The Reach Center, a project of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA), is located at the MMSA offices in Augusta. Created and launched in 2011, the Center offered its first pilot STEM Intensive programs for students in 2012, and has developed a STEM Hubs initiative that is its primary focus.
The Reach Center identifies, attracts, engages, and challenges Maine students in grades 5-12 who demonstrate both facility and uncommon enthusiasm for mathematics and science. We increase student opportunities to learn new concepts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) every day—both in school and outside of it. We leverage school and community resources to provide students with these opportunities and to prepare them for professional and personal futures that involve STEM. We reach out to underserved groups, and create a broader and deeper pool of students who show promise in STEM.
We are working with experts in STEM education from throughout Maine and across the country. At the Reach Center design conference February 8-10, 2012, about 40 of these thinkers helped develop proposals for the Center’s first three-year plan. Our overall design challenge for the Reach Center posed to the design participants was to create a supportive structure that will:
- Identify a wide variety of challenging STEM opportunities in Maine;
- Develop and connect students with mentoring and internship opportunities;
- Provide a robust website for sharing STEM education information and opportunities available to students; and
- Attract, over time, hundreds or thousands of students interested in STEM, and increase their engagement in STEM projects and competitions.
From the ideas generated at the design conference, extensive work within our own staff and with an expert evaluation consultant, and discussions with partners through a year of pilot programs, we have selected a course of action that includes developing two pilot STEM Hub regions and expanding further in future years, and developing and revising a STEM Resource Bank focused on Maine-based opportunities for youth in our target age range. We believe these initiatives will have the greatest and quickest impact on growing STEM talent in Maine.
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