STEM Learning & Resource Center (STELAR): Supporting Engineering Education within the NSF ITEST Program
STELAR submitted the attached paper in conjunction with our participation in a poster session held for NSF-grantees at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) annual conference. The paper highlights the purpose of the ITEST Program, how STELAR supports and synthesizes project findings, and provides data and information on ITEST projects focused on engineering.
The National Science Foundation's Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program supports the research and development of innovative models for engaging PreK–12 students in authentic experiences that build their capacity to participate in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT) workforce of the future. The ITEST program was established in 2003 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and focuses on strengthening students for the future of work. Since then, The ITEST program has awarded nearly $521 million across more than 490 projects since 2003, with programs spanning 48 states and the District of Columbia. Each project explores innovative models of engaging Pre-K–12 youth in formal school settings and informal STEM education programming. The STEM Learning and Research (STELAR) Center works to advance NSF’s mission to broaden the participation of groups, institutions, and geographic regions that are underrepresented in STEM disciplines—which is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. ITEST projects engage with multiple types of partners: schools, colleges, universities, businesses, not-for-profits, research organizations, communities, informal organizations, and government. The mission of STELAR is to build capacity and magnify the results of ITEST projects to deepen the impact of the ITEST program. In supporting projects across the country, we provide technical support that facilitates ITEST project success, synthesizes and disseminates project findings to a community of stakeholders, and broaden participation to include those underrepresented in the past. This poster session will share examples ITEST’s engineering projects, the youth communities they serve, and how engagement in authentic STEM programming will help to develop and shape to engineering careers.