January 2020: Broadening Participation in STEM Through Community Engagement

This month’s theme focuses on ways that community engagement can support broadening of participation in STEM. We have selected 10 Video presentations that represent three different strategies: 1) students engaging in STEM authentic community problems, 2) intergenerational learning experiences, and 3) students learning about themselves as part of their communities. The resources and blog post set the stage, the expert panel, moderated by Dr. Megan Bang, explores the impact of these different strategies. You are all invited to join the discussion.

View Synthesis Brief.

Current and Past Themes

Theme's playlist

Expert Panel


Broadening Participation in STEM Through Community Engagement

JAN 13, 2020 at 01:30PM (Eastern Time)

View Recording & Bios


Share your thoughts about this month's theme with the panelists and the community.
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Bobby Wilson

    Bobby Wilson

    January 10, 2020 | 11:04 p.m.

    This is Bobby Wilson, Founder of Metro Atlanta Urban Farm in College Park, GA, and Co-PI on the NOISE Project with Cornell University and the National Science Foundation.  Welcome and thank you for being an active participant in this national discussion.  Science is everywhere.  Although many of us don't always understand it, none of us can survive without it.  Science is a fascinating topic.  This webinar will present STEM and STEAM topics (A is for agriculture), in a language that everyone can understand and identify with.  My goal is to help insure that access and opportunity are more than just catch phrases, but are the reality for people from all walks of life and that diversity is the assurance for equity and inclusion.  Thank you for joining the discussion.

  • January 13, 2020 | 02:38 p.m.

    Hi Bobby, thanks for presenting today!  Can you share those 4 issues you posed as challenges for our Black community to participate in STEM learning and share some solutions you have used to address them?  Thanks!

  • January 12, 2020 | 10:57 a.m.

    Hi everyone! This is Carrie Tzou from the University of Washington Bothell and I am the PI of TechTales. Thank you so much for being a part of this discussion and for joining us in the webinar! We are excited to engage in discussion with you about partnering with communities and families in efforts to broaden participation in STEM. How are you doing this work? What challenges, frameworks, design principles, or theories have you encountered or articulated in your work? It would be great to learn from and with you! 

  • Icon for: Brandon Ogbunu

    Brandon Ogbunu

    January 12, 2020 | 12:31 p.m.

    Greeting! My name is Brandon Ogbunu, and I served as the instructor for Finding Your Roots: the Seedlings. I'm an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Brown University. In addition to my basic research in genetics, I'm also very much engaged in work at the intersection between science, society & culture. I'm very honored to participate in this discussion, am looking forward to interacting, listening, and learning.

  • Icon for: Liz Díaz-Vázquez

    Liz Díaz-Vázquez

    January 13, 2020 | 09:04 a.m.

     Hello from Puerto Rico to everyone! This is Liz Diaz, associate professor at the Chemistry Department -University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and Co-Director of the NSF-CREST Center for Innovation Research and Education in Environmental Nanotechnology (CIRE2N) and the NASA-MIRO PRSPRINT project.  In these initiatives we are working toward empowering a new generation of scientists, students and citizens that work together to solve environmental problems around them and contribute to our society’ well-being. I am very honored to participated in this discussion, and looking forward to sharing, listening and learning with you about strategies to broaden participation in STEAM and partnering with communities. Welcome and thank you for joining us in this webinar and discussion! 

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    January 23, 2020 | 09:20 a.m.


        I enjoyed your video and presentation, and followed up to find some of what you've written about undergraduate chem education.  I was curious — the video seems to suggest that your project does some mentoring of younger students (high school?  middle school?) as well.  Is that the case?  If so, how does that work?  Do your undergrads or graduate students mentor the younger kids?  Do you give them any guidance about good practices for that, or have them debrief with each other about it?  My experience is that teaching fellows don't get much guidance about actually teaching... 

  • Icon for: Megan Bang

    Megan Bang

    January 13, 2020 | 11:39 a.m.

    Boozhoo! This is Megan Bang, professor of Learning Sciences and Psychology at Northwestern and Senior Vice President of the Spencer Foundation. Across my work I have been working to develop science education that cultivates just, sustainable and culturally thriving communities. I am looking forward to moderating the webinar today with a group of stellar scholars doing remarkable work.

  • Icon for: Kristian Berg

    Kristian Berg

    January 13, 2020 | 03:25 p.m.

    I hope there will be more comments posted. The live panel was challenging to follow with all the audio problems. Applaud your efforts and welcome the multiplex! We contributed to the Finding Your Roots Genetics & Genealogy curriculum project for which C. Brandon Ogbunu was one of the first camp instructors. There is a wonderful archived collegial discussion at the project's NSF video showcase site: https://stemforall2018.videohall.com/presentations/1184

  • January 15, 2020 | 03:50 p.m.

