About STEM Next

STEM Next: Engaging Learners Everywhere

STEM Next is a national leader in increasing opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning for youth across communities both in and out of school. We are…

A champion for STEM Learning, making the case for STEM learning and systems with evidence, best practice and good communications.

A broker for cross-sector collaboration that assesses gaps, identifies partners and determines collective goals based on each community’s needs, assets and interests.

A builder of systems of support for STEM learning. We don’t fund programs directly but ensure they have the supports they need including partnerships, policy, professional development and evaluation of student outcomes.

A catalyst for investments in STEM learning. With our network of partners, we created the field of STEM learning beyond schools. We know the needs and the opportunities and can make sure that investments matter.

OUR MISSION: STEM Next will work to keep science, technology, engineering and mathematics fun and alive for all youth to solve the nation’s and world’s greatest challenges.

Download our About STEM Next handout.


Ron Ottinger, Director, STEM Next

A national leader and expert in STEM learning, Ron Ottinger is known for his expertise in informal and out-of-school time STEM education and in building collaborations among schools, science centers, communities and afterschool programs that increase STEM learning opportunities for young people. Currently Ron serves as co-chair of the national STEM Funders Network. At the University of San Diego, Ron is the director of STEM Next and continues the work he began as executive director of the Noyce Foundation. For the past nine years, he led the foundation’s strategies and initiatives in informal and out-of-school-time science, focusing on field-building efforts that are marrying afterschool and science.  Prior to joining Noyce, Ron served for fourteen years as National Associate Director of the non-profit AVID Center, which disseminates AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), the nationally acclaimed college preparation program for low-income students.  He was elected to three terms on the San Diego City Schools’ Board of Education from 1992-2004, during a period of major reform of the school system, and was the longest running board president.



STEM Next is pleased to collaborate with partners nationwide including:


STEM Next is generously funded by a seed gift from the Noyce Foundation. After 25 years of working to help young people become curious, thoughtful, and engaged learners, the Noyce Foundation legacy continues at STEM Next.

Download our About the Noyce Foundation handout.

Read The Noyce Foundation Story, 1990-2015: Achieving High Impact with Low Overhead.

Other Funders

  • C.S. Mott Foundation
  • Samueli Foundation
  • Simons Foundation
  • Dozens of local foundations and corporations match the STEM Ecosystems initiative funding in local communities.

University of San Diego

Center for Education Policy and Law

The mission of CEPAL is to understand the complex system of K-16 education and to advance strategic pathways that lead to better student outcomes. Through an integrated approach to research, policy and practice, the center focuses on four key components that impact education: #1 Policy and Law; #2 System-wide Impact; #3 Program and Delivery, and #4 Learning Environment.