CISTEME365 is one step closer to launching STEM Clubs across state

8/5/2019 Ryann Monahan, ECE ILLINOIS

CISTEME365 is one step closer to bringing engineering design and project-based learning to middle and high school students. Watch the story and hear from those impacted.

Written by Ryann Monahan, ECE ILLINOIS

New Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) clubs will soon be set up at schools across the state of Illinois. Counselors, teachers, and enrichment specialists engaged in intensive professional development at a 10-day summer institute held in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The first week of the institute focused on micromessaging, equity and access, and STEM careers, while the second week introduced the technical content for launching the STEM clubs. 
Catalyzing Inclusive Stem Experience All Year Round (CISTEME365) is an educational research project that is studying the synergistic effect of counselor and teacher development with year-round access to informal STEM learning experiences for students.  Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project aims to help more than 1,000 students in Illinois.
Lynford L Goddard
Lynford L Goddard
Professor Lynford L Goddard explained, “We want to understand how these STEM clubs and scholarship opportunities for students to come to a summer engineering or science camp at the University of Illinois impacts what we call a student’s self-efficacy, which is the belief in themselves to be able to do certain tasks.” 
The participants from each of the five schools in the 2019 cohort form respective IDEA teams.  IDEA stands for “Inclusion,” “Diversity,” “Equity,” and “Access.” Participants seek to promote these ideals at their schools.
“This grant could help us engage more of our students and grant them more accessibility and more connections to degrees that are STEM influenced,” Nancy Rodriguez, a post-secondary coach at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy in Chicago said. 
“Exposing our students to STEM pathways is very important. I believe that making sure that they understand how their interests connect to the variety of STEM fields,” emphasized Stephanie Miller, a counselor at Smyth Elementary School in Chicago.
“We had one teacher today talking about how they don’t have any programs like this in the Urbana High School and how he really wants to bring it back to his students — people of all backgrounds, interested in math, science or not,” explained Maddie Wilson (BSEE ’19), who along with ECE ILLINOIS junior Wynter Chen, were the two student instructors for the second week of the institute.
Once the participants return to their respective schools, they will receive STEM learning supply kits, many put together by Professor Goddard himself. Goddard says they are working on logistics on delivering the kits across the state, but given the total weight, he just might be driving and delivering the supply kits himself.
CISTEM365 is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE), Loyola University, Chicago, and the University of North Carolina Greensboro, together with schools and districts, industry, and career and technical education centers across the state of Illinois. 
Catalyzing Inclusive STEM Experience All Year Round (CISTEME365) is funded by the National Science Foundation through the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program managed by the Division of Research on Learning.

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This story was published August 5, 2019.