Project Exploration joins US2020 Conference

Kelsey Galante, Project Exploration STEM Co-op Manager, attended the US2020 Convening, hosted at the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, California on November 13. Project Exploration represents Chicago as a City Network member with the US2020 coalition. US2020 supports Chicago’s work focused on Maker education, as well as scaling up the number of STEM mentors and promoting best practices among the mentors. Kelsey led discussions and participated in collaborative workshops with other City Network members from across the country. Through a session facilitated by Chris Nelson of the Association of Science Technology Centers, Kelsey worked with representatives from Cincinnati and Indianapolis to plan a summer collaboration titled, ‘Making in the Midwest—Summer of Science’. As this project moves forward, additional information will be provided. Her favorite session was facilitated by Mk Haley of Disney Imagineers. During this session, Mk offered participants an in-depth perspective of the power of storytelling and offered a new way to think about the power of experiential learning. Kelsey will be applying this idea to the experience at Project Exploration’s West Side STEM Learning Center.

Greenbuild International Conference and Expo

PE as a partner organization of Greenbuild’s Education Outreach Initiative. Kiara Byrd, Project Exploration (PE) Program Manager. attended the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo hosted at Chicago’s McCormick Place on November 14. Kiara participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony, representing PE at the event. PE was a recipient of the Legacy Project Grant with the Illinois Green Alliance. Project Exploration was able to provide STEM professional visits to its Science Giant program held at Al Raby High School through this partnership. The participating STEM professionals offered students advice in navigating educational opportunities aligned with urban agriculture career fields.

National STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice Convening

Project Exploration serves as the backbone organization for the Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative (STEM Co-op), Chicago’s STEM Learning Ecosystem. Twice a year, the 68 National and International STEM Ecosystems participate in a Community of Practice convening. In November, Natasha Smith-Walker, Kelsey Galante, and Cachetta Potts represented Project Exploration and the Chicago STEM Co-op in Newport Beach. During the convening, members participate in various breakout sessions. Project Exploration presented in two different sessions. Natasha presented with Alaine Allen, Ryan Champagne, and Alison Slinskey-Legg from Pittsburgh with the Diversifying Access to Urban Universities for Students in STEM Fields; Linda Christopher, from OC STEM with Supporting Women Advancing Through Technology; and, Andrés Henríquez, Queens.

Kelsey presented with Tricia Berry of the Greater Austin (TX) STEM Ecosystem, Mary Margaret Small, Ed.D. of New York’s North Country STEM Learning Network, and Brigid Dineen of the Flagstaff STEM Learning Ecosystem. Together they discussed how to ‘Run an Ecosystem on a Shoestring Budget’.  As the STEM Co-op’s VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America), Cachetta presented her ‘elevator speech’ and dissected Chicago’s community needs based on daily routines and how to better approach them through categorical strategies. Overall, the Community of Practice convening was a unique experience to share best practices and network nationally and internationally.

 

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