Extending Hands-On STEM Learning Into Summer

New AT&T ASPIRE grant to support teen summer jobs facilitating STEM camp for middle grade youth
Roger Anderson
April 9, 2019

A renewed partnership between Northwestern University and Mather High School will bring nearly 100 elementary and secondary school students to campus for immersive learning and mentorship experiences.

Funded by a $175,000 ASPIRE grant from AT&T, the new Science Explorers Summer Camp pilot initiative with Mather — a Chicago Public School located on the city’s north side — will take place during consecutive summers (2020-21). The Summer Camp builds upon Science Explorers, a highly-successful AT&T-funded mentoring program that provides school-day academic support for 9th graders at Mather, and helps develop non-cognitive skills such as time management and study habits.

The summer program will allow high school alumni of Science Explorers — supervised by adult STEM fellows — to co-facilitate weeklong science learning experiences for middle school students at Northwestern’s teaching laboratories.

“A deep focus on mentoring and relationship-building is core to our work,” said Michael KennedyScience in Society director. “This happens not only between Northwestern mentors and Mather students, but also between teachers and staff in both organizations. I’ve grown tremendously as an educator and advocate for high school youth through this partnership.”

Kennedy was joined by Mather Principal Peter Auffant at an event on April 1 recognizing the successful partnership. AT&T Illinois President Eileen Mitchell awarded the ASPIRE grant in front of a crowd of students, teachers, and politicians. On hand to help celebrate the award were Chicago’s 40th Ward Alderman Pat O’Connor — a Mather alum — and US Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.).

“Mather High School is greatly appreciative of the continued support from Northwestern, our elected officials, and now AT&T — our newest partner,” said Auffant.  “As a neighborhood high school on the rise, it is collaborations through initiatives like this that create the type of learning experiences all students deserve.”

This article originally appeared on Northwestern Research News.

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