Project Exploration, proud to host 20 years of celebrating youth!

Project Exploration (PE) hosted its 20th annual Reflection of Knowledge at Cisco Meraki on Thursday, May 16, 2019. This year, the Reflection of Knowledge brought together nearly 50 youth from Sisters4Science, Brothers4Science, and the West Side STEM Learning Center. Each program shared their favorite project from the year, presenting their findings and highlighting the challenges and how they worked through them. Each student received a certificate of completion and their STEM Facilitator spoke about their time together in the program. The culmination of the evening’s celebration was the 8th graders’ participation in a ‘white coat’ ceremony, honoring their time with Project Exploration and wishing them well as they transition to high school.

Last year at this time Project Exploration was wrapping up three programs at the new West Side STEM Learning Center and ten school-based programs. This year, PE had ten successful programs at the West Side STEM Learning Center and ten school-based programs. Total programming numbers grew by over 150%! We’re incredibly proud of the work that our PE staff, facilitators, and youth successfully completed year. We’d also like to send a special thanks to our program partners —and funders who make this work possible.

A Big THANK YOU to Those Who Make This Work Possible

As the backbone organization of the Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative—Chicago’s STEM Learning Ecosystem—Project Exploration is able to leverage many program partners to help make our work possible.

Thank you to After School Matters, Scientists for Tomorrow, FUSE Studio, Girls Who Code, Ten80 Education, Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation, LEGO Education, Apple Education, FIRST Robotics, Design Squad Global, and SciGirls! Each of these incredible partners have either visited a program, joined Project Exploration through a program partnership, or provided curriculum and professional development to our instructors. It is only through these kinds of collaborations that there can be sustainable systems change and equitable access to high-quality STEM opportunities.

Thank you to supporters of Project Exploration who believe in our mission. We appreciate the support from the Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Family Support Services (DFSS), the Boeing Company, and the Motorola Solutions Foundation. Without your support, Project Exploration would not be able to provide transformative learning opportunities for Chicago’s youth.

STEM Mentorship and Learning Through Relationships

Project Exploration STEM Facilitators have worked with our youth on engineering projects, developed apps, and even participated in sea urchin dissections during this past program session! The STEM Facilitators have put in countless hours of preparation to ensure that our youth are participating in authentic science.

“To be successful in the long-term [a] continuous series of mentoring opportunities might be most effective in growing the number of STEM professionals generally and closing race and gender gaps in STEM industries and academia. What seems to be most needed, yet rarely provided to youth, are STEM opportunities across their childhood into adolescence and young adulthood. Varied mentoring relationships (and programs) over time, each providing the right boost to engagement and self-efficacy at the right moment, may be most effective for helping youth overcome barriers to their STEM participation and persist in the face of institutional or systemic inequities.” STEM Mentoring – Supplement to the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring (p 12)

Building STEM mentorships and relationships are essential parts of working with youth. Project Exploration’s STEM Facilitators have continued to grow over the past months in their implementation of high-quality programming. Learn more about our STEM Facilitators!

Program Opportunities

Project Exploration is excited to continue preparation for our Summer of STEM day camp at the West Side STEM Learning Center in collaboration with BUILD Inc. PE is also launching an Explore-level high school program in collaboration with After School Matters.

Learn more about how to get involved with the program by contacting Program Managers, Lisa Heineman, and Kelsey Galante,

See all our students presenting their projects!

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