Icon for: Katherine Nielsen


University of California, San Francisco

Bay Area Regional Collaboration to Expand and Strengthen STEM (RECESS)

NSF Awards: 1649380

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Undergraduate, Graduate

The Regional Collaboration to Strengthen and Expand STEM (RECESS) is a collective impact pilot initiative of cross-sector organizations representing school districts, government, employers, community groups, students and families in San Francisco and Alameda Counties, that seeks to align efforts across the counties to broaden participation (BP) in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers for historically underrepresented youth and their families - especially women, African Americans and Latinos.


African-American, Latino, and female students are far outnumbered by their White, Asian and male counterparts in terms of participation in STEM fields. The roots of these disparities begin in preschool and continue through graduate school and employment.

To date, there have been many local efforts in San Francisco and Alameda Counties to address BP in STEM, but there has not been a comprehensive regional approach.


RECESS will constitute a single, unified STEM continuum effort from preschool through graduate school and career. Our modified collective impact model and participatory action research approach engages cross-sector stakeholders, youth and families from the target population groups as partners in “moving the needle” of change and increasing their participation in STEM.

Envisioned Impact

RECESS has high potential for national scale as a cross-sector, regional collective impact initiative addressing preK-20+ pathways to enable student success in STEM from historically underrepresented groups. RECESS will also propose/test the utility of the collective impact model and cross-sector collaboration for adaptation/use in other projects aiming to mobilize communities concerning STEM participation.

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