more. The mentorship program will take place online during the school year and will be a hybrid of online learning and in-person learning during the summers. Grant recipients will also receive seasonal employment opportunities at Wyoming Stargazing that dovetail with the mentorship program.

Wyoming Stargazing has a staff and Board of Directors with strong youth mentorship and leadership experience, scientific training, astronomical knowledge, and business acumen. Along with a local steering committee that we are currently forming, administrative support from the Fund for Public Education, and other incredible community partnerships we have an amazing opportunity to do so much more to support local students than we ever have before. Our hope is that students who might have otherwise lacked access to STEAM opportunities in college will find the support they need within their community to pursue their dreams.


UPDATES

The WY NASA Space Grant Consortium committed $7,500/year for this initiative!


Steering Committee and Mentor Responsibilities

We’re currently putting together a group of Mentors and Steering Committee made up of educators, scientists, other other professionals; we’re also researching other scholarships and talking with stakeholders in the JH community about how to create an ideal scholarship and mentorship program for local opportunity youth.

If you’d like to get involved with this initiative please reach out to our Executive Director, Samuel Singer. He can be reached by phone 307-413-4779 or by email Samuel@wyomingstargazing.org

Steering Committee Responsibilities

  • Ensure the integrity, responsibility, and transparency of the  Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion in STEAM Scholarship and Mentorship Initiative to support deserving local youth.
    • Meet in-person or via Zoom as a complete advisory board on a quarterly basis and on a monthly basis during application times (February – May).
      • Provide guidance on Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion best practices
      • Articulate mission and goals of the program with non colonial language
      • Review and make recommendations for the mentorship program
      • Adopt unconscious bias and other related trainings for Advisory Board
      • Evaluate and adopt cultural inclusive application processes, scholarship description, etc. (Define a pathway to success)
      • Define eligibility criteria for application
      • Define scholarships requirements for application & 4-yr requirements
      • Create scholarship scoring rubric
      • Essays? Creative Identity Statement? Bilingual or non-English materials?
      • Decide how to access financial need and balance that with merit
  • Help to create a fun and safe space for Student Scholarship Applicants during the application process and for Student Recipients during the Mentorship program.
  • Select Student Scholarship Recipients
    • Review students’ standard written applications from the Fund for Public Education.
    • Participate in 20-min interviews with each Student Candidate
    • Participate in other TBD application activities (e.g. cell phone video)
    • Make final decisions of Recipients
    • Notify students and Fund for Public Education

Mentor Responsibilities

  • Review and make recommendations for the Mentorship program
  • Complete Mentorship training activities with other mentors
  • Participate in creating online and in-person Mentorship Activities
  • Participate in monthly Group Mentoring Activities
  • Mentor one or more of the Student Grant Recipients throughout the school year
    • Weekly monitoring of students’ progress on online mentoring platforms
    • Monthly or biweekly 30-min. Zoom check-ins with one or more students
    • Communicate student progress and any concerns to the Advisory Board.
  • Participate in at least one 3-hr online or in-person Mentorship Activity for Student Recipients during the summer.
  • Mentors are strongly encouraged to attend all Advisory Board meetings and to be Advisory Board members.

1“STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress In Increasing Gender, Racial And Ethnic Diversity”. Pew Research Center Science & Society, 2021, https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2021/04/01/stem-jobs-see-uneven-progress-in-increasing-gender-racial-and-ethnic-diversity/.

2Cech, E. A., and T. J. Waidzunas. “Systemic Inequalities For LGBTQ Professionals In STEM”. Science Advances, Vol 7, no. 3, 2021. American Association For The Advancement Of Science (AAAS), https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abe0933.

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