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

2022 End of the Year Appeal

Mentorship Target

$560,250 for 5 years of STEM Education

(raised so far)

2022 Mentorship Goal

We want to reach $200,000 towards funding our mentorship program for the next 4 years. We are providing over 1,000+ hours of STEM Education support for over 300 Teton County Middle School and High School students each semester. Please see below for details.

2022 Scholarship Goal

We want to secure a 2nd $5,000/year scholarship for one local disadvantaged student to attend college at the University of Wyoming. Each student will also receive wrap-around support from First in Family JH during their senior year in high school as well as a paid research and teaching internship for their first three years of college.

Scholarship Target

4 x $5,000/year scholarships

(raised so far)

Important Updates!

We successfully launched and recovered our first high altitude weather balloon! We’ll be showing students how to do this and how to collect data from weather balloon launches in our mentorship programs with AVID, GAP, and other nonprofits this fall.

1st Scholarship Funded!

1st Scholarship Funded!


JEDI in STEM Scholarship and 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 LGBTQIA+ professionals in STEM fields2. The 2021 annual Condition of Education report from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that college acceptance and success rates of affluent students are far greater than those of non-affluent students across the US. We are acutely aware of how economic disadvantages and disabilities can prohibit students from accessing learning opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, gender, or other identifiers. Wyoming Stargazing wants to further our mission of educating and inspiring everyone by increasing Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in STEM. With that goal in mind 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 STEM field. Our goal is to provide mentorship support beginning in elementary school and to provide four $5,000 annual scholarships to deserving local graduating seniors for up to 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. The mentorship component of this program will be done in collaboration with the Teton County School District (TCSD) Achievement via Individual Determination program (AVID), Girl?s Actively Participating (GAP), and other local nonprofit organizations. We will provide STEM learning opportunities for students on a weekly basis beginning in the Fall of 2022 during school hours and after school. Weekly lessons will be offered to both 6th-8th grade students and to high school students throughout the school year. In the summer students will have an opportunity to engage with additional STEM learning opportunities from Wyoming Stargazing in Jackson. Our STEM mentorship lessons will address scientific and mathematical reasoning as well as provide practical opportunities to do science through authentic learning activities including, but not limited to, launching of weather balloons with data collection devices, designing payloads and experiments for the International Space Station, building telescopes, and fabricating and launching nanosats. In addition skills pertaining to emotional intelligence, client communication, writing, financial planning, mindfulness, networking and negotiation, and computer literacy will be woven into the curriculum.

All graduating seniors in Teton County intending to pursue a college degree in the STEM fields will be eligible to apply for the scholarship we offer. However, we will be giving preference to students who demonstrate financial need and whose identities are underrepresented in STEM fields. We will continue to offer weekly STEM mentorship opportunities to our scholarship recipients throughout their time in college as well as to assist them with initial job placement upon graduation. The mentorship program for our scholarship recipients will take place online during the school year and will be a hybrid of online learning and in-person learning during the summers. Scholarship recipients will also receive paid summer 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, 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 STEM opportunities in college will find the support they need within their community to pursue their dreams.

1?STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress In Increasing Gender, Racial And Ethnic Diversity?. Pew Research Center Science & Society, 2021, Link.

2Cech, E. A., and T. J. Waidzunas. ?SySTEMic Inequalities For LGBTQIA+QIA+Q Professionals In STEM?. Science Advances, Vol 7, no. 3, 2021. American Association For The Advancement Of Science (AAAS), Link.


