AWARD YEAR: 2021
DIRECTOR: ELENA MARIE MAINA
PROJECT TITLE: EXPLORE FEARLESSLY INITIATIVE
A renewed investment from the Student STEM Enrichment Program will enable Student U to continue enhancing the integration of STEM into its middle and high school programming through the "Explore Fearlessly Initiative." One of Student U's six core values is to Dream Fearlessly. We encourage each of our students to dream ambitiously about their future, and then to work to make those dreams come true. We believe firmly that all of our students must have the adequate knowledge, skills, and exposure to pursue and dream fearlessly about STEM careers. The Explore Fearlessly Initiative is Student U’s STEM counterpart to its ‘Read Fearlessly Initiative,’ which was created eleven years ago to enhance literacy skills through culturally relevant and engaging texts. We also believe that our students deserve to have the same level of intention in designed programming when it comes to science and mathematics in order to explore fearlessly. Therefore, the primary goal of the Explore Fearlessly Initiative is to encourage students to be curious, to ask questions and approach those questions as scientists, mathematicians, and researchers, to hypothesize, design experiments, and to explore fearlessly. In partnership with the Student STEM Enrichment Program, Student U will continue improving upon culturally relevant and engaging STEM learning opportunities and experiences from the sixth grade through twelfth grade.
Student U requests $180,000 over three years to continue the Explore Fearlessly Initiative for our 350 middle and high school students. With this support, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund provides a comprehensive seven-year experience to ensure students have the competency and the desire to pursue careers in STEM fields. This project will be integrated into each stage of our current middle and high school programming, which includes Summer Academy for rising sixth through tenth graders, Middle and High School Year-Round Program for afterschool support, and Summer Internship Program for rising eleventh and twelfth graders. By equipping students with the skills needed to access higher-level STEM material while also providing opportunities to apply their knowledge to scientific and mathematical concepts in the real world, the Explore Fearlessly Initiative will foster deep, authentic enthusiasm for STEM.