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 Winooski Afterschool Program, Montgomery Elementary (LEAPS), Mt. Abraham Middle School (MAUSD), Visual Eyes Creativity Center, and Gifford Afterschool Program. Great job to all of the staff, youth, UVM CEMS mentors, and guest speakers!

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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.   

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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.


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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.

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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.

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Destination Imagination

A project-based educational program that inspires interest in STEAM and equips students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. Participants work together in teams and develop new friendships as they improve in creative thinking, critical thinking, and collaborative problem solving. Click here for more info.

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.

Vermont Energy Education

What happens when you turn on the lights? How does a solar panel work? What’s the best way to build a windmill? How do our choices about transportation or heating our homes impact the climate? VEEP provides hands-on equipment, lesson plans, workshops and coaching to help you and your students answer these questions and more. Free K-12 curricula for download, and scholarships available to offset fees for kit rentals and workshops.  Click here for more info.

Go2 Science

Beth (teacher) and Curtis (scientist) travel the world doing field research on highly engaging topics, and students have a virtual front-row seat on the action! Each research mission tells a story about the place, its wildlife, and culture, and helps solve real-world problems. Multi-age content includes field videos, hands-on lessons, livestream events, and much more. Join missions live or adventure at your own pace! Embedded professional development helps providers build their own skills while working directly with students. Click here for more info.

Rosie’s Girls

Rosie’s Girls is a STEM, trades, and career exploration program for girls and gender-expansive youth entering grades 6-8. Participants are introduced to a career field that is non-traditional for their gender through hands-on learning in a supportive and empowering environment. In addition to trades and technical learning, Rosie’s Girls includes a social and emotional curriculum known as “Power Skills.” Four different themes are offered: Build, Weld, Explore, and Invent. Partner with Vermont Works for Women to host Rosie’s Girls once a week at your local school or community center and help girls expand their sense of what’s possible. Click here for more info or contact Marla Goldstein ( | 802-655-8900 x115).