Preliminary Program Design

Scholarship Program Outline

  • Awards
    • $5K annually for up to 4 years of undergraduate education to a maximum of 4 students each year
  • Timeline
    • The first scholarships will be offered to graduating seniors from the class of 2023.
    • Each year up to 4 additional students will receive the scholarship so that after 4 years there can be up to 16 scholarship recipients concurrently enrolled in college each year.
  • Student Criteria
    • Any graduating senior from Teton County can apply for the scholarship, however preference will be given to students who demonstrate large financial need and whose identities are underrepresented in the STEM fields.
    • Students must anticipate majoring in a STEM field at a college, university, or community college of their choosing
  • Student Requirements
    • Complete the Fund for Public Education Application
    • Complete the JEDI in STEM Scholarship Application
    • Complete an interview with the JEDI in STEM Scholarship Steering Committee
    • Enroll full-time at a college, university, or community school
    • Major in a STEM field 
    • Complete two semesters with a GPA above 2.5
    • Complete 1st college year mentorship program (online and in-person)
    • Complete summer employment in STEM related field
    • Upon enrollment in their third semester and with completion of the 1st college year of the mentorship program students can reapply for the scholarship 
  • Structure
    • Financial disbursements and administrative duties and student tracking will be handled by the Fund for Public Education (FPE)
    • The JEDI in STEM Steering Committee will make scholarship award decisions by a simple majority vote
    • Wyoming Stargazing Staff and Admin will be responsible for all marketing advertising, administrative work not handled by the FPE , budgeting, fundraising, and other support work deemed necessary by the JEDI in STEM Steering Committee.
  • Funding Requirements
    • 1st year: $20k; 2nd year: $40k; 3rd year: $60k; 4th and following years: $80K

Mentorship Program Outline

  • Timeline
    • The Mentorship program is currently planned to be rolled out in a sequence of stages beginning in June of 2023.
      • Middle & High School Mentorship
        • The Middle School Mentorship Program will begin in conjunction with the High School Mentorship Program with the High School students mentoring the younger students alongside Wyoming Stargazing Staff and Mentors.
      • College Mentorship
        • The College Mentorship Program will begin in the Fall of 2023 with the first round of JEDI in STEM Scholarship Recipients entering college.
  • Student Requirements
    • Any student from Teton County can apply for the Mentorship Programs, however preference will be given to women, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, other People of Color, students with disabilities, students who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and students who demonstrate large financial need
  • Cost
    • The cost for students to participate in the programs will be dependent on available funding. However, the goal is to make all the programs free of charge except for a small financial commitment of $1/day/student.
  • Structure
    • Wyoming Stargazing Staff will oversee the logistics and mentorship activities of these programs taking directions from the Steering Committee and the Wyoming Stargazing ED.
    • Several other paid and volunteer mentors will assist in planning and day-to-day programming facilitation.
    • High school students will assist as Junior Mentors during the summer and potentially throughout the school year.
    • In-person programming will primarily take place at our office at 1135 Maple Way, but will also occur at partner organization locations and outdoors. We are also using the Thinkific online learning platform to create virtual mentorship components that we will primarily use for our College Mentorship Program during the school year. We will also be drawing from other amazing online resources such as Khan Academy y Schmoop.
    • In the summer of 2023 eight middle school students will be able to participate in a summer camp type experience hosted by Wyoming Stargazing M-F for 4 hours each day. Activities will include nature walks along Josey?s ridge, photography workshops, solar astronomy activities, video and graphic design projects, mindfulness, and special stargazing family nights, among other things. We plan to expand the Middle School Program over the following summers and during the 2023-2024 school year.
    • The High School Mentorship Program will begin in the summer of 2023, but will expand during the 2023-2024 school year to include daily opportunities M-F for local high school students to learn and grow in an adult supervised space. There will be time for relaxing after the school day and more structured time for engaging in learning activities that foster academic and life skills intended to prepare the students for college utilizing Khan Academy, Schmoop, and Wyoming Stargazing designed hands-on authentic learning experiences such as building a cubesat.
    • The College Mentorship program will include weekly-online learning activities during the school year, in-person mentorship and leadership opportunities during the summer and summer opportunities for Internships and employment at Wyoming Stargazing and at other STEM related organizations in Jackson for all Scholarship Recipients. There may be opportunities for students to earn college credit for the summer and school year components of the mentorship program.
  • Funding Requirements
    • 1st year: $19k; 2nd year: $36k; 3rd year: $53k; 4th and following years: $71K

Steering Committee Responsibilities

  • Ensure the integrity, responsibility, and transparency of the  Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion in STEM 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.
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