Elevating Unconventional STEM Career Pathways

Students aren’t often presented with information that describes the variety of opportunities available for careers in STEM. The lack of access and information has an even more drastic impact on students of color. Anne Kornahrens, former STEP-UP project Manager from the American Physical Society, noticed this challenge and wanted to design a solution that would bring knowledge about ways to navigate STEM careers while also highlighting the systemic challenges faced by underrepresented groups. She submitted the topic for this Project Team, which was aligned with 100Kin10’s catalyst focus on equity in high school STEM, to design a mechanism to support high school STEM teachers to meaningfully highlight and engage students around unconventional STEM career pathways.

The team ultimately decided to design the Toolkit for Teachers' Self Advocacy Around Social Justice in STEM that explicitly addresses systemic challenges and disparities within STEM education and careers. The toolkit shares context for why STEM should be taught through a method that is culturally responsive to all students regardless of their racial identity and background and provides Stakeholder Letter templates, a method to gain support and advocacy from supporters or those with power and influence such as administration, fellow teachers, parents of students or community members. The toolkit is open-source and anyone in the network (and beyond!) can access and use it. Members of the team are currently implementing the work in their contexts.