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.

One way Vermont Afterschool is helping promote these skills in the third space is through the Linking Engineering to Life 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.

Linking Engineering to Life (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 & 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. The program will be offered during the 2021-2022 school-year with afterschool LEL clubs (in-person or virtual) running across Vermont. 

Check out our LEL virtual showcase from the 2020-2021 cohort!