    Thanks, Kristian. Your project's video presentation is now also included here, on the Multiplex, at: https://multiplex.videohall.com/presentations/1184 (and it is included in the January Theme of the Month playlist of videos). Visitors can post comments to you and your project team here, as well. 

  • January 15, 2020 | 03:39 p.m.

    The recording from the webinar with these expert panelists is now available here on the Multiplex. Hear from Bobby Wilson, Liz Díaz-Vázquez, Carrie Tzou, and C. Brandon Ogbunu, each associated with one of the videos in this month's curated playlist, along with Megan Bang, who moderated this panel.

  • January 16, 2020 | 01:32 p.m.

    To the hosts and presenters: Thank you for the webinar!

    I’m a program developer/evaluator/researcher/grant writer who works with communities on the South and West Sides in Chicago and thought the presentation and discussion was valuable for me (and I imagine for many others) in at least two of my work roles/identities:

    1) As a person who is trying to learn how to collaborate more effectively with communities, and who is becoming more and more focused on figuring out how not to leave my partners “high and dry,” as Mr. Wilson says, and

    2) As someone who is trying to figure out how to be inclusive of participants from a communication/marketing/trust-building point of view – how do we who have the means and the infrastructure construct and share opportunities to work well with those who may not have had a lot of experience with high tech webinar-type events before and/or haven’t been part of online academic or semi-academic discussions before? How do we not leave our partners “high and dry” in that sense, too?

    This is something I’m trying to figure out myself with my own work – including collaborating with dominant and non-dominant organizational partners on issues stemming from the fragmentation communities in Chicago (mirroring the world in many ways) are facing – and it’s of course a very hard nut to crack.

    I’m looking forward to the next webinar – unfortunately, one of my community partners in Chicago couldn’t make this last one but I’m looking forward to discussing the archived version with him – and with my partners from well-funded, high-status organizations who need to see it/discuss the issues even more urgently.

    Thanks again to all for your work on this -- I find it both inspiring and helpful in a practical way, too.

  • January 16, 2020 | 08:17 p.m.

    I was intrigued by Bobby's comment about not leaving the community high and dry at the end of the grant, and also by the suggestion that they could be a lead partner. Would love to hear from other presenters and co-presenters whose work involved community engagement. What were your challenges? What were your strategies to sustain this work? Which communities did you work with? How did it go or how is it going?


  • Icon for: Bobby Wilson

    Bobby Wilson

    January 20, 2020 | 01:17 p.m.

    I continue to be amazed by the unveiling of opportunities to promote the co-creation of communities where people can speak their truth and speak for themselves.  I was privileged to serve with this phenomenal panel of experts in the January edition of the STEM for All Multiplex.  The topic of “Broadening Participation in STEM through Community Engagement” suggests, ironically, a protocol where communities are invited to have a voice in what their engagement and successful outcomes will be.  It is then up to those with the power and privilege to direct funding that reflects the “value and voice” of the communities.

     As one of the four panelists, together we represented a cross-section of communities from across the United States and Puerto Rico.  The perspective that I shared with you was not of my own research.  Rather, the perspective that I brought to the panel represented the collective work of the NOISE Project, a co-created research project in conjunction with Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The reason that I call this to your attention is that too often communities do not receive credit for the expertise that they bring to the table.  As a Co-PI who represents my community, I would hope that as we move forward with other projects, that we make sure that communities are valued for the expertise that they bring.  I invite you to visit the Web site, https://noiseproject.org/.

    I walked away from the panel being humbled by the vast amount of knowledge that I received from the experience.  It has become evident to me that many of you really got the message that I was trying to drive home—that is understanding power and privilege, trust and transparency, communication and collaboration, and most importantly, keeping it real (realities and relevance) with the under-served communities that large institutions involve themselves with.

    Furthermore, these four pillars were, and are, still part of the overarching tenets of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message of equity, diversity, equality and inclusion.  Thus, in my opinion, it is no coincidence this response is being shared with you on the day that we celebrate his birth.

    I am a believer that if we can focus our energies and efforts around these four pillars, we will be able to change the dynamics of STEAM/STEM teaching and learning.

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    January 22, 2020 | 11:40 a.m.

    I visited your website, and found it full of thought-provoking material and interesting stories.  I was particularly struck by the way your project has framed internal collaborations using the Jemez principles.  How widely was this formulation known among your partners before the project took shape?  Were there particular un)?  Have communities used this formulation in other activities or initiatives outside this project?  I know your project is more than just this, but this seems like a very "scalable" or at least transferrable element that the project may have introduced to new people. All part of the education process!


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