On December 20th, the Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative (STEM Co-op) convened virtually.

The convening featured a presentation on STEM Signing Day (SSD), a Co-op initiative driven by The Boeing Company and Co-op leadership. STEM Signing Day is an annual event honoring Awardees of the STEM Signing Day Scholarship, a $1,000 scholarship awarded to exceptional students who intend to pursue a STEM degree at a two- or four-year institution. The scholarship is aimed at students who are underrepresented in STEM, with the Co-op supporting 50 SSD Chicago and 10 SSD Gary Honorees. In addition to the scholarship money and STEM Signing Day event, Honorees are paired with STEM Mentors, professionals who volunteer their time to provide advice and resources to SSD Honorees throughout their first year of college.

Following this presentation, the Co-op highlighted two new makerspaces around the city: Maker U at Michele Clark High School and the new Innovation Lab at Project SYNCERE’s Bronzeville location. Maker U provides creative and entrepreneurial opportunities for students, parents, and community members. Project SYNCERE’s Innovation Lab is used to teach college-level engineering skills to local high school students and has complete woodworking and leather-working stations, as well as a UR3 robot arm for automation. View the full meeting’s presentation below to learn more about these exciting new spaces!

Finally, the Co-op discussed ongoing and potential future supports for students as they approach and begin their journey in higher education. Members highlighted their own organizations’ efforts, such as scholarships and mentorship programs. Members also brainstormed possible new initiatives to support students, such as structured peer-to-peer mentorship and college-focused citywide STEM convenings.

Presentation Recap

Natasha Smith-Walker represents the Co-op at the White House

On December 12th at 9:00 A.M. CST, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, hosted the White House Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence. Among the many distinguished speakers at the Summit was Co-op member and Executive Director of Project Exploration, Natasha Smith-Walker. We are proud to have had such strong representation at an event that features many of the people that will continue to shape the state of STEM education in the United States for years to come.

CPS STEM on Social Media

Chicago Public Schools’ STEM Department is revamping its social media efforts. Make sure to follow along on all social media sites in order to receive up-to-date information on CPS’ STEM efforts, initiatives, events, and opportunities. Look for the social media handle ‘@cpsSTEM‘ on all platforms. Take a look at the department’s Twitter and Facebook pages for more info! 

Chicago Learning Exchange Computer Science Community of Practice

Chicago Learning Exchange is launching a Community of Practice (CoP) for CS Out-of-School-Time organizations and educators! Please complete the form linked below with your contact info and to share some of the questions or areas of focus you’d like to tackle with a CoP. The CoP will be open to CS education practitioners, primarily in OST spaces but with relevant involvement from in-school educators and administrators. Any individual or organization member is invited to participate, regardless of whether they are leaders in the CS space or emerging into the field.


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