37 NSF INCLUDES Projects Funded to Broaden STEM Participation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the recipients of 37 Design and Development Launch Pilots as part of its INCLUDES initiative. NSF INCLUDES invests in alliances and partnerships that seek to broaden STEM participation among underrepresented groups, including women, Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, persons with disabilities, people from rural areas and people of low socioeconomic status. The program was originally developed as a response to a 2013 report by the congressionally mandated NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE), which recommended a new initiative focused on broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM. 

Corporate Foundations Announce Partnerships to Support Active, Hands-on STEM Education

As the school year kicks off, several corporate foundations have announced new commitments to support hands-on K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) experiences for children across the country. These new partnerships continue a trend of corporate funders bypassing funding for STEM curriculum development to focus on active learning experiences that are shown to have positive impact on STEM retention. Among the corporate foundations making announcements include Microsoft Philanthropies, Motorola Solutions Foundation, and Qualcomm.

Recent Research: The Role of Gender in Higher Ed STEM Retention, Ideas to Address Gap

Sixty percent of students drop out or transfer from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and more than 50 percent of students pursuing STEM in community colleges never graduate, according to new research from researchers at the University of Missouri (UM) and other partner institutions. The five-year National Science Foundation-backed (NSF) study is collecting data from 12 engineering colleges in the U.S. and recently reached the conclusion of its second year. The researchers report that the preliminary data also indicates that there may be a statistically significant difference in STEM retention at institutions of higher education between male and female students.

Recent Research: Hands-On STEM Research Experiences Game Changers for Freshmen

In 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released Engage to Excel – a five point strategy to increase the STEM pipeline by an additional one million workers. To achieve this goal of one million additional STEM workers, PCAST highlighted the importance of freshman research experiences for STEM students. Several studies - published over the last two years support the claims made by PCAST regarding the success of freshman research experiences. In a study from the University of Texas-Austin, the authors found that a freshman research program improved the retention of students in STEM fields. Other studies find that participation by freshmen in research experiences provides the building blocks necessary for a career in STEM. The benefits also show similarly high rates of retention after participating in a mentored research program.

Initiatives Announced to Help Young Women Overcome Roadblocks in STEM Education

Several recent studies have identified the roadblocks that females face in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. These two roadblocks include gender bias in the classroom and too few mentors in K-16 STEM fields. In an attempt to increase opportunities for females in STEM education, both federal and foundation funders have announced programs that will increase scholarship and internship opportunities for young women in STEM fields.

States Explore Ways to Expand Computer Science Initiatives

A computer science education is viewed as a valuable prerequisite for many technology jobs, and, as a result, policymakers are responding to make these programs more ubiquitous. In January, the Obama administration announced his $4 billion Computer Science For All proposal, a nationwide effort to help all students from kindergarten through high school learn computer science. A cross-section of businesses, education leaders, and NGOs launched the Computer Science Education Coalition earlier this week, a nonprofit organization focused on encouraging Congress to invest $250 million or K-12 computer science education investments. These federal funds would complement state efforts – such as those detailed here – and spark further state initiatives to expand computer science education, according to the coalition.

NSF Launches New Inclusion Initiative to Broaden Participation in STEM

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it would commit up to $12.5 million in pilot grants to test novel ways of broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). NSF INCLUDES will make up to 40 two-year, pilot awards to support STEM efforts that improve the preparation, increase the participation, and ensure the contributions of individuals from groups that traditionally have been underserved and/or underrepresented in the STEM including women, blacks, Hispanics, and people with disabilities. In the FY17 budget proposal, NSF has requested $16 million for larger, five-year alliance awards according to The new initiative was originally proposed in Broadening Participation in America’s STEM Workforce – a 2012 report from an outside committee that advises NSF on diversity issues. Interested parties must submit their pre-proposals by April 15, 2016. More information is available at:

NGA Launches Pilot Program in Six States to Prepare Teens, Millennials for Middle-Skill, STEM Careers

The National Governors Association’s (NGA) Center for Best Practices launched the 2016 Policy Academy on Scaling Work-Based Learning – a pilot program in six states that blends work experience and applied learning to develop youth and young adults’ foundational and technical skills to expand their education, career and employment opportunities. The goal of the program is to connect 16- to 29-year-olds with middle-skills career opportunities in STEM-intensive industries such as advanced manufacturing, health care, information technology and energy. The six states that will take part in the 18-month pilot program include Indiana, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, and Washington.  Read the press release:

White House, Philanthropic Sector Seek Increased STEM Education Participation

Although the United States remains among the world’s most competitive nations, its ability to effectively deliver quality math and science education hinders its competitiveness, according to the most recent edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.  New commitments ranging from the White House to the philanthropic sector offer opportunities to increase the capacity for American schools to engage in additional STEM activities.

27 U.S. Communities Selected as STEM Learning Ecosystems

The STEM Funders Network (SFN) announced that 27 communities will pilot the national science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Ecosystems Initiative. Launched at the Clinton Global Initiative, the program is intended to nurture and scale effective preK-16 instruction best practices in STEM learning. The new initiative focuses on cultivated cross-sector partnerships with industry, institutions of higher education, government, and foundations to develop specific programs that address the gaps in the community’s current STEM education system. SFN leadership intends to use these 27 communities and future participant communities to develop a platform for a national and regional peer-to-peer professional learning network for communities to share information, expertise and best practices in preK-16 STEM education through meetings, conference calls, web-based meetings, and other web-based methods. Read the announcement…


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