Project Exploration Wins 2018 STEM Coalition Challenge

by | May 22, 2018 | News

“You cannot be what you cannot see” – Marie Wilson, President, and Founder, The White House Project

Who is US2020?

US2020 works to build the effectiveness of STEM mentoring. US2020’s mission is to change the trajectory of STEM education in America by dramatically scaling the number of STEM professionals engaged in high-quality STEM mentoring with youth. US2020 specifically focuses on programming that supports underserved and underrepresented students. Learn more at

US2020 Invites Communities to Participate in the 2018 STEM Coalition Challenge

US2020 launched The STEM Coalition Challenge, a competition for communities across the country to develop cross-sector partnerships to bring quality hands-on maker-centered learning to underrepresented students at scale through STEM Mentorship. Communities were called on to share their approaches to innovative partnership building, creating sustainable STEM-mentorship pipelines, and embedding maker-centered learning in students’ lives by applying a collective impact approach. The result of this call to action was overwhelming – over 90 communities across the country responded with proposals for new models and solutions to bridge this gap.

Project Exploration was selected from 92 applications from 82 communities across 35 states, representing more than 1,800 nonprofits, companies, school districts, and local government partners. Project Exploration (PE) is honored to have been selected as a finalist in the US2020 Challenge. As a finalist, Project Exploration sent representatives, Natasha Smith-Walker and Kelsey Galante, to attend the US2020 Collaboratory in Pittsburgh in February 2018.

Finalist Participate in the US2020 Collaboratory

The US2020 Collaboratory brought together representatives from all 15 finalist communities and allowed for networking with experts in the field. The Collaboratory provided an opportunity for open communication among all of the US2020 finalists. Project Exploration was able to connect with other finalist communities and share their approach to the work.

US2020 is promoting and allowing for true collaboration. During the Collaboratory there was engaging and focused discussion from stakeholders across the country around equity in STEM education. The Master Classes provided included ‘Creative Story-Making’ and ‘Transition Design and Community Engagement Approaches’. These Master Classes were an incredible opportunity to hear and learn from experts in the field. During the workshop, ‘Blueprinting Your Partnership Journey’, Project Exploration was able to reflect and build off of their current place in the process of coalition building. PE was also able to engage with the workshop, ‘Beyond Financial Investment’ which provided an opportunity to engage with a panel of funders who brought a unique perspective to continuing and identifying partnerships.

Project Exploration is pleased to have taken part in the US2020 Collaboratory and looks forward to continuing to build from connections with finalist communities from across the country. As organizations work together, collective impact will push our youth farther in engaging and learning from STEM Mentors. US2020 provides space to work together to expose and support America’s youth to possibilities they may have never known existed. Only through exposure can we understand the truth of “You cannot be what you cannot see”.

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