Empowering Diversity in STEM: Wyoming Stargazing’s Scholarship and Mentorship Program

Calculations used in one of the STEM fields

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields have long been the backbone of innovation and progress in society. However, numerous studies have highlighted the underrepresentation of women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ professionals in these crucial domains. Additionally, economic disparities have hindered the access of many talented students to STEM education. At Wyoming Stargazing, we believe in the power of education to transform lives and foster a more diverse and inclusive STEM workforce. To further our mission, we are proud to introduce our groundbreaking scholarship and mentorship program aimed at empowering opportunity youth to pursue degrees in STEM fields.

Promoting Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in STEM

Wyoming Stargazing is committed to promoting Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in STEM. Our program seeks to break down barriers and offer learning opportunities to all students, regardless of their ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, gender, economic background, or any other identifiers that may have previously limited their access to education.

The STEM Mentorship Component

We understand that the journey from school to a successful STEM career can be daunting, which is why our program includes a comprehensive mentorship component. Collaborating with the Teton County School District (TCSD) Achievement via Individual Determination program (AVID), Girl’s Actively Participating (GAP), and other local nonprofits, we provide students with valuable personal and  professional skills to thrive not only in college but throughout their lives. The mentorship will span from middle school to high school, college, and beyond.

Engaging STEM Learning Opportunities

Starting in the Fall of 2022, we offer weekly learning opportunities during school hours and after school to 6th-8th grade students and high school students. These hands-on lessons will delve into scientific and mathematical reasoning while providing practical experiences through authentic activities such as launching weather balloons with data collection devices, designing experiments for the International Space Station, building telescopes, and launching nanosats. Furthermore, we understand the importance of holistic development, so our curriculum includes skills like emotional intelligence, client communication, writing, financial planning, mindfulness, networking, negotiation, and computer literacy.

The STEM Scholarship Program

We recognize the financial challenges many students face in pursuing higher education, especially in STEM fields. Our scholarship program is designed to support graduating seniors in Teton County who intend to pursue STEM degrees. While all eligible students are encouraged to apply, we give preference to those demonstrating financial need and belonging to underrepresented communities in STEM. Selected recipients will receive four $5,000 annual scholarships, renewable for up to four years of college.

Continued Support and Summer Opportunities

Our commitment to our scholarship recipients extends beyond college admission. We continue to offer weekly STEM mentorship opportunities throughout their college journey and assist them with initial job placements upon graduation. Additionally, during summers, scholarship recipients have the chance to engage in paid summer employment at Wyoming Stargazing, which complements their mentorship program.

Building a Supportive Community

Wyoming Stargazing boasts a dedicated team with extensive youth mentorship and leadership experience, scientific training, astronomical knowledge, and business acumen. Together with our local steering committee, administrative support from the Fund for Public Education, and other valuable community partnerships, we are determined to provide unwavering support to local students in pursuit of their STEM dreams.

At Wyoming Stargazing, we firmly believe that diversity is essential for driving innovation and progress in STEM. Our scholarship and mentorship program aims to level the playing field, providing every deserving student with equal opportunities to excel in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Through JEDI principles, hands-on learning experiences, and continued support, we are excited to contribute to a more inclusive and diverse future for STEM professionals. Join us on this journey of empowerment and change! if you have any questions please contact us, we’re happy to provide additional information.

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