YOU Belong in STEM

This week national STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice celebrated National STEM Day by encouraging STEM ecosystems around the country to make a YOU Belong in STEM Commitment, recognizing the unique power learning ecosystems have to foster belonging in STEM for ALL students. The goal? To ensure that all students and educators, no matter their background, know without hesitation that they have a place in STEM classrooms and careers.

This is an easy “yes” for the KC STEM Alliance because fostering a sense of belonging in STEM is a priority in our work to prioritize equity, access and inclusion in STEM education in the region.

Our series on closing the gender and racial gaps in STEM education both underscored the importance of helping students of all backgrounds feel invited, welcome and confident they belong.

We’re excited to support the U.S. Department of Education’s YOU BELONG IN STEM initiative and invite all organizations in Kansas City’s learning ecosystem to consider making a commitment along with us.

YOU Belong In STEM Commitment:

YOU Belong In STEM commitments are specific, and measurable actions taken by ecosystem partners in support of achieving the ultimate goal of fostering a strong sense of belonging in STEM among students and educators.

Commitments can be large or small and will be as diverse as the tapestry of STEM communities scattered across the globe. They must represent new initiatives that will reach additional scholars or work that increases the reach of existing STEM programs to include more students who have historically been excluded from STEM opportunities.

YOU Belong In STEM Pro Tips:

Collaborate with STEM Ecosystem partners to bring intentional, sustainable and long lasting focus to the following in STEM:

  • Include – Invite all students and educators to participate in world class STEM education to prep them and our country for the future
  • Enfold – Embrace all students in STEM so that they don’t just have access to STEM but experience equitable impact in STEM
  • Engage – Listen to students and educators in STEM. Learn from their perspectives and interests. Help them to develop a deep sense of belonging in STEM.
  • Inspire – Empower students to not only feel a part, but move beyond to developing an identity in STEM. Help them to become captivated by the promise and power of STEM. Support them in the journey from being a part of the group to being a champion of STEM
  • Celebrate – Enjoy and showcase the work, dreams, failures and process of STEM in the lives of students, educators and communities to foster a sense of belonging in STEM


KC STEM Alliance’s Commitment

Here are three ways we at the KC STEM Alliance are starting:

  • We’ve established a youth advisory board to help inform our work. The first meeting was this past week and we know this diverse group of young people will offer us meaningful ways to shape our work going forward.
  • We’re sharing what we’ve learned about creating a sense of belonging with teachers and coaches through training sessions by Christina Chandler, our Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
  • We’re taking the show on the road, with presentations on findings from our white papers/discussion series at meetings here in the region and at national conferences.


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