We are delighted to announce that the National Science Foundation has awarded MMSA a 5-year $2.4 million dollar project to promote STEM learning outside of school in rural Maine. The project creates and studies an innovative model of “STEM Guides,” people who will identify our state’s many STEM resources and connect 10- to 18-year-old students and their families with these resources. Partners on the project are 4-H, the Maine Maritime Academy, Cornerstones of Science, and the Education Development Center.
The Reach Center project initially launched two STEM networks or “hubs”; one in Dexter and the other on the Blue Hill Peninsula. These hubs each will serve about 800-1,000 middle and high school students by connecting them with people who serve as STEM guides and with a range of out-of-school STEM opportunities. Each of the regions has a significant number of STEM resources, such as clubs, 4-H programs, summer camps and people who know STEM through their careers or hobbies. Alyson Saunders has served as the lead STEM Guide in Dexter, where the launch was held on December 14, 2012. The initial learning through the Reach Center project led MMSA staff to submit a proposal to the National Science Foundation to create this larger project, which will expand to five STEM hubs over five years.