STEM Stars is a collaborative project of the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh and Carnegie Science Center. STEM Stars is an after-school enrichment program for middle school girls, which operates in 20 sites in the Pittsburgh area.
The purpose of STEM Stars is twofold …
1) To improve academic achievement and increase interest in, and awareness of, STEM topics and careers among economically disadvantaged girls
2) To decrease opportunity gaps that negatively impact these girls’ successful matriculation through the STEM education pipeline and into STEM careers
STEM Stars addresses barriers associated with middle-school girls’ engagement in STEM: inadequate access, opportunity, academic preparation, and attitudinal barriers that limit success and persistence in STEM.
STEM Stars provides: 1) reading, math, and science remediation and enrichment; 2) hands-on project-based STEM activities; 3) life skills development; 4) mentoring; 5) pre-college experiences; and 6) STEM career exploration.
STEM Stars is operating in 20 sites in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Propel Schools, Woodland Hills School District, Sto-Rox School District, and McKeesport Area School District.
STEM Stars Sites: Allegheny Traditional Academy, Carmalt, McKeesport Founders Hall, McKeesport Francis McClure, McKeesport Twin Rivers, Pittsburgh Classical Academy, Propel (Braddock Hills, Homestead, McKeesport), South Brook, South Hills, Sterrett, Sunnyside, and Woodland Hills.
According to a 2012 Bayer corporation report, a paltry 25 percent of working women and 14 percent of underrepresented minorities are employed in STEM fields — primarily because they were not encouraged or nurtured to pursue STEM studies early on.
While women make up nearly half of the work force in this country, they only occupy a quarter of all STEM-related jobs. Only 10 percent of all engineers are women.
STEM Stars works to reverse this disturbing trend by bringing STEM to middle-school girls, allowing them to explore the fun of STEM and envision themselves in rewarding STEM careers.
STEM Stars targets 825 economically disadvantaged girls in grades 5-8 from Pittsburgh, Woodland Hills, McKeesport and Propel schools. Combined, 75 percent of students from these districts are eligible for free and reduced lunch, an indicator for economically disadvantaged status. 70 percent of families from these districts are considered low-income; 67 percent are minority, and the majority of that group is African-American.
STEM Stars is funded through a grant from the United Way of Allegheny County.