STEM Literacy Programs
With the help of partners and volunteers, 826 Boston delivers programs that support students as they craft and share stories about STEM.
826 Boston’s Science Fair Boot Camp is a free opportunity for students to receive tailored support from volunteers with STEM expertise as they polish their research papers and presentations, in preparation for the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Citywide Science Fair.
Students in this virtual program will work alongside STEM tutors who will help them polish their research papers, proposals, and presentations.
Whether you have submitted your project on Zfairs, or are still drafting project ideas, all students are welcome to register for the workshop.
More details to come on the next Science Fair Boot Camp soon!
Please email us with any questions!
Why is a writing organization working on STEM?
Writing and communication are key to success, no matter what career a student pursues. STEM leaders and hiring managers report that students are underprepared when it comes to communicating their findings and sharing their discoveries with the world. No other organization in Boston is addressing this missing link. For too long, students of color have been insidiously steered away from STEM tracks. As an organization dedicated to centering students of color, it is imperative to support programs that can make all paths possible.
STEM Literacy Priorities
In the coming year, we will support students in STEM through 826 Boston programs:
Science Fair Boot Camp
Starting in the 2020-2021 year, 826 Boston supported student scientists with their science fair projects, focusing on developing their presentations—and many of the students who worked with 826 Boston were winners in the Citywide Science Fair.
Students conducted independent research on topics of their choosing, often ones of personal interest and importance. Many honed their papers and presentations in preparation for the Massachusetts Science & Engineering Fair. This kind of project-based learning is valuable for developing agency, voices, and advocacy in students.
In 2022, 826 Boston worked to expand this program to more schools and diversify our STEM tutor corps to provide representative STEM field volunteers as mentors for students.
“The folks at 826 Boston encouraged the students to think about their science fair project as a storytelling experience, which is not a perspective most students have. They often go into their judging sessions feeling nervous having spent so much time completing the project they forget about the presentation component. Looking at it this way is the ideal outcome for the adults working on the fair. 826 Boston’s Science Fair Boot Camp adds to the value of the science fair as a whole.”
—Karissa Goff, Director of Partnerships, Boston Public Schools
New Voices in Science Journalism
826 Boston has hosted the NOVA Science Journalism program twice, in 2018 and 2020. The program is a weekly after-school club supporting students as they research, write, and produce a series of videos on STEM issues of importance to their community. Through the partnership with NOVA Science Studio, students have the opportunity to connect to representative science journalists and experts in STEM fields for mentorship opportunities. The role of science communicators has become indispensable during the pandemic and will only become more important as we, as a society, work to tackle other issues—from clean water access to climate change to pandemic health care.
STEM Career Panels
826 Boston will occasionally bring STEM professionals to Boston Public Schools for virtual Q&As. Students at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science had the opportunity to ask us questions and learn about STEM careers, and the full set of skills and traits—including communication skills—needed to thrive in STEM.
STEM Week in Boston Public Schools
We’ve hosted events during Massachusetts STEM Week, connecting scientists to students for Mathematics and Science for small group interviews and interactive presentations on planets, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Students learned interviewing skills and authored reflections on how the work of the scientists is relevant to their daily lives.
Skills Development in STEM
826 Boston will continue to bolster the skills of staff, service members, and volunteers in supporting students writing in the STEM content areas.
Invest in STEM Literacy
STEM literacy will continue to be a focus for 826 Boston—one that is built into our 2021-25 strategic plan. To expand these programs to more schools and students, we need support from individuals and corporations who are willing to make a financial contribution as well as a commitment of time as tutors and mentors.