What We Do

This video about Project Exploration’s Youth-Science Pathways model was produced by Free Spirit Media and funded by the HIVE Network.

Project Exploration’s mission is to make science accessible to the public—especially minority youth and girls—through personalized experiences with science and scientists. We work with nearly 250 middle and high school Chicago Public School students annually in out-of-school time settings.

Project Exploration targets students who are open-minded and curious; we particularly focus on young people who may be struggling academically. Project Exploration fosters and supports long-term relationships with our participants. After getting students interested in science, we focus on keeping them interested and building their capacity to continue their interests through high school and beyond. All of our programs are free, eliminating the cost barrier that prevents low-income students from accessing dynamic out-of-school time science programs.

Project Exploration specifically recruits students who are historically underrepresented in science professions—women and minority groups, in particular those from low income backgrounds: 70% of program participants are female, and 30% are male; 63% are African American, 35% Latino, 1% Caucasian, and 1% Other. By focusing on, and showing success with, these populations Project Exploration is addressing critical issues facing STEM education today: inequality of opportunity, lack of diversity, and workforce development.

Project Exploration’s impact on changing the face of science has been recognized locally and nationally: In 2009 Project Exploration received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Mentoring from the White House and was named a national model for leveling the playing field in science in 2010 by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In 2011 Project Exploration received the Excellence in Summer Learning award from the National Summer Learning Association and Project Exploration cofounder Gabrielle Lyon was recognized as a Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Magazine.

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