Linking Engineering to Life

Linking Engineering to Life 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.

Our Linking Engineering to Life Basics Engineering youth had a blast touring Beta Technologies’ Burlington airport facility and seeing firsthand the cool STEM opportunities that exist for them.

LEL is offered as a BASICS engineering course (electrical, civil, environmental) in the fall and a BIOMEDICAL engineering course in the spring.

As a mentor, you will:
  • Guide youth in age-appropriate engineering challenges using the engineering design process
  • Instill the practices of an engineering mindset
  • Facilitate conversations about equity and inclusion for women in engineering
  • Expand your communication and leadership skills
  • Be virtual, in-person, or hybrid
What to know:
  • LEL Basics starts the week of September 18, 2023
  • LEL Biomedical Engineering starts the week of January 22, 2024
  • You can choose Basics and/or Biomedical
  • Each program runs for 10 weeks, with 1.5-hour sessions per week
  • Three hours/week time commitment

Sign up to become a STEM mentor!

Thanks to the support of STEM Next, Vermont Afterschool has developed Linking Engineering to Life aimed specifically at middle school girls and non-binary youth who have historically been underrepresented in STEM fields as part of the Million Girls Moonshot initiative.

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. This application is for LEL BIOMED this spring.

What Does Your Program Receive?
  • Engineering program for middle school girls and non-binary youth
  • Full guidebook
  • Program materials kit
  • 1-3 college student mentors from UVM, Norwich, or VTC to lead the program (most will be virtual with some being in person depending on the distance)
  • Training for staff and mentors the week of January 22, 2024
  • Guest speakers (female engineering professionals) coming in to speak with the girls and bring in career exploration aspects
What Are the Requirements?
  • Run a 10-week engineering program (90 minutes once per week) at your afterschool site(s) for girls and non-binary youth in grades 5-8 starting the week of January 29 and ending the week of April 15.
  • One (or more) staff running the program.
  • Participate in a virtual training the week of January 22.
  • Support your college student mentors and communicate regularly.
  • Collect photos of youth engaged in the program and share with Vermont Afterschool; ensuring that youth in any photos have a completed VA photo release form.
  • Create a video of youth and participate in the end of the program showcase.
  • Participate in program evaluation and outcomes reporting.
Who is Eligible?

Afterschool and out-of-school time programs serving youth in grades 5-8 are eligible to take part in LEL.

This application is due by 5:00 pm on January 10, 2024 but there are limited spaces available. 

Submit your program LEL application!