IMG_9404After an action-packed day of discussion, connection, and creation, the groups came together to share what they’d learned, and discuss next steps.  The big lessons from the report-outs can be viewed in our blog post about the breakouts themselves, but there was a palpable sense of wanting to race ahead in partnership, making science accessible, and using it to inspire, educate and support youth in our community.  The concrete next steps that we heard at the end of the day included social media networks for members of Chicago’s STEM OST community, IMG_9631including a Linkedin group where lively discussions are already occurring, a Twitter feed where the conversation continues, as well as plans for another convening in the spring.  Find us on Twitter, @ChicagoSTEMOST, and use the hashtag #ChicagoSTEMOST to tag us in your posts. Lots of connections were made, business cards were exchanged, and a real desire among attendees to keep talking, collaborating, and using what they’ve got to collectively reach Chicago’s youth was obvious.

We want to thank attendees, and remind everyone, whether you attended, couldn’t make it, or were watching from afar, that the event was just the IMG_9094beginning.  Think of it as the homecoming dance for STEM in OST in Chicago – we came, we partied, and now it’s game time!  The real work and fun begin now, and each of us is part of it.  We’re looking forward to hearing your unique voice in the conversation, meeting new people in our community, seeing you all connect with each other, and seeing more youth served with outstanding STEM OST programs than ever before.  We encourage you to join in on Twitter and Linkedin, and to check this blog often, where we’ll post resources on an ongoing basis, and hear from members of our community.

We thank our funders, including the Noyce Foundation, the Chicago Foundation for Women, and Chicago Hive Network, as well our leadership team, IIT for beautifully hosting us, and most importantly, our fellow STEM OST professionals – a vast network of talented individuals dedicated to supporting STEM, supporting youth, and helping our community reach its fullest potential, leveraging our greatest asset – our youth – to meet the STEM-driven challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century.