One way Vermont Afterschool is helping promote these skills in the third space is through the Linking Engineering to Life (LEL) curriculum. Thanks to the support of STEM Next, Vermont Afterschool has developed this program aimed specifically at girls and non-binary youth who have historically been underrepresented in STEM fields as part of the Million Girls Moonshot initiative.
LEL works to eliminate barriers of participation by recruiting diverse youth and training afterschool program leaders on how best to include youth from a spectrum of economic, geographic, racial, and gender identities. Middle school girls and non-binary students have access to an exciting hands-on curriculum, including all materials and activities, as well as college-aged mentors who are currently studying a STEM topic. LEL is offered as a BASICS engineering course in the fall and a BIOMEDICAL engineering course in the spring. Basics focuses on all different aspects of engineering (i.e., electrical, civil, environmental) and Biomedical focuses on biomedical engineering, with activities such as creating a prosthetic device for your leg. You can sign up for either semester and there are no prerequisites.
Check out our LEL virtual showcase from the fall 2021 Basics cohort!