Afterschool and third space programs are a prime space for youth to learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Afterschool STEM programs spark interest by engaging students in hands-on experiences and help them build workforce skills such as collaboration, and foster new ways of thinking such as engineering mindset. Afterschool STEM programs also boost students’ proficiency in math and science, increase their likelihood of graduation, and put them on the path to pursuing a career in the STEM fields.

For more information or to be part of any of these programs, contact Katie O’Shea.

Highlights from the Field

Vermont Afterschool’s Linking Engineering to Life Biomed Course was a success at the Winooski Afterschool Program! One week, the youth designed prosthetic legs to wear during a relay race—great job Winooski staff, students, and our UVM CEMS mentors!


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.   


Vermont Afterschool is also creating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) opportunities and career awareness for youth through STEM Pathways. This program trains high school students in rural areas to deliver STEM content to their local afterschool and summer learning programs. It supports older youth in the work-based learning process by helping them to develop job skills, improve their instructional practices, and connect them to different career paths. STEM Pathways provides jobs for high school students who will receive compensation for their time and are located in areas of the state where finding part-time work can be challenging for youth. It also increases access to STEM programs during the out-of-school time for elementary school-age children.

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The Youth Workforce Development Guide is an invaluable resource for afterschool professionals and high-schoolers to help with the process of employing high school youth.

Vermont Afterschool is also beginning to explore other content areas for which Pathways could be adapted as a career awareness and employability opportunity for high school youth. More to come on these opportunities.



Through our generous funders at STEM Next, we’ve connected with the Possible Futures curriculum from Jobs for the Future, which provides career exploration for learners in 6th–10th grade, so that every young person will gain the foundational knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to make critical decisions about their future with confidence.

In particular, we’re piloting a subset of the curriculum, Growing Myself, curated by our friends at Oregon ASK.  This 12-lesson set focuses on celebrating failure, luck vs. opportunity, self-talk/mindsets, identity, cooperative vs. competitive, culture/membership in groups, their sparks (special skills), and where I am/where I am going.


Vermont Afterschool, in collaboration with the Vermont State Treasurer’s Office, offers an 8-10 week financial wellness program called VerMoney every spring for youth in grades 2-5. This program provides afterschool and out-of-school time programs with a curriculum, training, and materials to teach young Vermonters to become more financially literate.

Teaching students financial concepts early can positively influence how they manage their finances throughout their lives. This curriculum helps young people reflect on the differences between wants and needs, and engages them in making choices about money.

Click here to learn more about VerMoney.

Medquest 2.0 at the Rutland Regional Medical Center

From the Southern Vermont Area Health Education Center (AHEC) signature health careers exploration program for students in Grades 10-12, MedQuest provides high school students an opportunity to explore a wide variety of careers in health care, from the well-known to the unexpected. Through workshops and job shadows, students will have an opportunity to see a variety of careers in the health care workforce. Students will also learn some basic medical skills, medical terminology and be introduced to a variety of career and education tracks. Register by March 15th, 2022.

AgroTek Innovation Program for 7th-12th Graders

UVM and 4-H invite current 7-12 graders to join them for immersive research experiences in agrotechnology.   Through topic-focused Science Cafes, Summer Academies, and Innovation Slams, participants will have an opportunity to learn from UVM faculty, staff and students, conduct their own experiments and share their findings!

As the program launches in 2022, participants will have an opportunity to conduct experiments using an inquiry-based approach to explore four innovative agrotechnology curricula: culturing cells for healthier soils, shifting the waste to value paradigm, creating smarter plastics with plants and using virtual reality for more precise agriculture. Application are due April 1st, 2022.

UME Academy

Tools and resources to teach core STEM curriculum through something kids love, Video Games.  You provide the computers and they provide everything else! Click here for more info.

Mizzen by Mott

Create a free account and gain access to thousands of lessons and activities from all different subject areas and for all ages. Click here for more info.


A global robotics community preparing young people for the future with three different programs: First Lego League (pre-K-8), First Tech Challenge (grades 7-12), and First Robotics Competition (grades 9-12). Click here for more info.

Girls Who Code

Join or start a club through Girls Who Code, which is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. There are clubs for 3rd-5th graders and 6th-12th graders, as well as summer programs and college programs. Click here for more info.

Venture Labs

See how Entrepreneurial thinking brings STEAM to life. Full access (Part I and Part II) to VentureLabs Topics in Entrepreneurship Grades 1-12 curriculum at no cost to any VT program that reaches out to VentureLabs. Click here for more info.