Scholars needed for the MakeHER STEM program

WYOMING — The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance has announced a call for 4-H scholars who will lead the MakeHER programs in an anticipated eight communities. 

Jane Crayton, Makerspace Coordinator at University of Wyoming, said that the MakeHER program will be designed to capture the attention of teenagers — and girls in particular — across Wyoming.

“Around age 11, girls are most at risk for opting out of STEM education experiences,” Crayton said. “It’s really important to start building confidence in STEM prior to that age, and definitely at that age. MakeHER is an intervention, but it will also provide students real-world experience.”

While the main focus of MakeHER is on engaging girls in STEM opportunities, Crayton said it is not only about serving girls.

 “These are not single-gendered programs. We have co-gendered programs, but we really advertise to girls and have asked partners in other areas to advertise to girls. The program will not launch unless there was 50% participation from girls,” Crayton said.

The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance will coordinate, implement, and host a program in the spring or summer of 2021 in cooperation with local community makerspaces, and no previous 4-H experience is necessary. Any youth development professional working with Wyoming youth in out-of-school time is welcome to apply. 

Each host program will receive an $800 grant along with a small travel stipend to pay for materials, supplies and snacks for youth. Collaborating makerspaces are eligible to apply for up to $600 to support costs of equipment that will be available at the makerspace. 

The Scholar cohort will be expected to collaborate with a local makerspace, to participate in professional development in January through March and to implement a program for youth between the ages of 8 to 18 sometime during the spring or early summer. Ideally the program would be approximately 30 contact hours and include at least 50% female participation.

These experiences could be in person or virtual depending upon the circumstance in each community. Up to eight locations and scholars will be invited to participate. Youth professionals or makerspaces are welcome to apply with or without a partnership in place and Wyoming Afterschool Alliance will help to make that match.

“We have to include girls and increase the participation of minorities in STEM. This program is really focused on engaging in those ways all of those people,” Crayton said.

For more information, visit the website or contact the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance at 307-335-9922 or the Coe Student Innovation Center at 307-766-7009.

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