Student interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a key to the future success of our economy and creation of job opportunities in these fields. While there has been some increased interest in STEM studies in the past ten years, there is a growing gender gap, with young girls lagging significantly behind in interest. There also is a disproportionately low number of young Black students interested in these fields.
We developed the Young Explorers Club concept as a fun and engaging, yet intellectually challenging program to connect children to the sciences. The program strives to capture the imagination of children at an age when they are most open, perhaps inspiring the next great scientist in our community.
The City of Boston itself is defined as the learning lab for the sciences and technology – the Franklin Park Zoo is actively engaged in around the world in biodiversity studies, climate change, biology and much more. The Museum of Science, New England Aquarium, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, etc. are all amazing resources for teaching and learning STEM. World leading medical institutions and technology companies fuel our economy.
First Woman Astronaut on Mars?
We introduced the Young Explorers Club concept to Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG) – a well established organization founded by Harvard students to mentor young girls in grades three through five in the Boston area. The Darwin Project funded the first year of the Young Explorers – referred to as the Strong Explorers. It was extremely well received by the girls, their families, and the institutions which the girls visited. We then helped SWSG secure a grant for the second year which expanded the number of girls who could participate. SWSG has had positive measurable success in achieving their and Young Explorers’ goal of expanded student interest in studying STEM.