Why Linking In- and Out-of-School Experiences Matters for Students Historically Underrepresented in STEM

Presenters: Gabrielle Lyon, Diane Miller, Rafael Rosa
Panelists draw on experiences developing youth-centered STEM and out-of-school-time programs for urban youth of color to explore key questions: What are researchers missing when it comes to understanding STEM learning from a youth-centered perspective? What are the end goals for learning and what should we spend time and resources on in partnership? What does it take to put the power of STEM learning into the service of young people? What structures, practices, and policies can connect out-of-school experiences with students’ academic lives?

About the Presenters:
Gabrielle Lyon, Co-founder and Senior Explorer, Project Exploration
Gabrielle Lyon has over twenty years of experience as an education activist, convener, and nonprofit leader. As the co-founder of Project Exploration, Lyon designed, built, and managed programs, raised funds, and earned revenue strategies for the $2 million, twenty-person, nonprofit science education organization from the ground up. She established Project Exploration’s nationally recognized model for recruiting and retaining minority youth and girls to science. In addition, Lyon created and managed annual programming that reaches 250+ minority youth and girls with intensive youth programs, thirty teachers annually with professional development workshops, 40,000 visitors internationally via online expeditions and Web initiatives, and 1+ million people with traveling science exhibitions. In 1994, Lyon was selected as a Fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she worked as a writer and researcher for the education magazine Teaching Tolerance. In 1996, Lyon returned to Chicago to direct the School Change Institute and serve as the outreach coordinator at the Small Schools Workshop at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Lyon has co-organized two national conferences on science and technology in out-of-school time in conjunction with the Coalition for Science After School (2008, Chicago; 2010 Los Angeles). Lyon’s honors include representing the International Association of Educators for World Peace as a delegate to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, addressing the United Nations Subcommittee on Human Rights on “The Prevention of Racism and the Protection of Minorities” in 1995; being recognized as one of “Tomorrow’s Leaders Today” by Public Allies in 1999, one of the Community Renewal Society’s “35 Under 35” in 2007; and being a recipient of The Chicago Community Trust Fellowship in 2009. Project Exploration received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 2009, and in 2011 was recognized with an “Excellence in Summer Learning Award” from the National Summer Learning Institute. In 2011, Chicago Magazine named Lyon a “Chicagoan of the Year.” Lyon serves on the boards of the Coalition for Science After School, the Illinois Girls Collaborative, and the Science Makers. She earned her BA and MA in history from the University of Chicago and received her PhD in Curriculum Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Diane Miller, Chief Educational Outreach Officer, Saint Louis Science Center
Diane Miller, an internationally recognized innovator in informal STEM education, is chief educational outreach officer at the St. Louis Science Center. She began her career as a part-time floor assistant at the California Museum of Science and Industry. She went on to become the museum’s director of community outreach and to create the Curator Kids Program. She received the Coming Up Taller Award conferred by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities for her work with the YouthALIVE Project. Miller has led the St. Louis Science Center’s educational outreach and community engagement functions since 1996. She developed the Youth Exploring Science Program, a four-year, work-based, STEM learning program for teens ages 14–18. Since its founding, the YES Program has grown from fifteen students to more than 300 and is regarded as a prototype of science-based youth development programs. Miller regularly presents conference keynote addresses and publishes articles on youth development and informal science learning. She recently contributed a chapter, “American Museums as a Borderland” to the British book Learning to Live: Museums, Young People and Education, garnering an invitation to Buckingham Palace. Other awards and recognitions include 2010 NOYCE Fellow, 2009 Stellar Performance in Education Award from St. Louis American Foundation; Dr. George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award; 2008 Best Practices Award, Youth Exploring Science Program; and the Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award from the Association of Science Technology Centers in recognition of extraordinary accomplishments made in the area of community outreach and after-school programming. Miller holds a BA in English from the California State University at Chico and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Museum Studies at the University of Missouri–St Louis.

Rafael Rosa, Vice President of Education, The Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Rafael Rosa is the vice president of education at the Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The museum serves 1,700 teachers and approximately 70,000 students each year through a variety of programs including on-site field trip workshops, professional development for teachers at the museum and in a school setting, after-school programs at community centers and schools, and internship and volunteer programs for high school students. As a member of the academy and museum’s education team for nineteen years, Rosa has been directly engaged in a number of the museum’s programs. He led the institution’s student and teacher programs, and coordinated the Teenagers Exploring and Explaining Nature and Science (TEENS) program and the Science on the Go! program, an in-classroom professional development program now in its 21st year. Rosa also served as manager of the institution’s distance learning efforts and as a science outreach educator. He was appointed director of education at the museum in 2006 and promoted to vice president in 2009. Rosa currently serves as chair of the Museums in the Park Education Committee and co-chair of the Chicago Wilderness Education Committee. He was previously a member of the Illinois State Board of Education Committee on High Quality Teacher Professional Development. Rosa holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University.