Science Club Reveals "Secret Sauce" in Dimensions Magazine

Paige Edmiston
September 16, 2017

Dimensions, a print magazine published by the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), featured Science Club in the publication's special edition focused on inspiring growth through mentorship. 

Science Club – Science in Society’s mentor-based afterschool science program for middle schoolers – is designed to connect in-school and out-of-school learning for underserved youth in Chicago and Evanston.

Rigorous evaluation demonstrates that Science Club increases youth science skills, interest, and identity, leading to a dramatic increase in alumni choosing post-secondary STEM majors. 32% of college-aged Science Club alumni are now enrolled in STEM majors. Before Science Club, only 1 out of 100 students from the program’s first site, the Pederson-McCormick Boys & Girl Club, entered a STEM track in college. (Read more about Science Club outcomes and evaluation here.) 

So what are the key ingredients to Science Club’s success?

In the Dimensions article, Science in Society staff and Jennifer Koerner, a 6th-grade teacher, reveal Science Club’s secret sauce and discuss five factors that have been key to the program’s success:

  1. Bridging school and afterschool learning through authentic partnerships.
  2. Use a “Quality Triangle” Framework: strong curriculum and structure; effective programmatic supports structures and leadership; and a deep focus on training, learning, and capacity-building mechanisms.
  3. Invest in mentor training and support. 
  4. Commit to youth development, not just STEM.
  5. Invite youth of all abilities.

The article, Science Club’s Secret Sauce, was published in the July/August 2017 edition of Dimensions. View the issue overview and learn more about Dimensions here

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