STEM Santa Fe
STEM Santa Fe engages a community of practice of STEM professionals who volunteer to deliver high quality, project-based STEM learning experiences to underserved youth in northern New Mexico. They aim to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM by designing programs that focus on students in groups underrepresented in STEM, especially girls, Hispanics, Native Americans, and students from low-income backgrounds.
STEM Santa Fe continues to deliver hands-on STEM education while focusing on some of the needs of our community that became especially vital during the pandemic: bolstering students’ engagement and addressing social-emotional learning while keeping their adult volunteers connected to the community. They persevered with all hands-on programming virtually by distributing materials and kits prior to each virtual workshop, and created a technology lending library to ensure the best experience for all students.
The mentor-student relationship is central to their work: aside from teaching students STEM skills, the experience enhances the development of both students and mentors. Working on teams of peers while guided by mentors supports students’ social-emotional learning, helping them improve their communication, problem solving, and growth mindset. STEM Santa Fe supports all mentors with training and orientation sessions that boost their skills in leadership and youth development work. College student mentors gain job experience with competitive wages and build confidence in their own skills. Even the STEM professionals who volunteer with students benefit from the relationship: they value the opportunity to give back to their community, gaining a feeling of fulfillment through using their expertise to help youth.
STEM Santa Fe continues to grow through the generosity of our community! They are always working to augment their programming and reach more students, currently serving around 600 students a year from all over northern New Mexico.
The Santa Fe Community Foundation invited its nonprofit grantees to submit stories related to its May topic of Education.