STEM Explorers is an after-school program that provides Hispanic/Latina(o) high school students with hands-on, inquiry-based STEM learning. It encourages participants to develop an interest in environmental sciences, sustainability and STEM fields by exposing them to real-world STEM applications and problems through an interactive program curriculum. The program serves 25 to 30 high school juniors and seniors per school location with an emphasis on ensuring that Latinas represent at least half of each class as Latinas are the most underrepresented group in STEM careers.
Workshops are facilitated once a month by STEM-certified instructors and designed to inspire and prepare participants to pursue a course of study that leads to undergraduate degrees in STEM-based fields of study. Program activities are exciting and interesting and focus on a variety of topics including environmental science, sustainability, engineering, nanotechnology, physics and energy. The participants also receive practical advice and encouragement about pursing a STEM degree by interacting with Latina and Latino STEM mentors and role models. By connecting participants with minority engineers, technologists, and other professionals, STEM Explorers' students are presented with new pathways and opportunities in STEM fields.
For spring and summer 2020, the STEM Explorers program served 21 Latino students, consisting of 52% male and 48% female, at Hillsboro High School in Hillsboro, Oregon. Students were exposed to over 35 hours of STEM-focused curriculum. The summer component, as part of the four-week Migrant and Dual Language Program, offered one week of STEM instruction (five two-hour sessions). In 2020-21, the program was relocated to Albuquerque, NM
"Participating in the STEM Explorers Program was a great experience for me. Since the program was virtual, my favorite thing was learning about sharing documents on the Google platform. The Fossil Forensics and National Museum of Nuclear Science and History tour were very interesting and I learned a lot from them. Overall this was a great learning opportunity. I am very glad that I was able to participate in these activities."
− Vianey, Valley High School
"I really enjoyed the STEM Explores program because it showed me many of the careers that are available in the science field. I also enjoyed learning about technology and how to use google because it has really helped me with my school work."
- Joseph, Valley High School