STEM Learning and Research (STELAR) Center: A Resource Center to Support Research and Development on STEM Careers
This Learning and Research Center will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students' motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by providing technical support to all ITEST projects, facilitating national dissemination of ITEST project outcomes, and further developing the ITEST research and development community. The primary goals of the Center are to: a) increase the capacity of ITEST project teams and evaluators to effectively synthesize and disseminate project findings; b) increase national awareness and use of ITEST project findings; c) strengthen and expand the ITEST community of practice; d) further engage individuals and institutions currently underrepresented in the ITEST community of practice; and e) strengthen collaborative activities across resource networks to leverage NSF cross-program initiatives. The Center's highly targeted outreach and dissemination activities will promote widespread implementation and examination of new, evidence-based innovations in formal and informal education for youth in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
In partnership with the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, Education Development Center will host the ITEST Learning and Resource Center and work with nationally recognized career development researchers to increase the capacity of ITEST projects to integrate sound career theory, research findings, and best practices into their planned activities. In response to documented national needs in the STEM workforce, the Center will promote increased attention to "middle-level" STEM careers and education pathways to those careers. The Center will also establish a Broadening Participation Advisory Council to assist the Center with outreach and engagement of minority serving organizations and communities. These efforts will be supported and enhanced through a variety of activities intended to strengthen and expand the Center's Innovation Network, including the provision of mini-grants to selected Principal Investigator's to promote dissemination of innovative practices, implementation of a Fellows and mentoring program for ongoing development of expertise among ITEST researchers, development and publication of research syntheses associated with the ITEST guiding questions for research, and production of a variety of Webinars, videos, data briefs, and social media activities to inform the ITEST community of practice and promote active collaboration across active ITEST projects.