Making Connections to Support STEM Pathways and Transitions

Connections between and across STEM learning settings and experiences can promise to foster meaningful, lifelong STEM learning for youth, yet the detailed and concrete mechanisms for how this learning is connected remains unclear. Little is known about how STEM learning is connected in systematic and sustainable ways.

Making Connections, aims to understand and support transitions and handoffs that remove barriers for youth by connecting STEM learning across ages and settings, ensuring youth interest and motivation persists.

These products are based on research conducted through a collaboration between the Connected Learning Lab at University of California Irvine and STEM Next and their regional partners. It was made possible thanks to the generous support of The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Samueli Foundation.

These eight still-evolving strategies are intended to serve as tools for making connections across settings to support STEM transitions and unlock academic, workforce-related, and civic opportunities for all youth, especially underrepresented groups like girls, youth of color, and youth from low-income families.

Strategy 1: Wraparound Models

Leveraging a wraparound model to address holistic needs to support STEM learning and development

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Strategy 3: Community

Giving back to one's community through STEM / STEAM­ related activities

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Strategy 5: STEM Career Interest

Translating youth interests into STEM career and entrepreneurship opportunities

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Strategy 7: STEM Repository

STEM repository building through the curation of an online tool to link young people to STEM opportunities

Strategy 2: In & Out-of-School Coordination

Coordinating between in school and out-of-school settings to cultivate youths' STEM interests

Strategy 4: Neer-Peer Mentors

A near-peer mentorship model to support transitions to STEM academic and career opportunities through mentorship

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Strategy 6: Family Relationships

Building relationships with families and youth to get buy-in for pursuing immersive STEM opportunities

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Strategy 8: Open Portfolios

Open portfolios to track STEM learning and progress across settings

More Resources

Research: The Connected Learning Research Network: Reflections on a Decade of Engaged Scholarship

This report from the Connected Learning Research Network (CLRN) presents a vision for understanding and revitalizing the ways in which we support learning during these changing times. This report synthesizes a varied set of content and perspectives: empirical research on the changing landscape of new media and learning, design principles, evaluation approaches, learner and case studies oriented to identifying and spreading positive innovations.

Toolkit: Brokering Youth Pathways: A Toolkit for Connecting Youth to Future Opportunities

This Hive Research Lab toolkit explores the various ways in which out-of-school educators and professionals have approached the challenge of brokering – supporting the identity development, social capital building and long-term, interest-driven learning across settings actively connecting program participants to new learning opportunities.

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