1138 Views
  1. Eden Badertscher
  2. http://ltd.edc.org/people/eden-badertscher
  3. Senior Research Scientist
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center (EDC)
  1. Stan Andrisse
  2. https://www.fromprisoncellstophd.org
  3. Executive Director
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. From Prison Cells to PhDs
  1. Rich Milner
  2. Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Education, Professor of Education
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Initiative for Race Research and Justice
  1. Syrita Steib
  2. https://or-nola.org/syrita-steib-martin
  3. Executive Director
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Operation Restoration
  1. Jill Stockwell
  2. https://mcgraw.princeton.edu/people/jill-stockwell
  3. Director
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Princeton University
Presenters’
Choice

NSF INCLUDES Alliance: STEM Opportunities in Prison Settings (STEM-OPS)

NSF Awards: 1931045

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12, Undergraduate, Adult learners

Supporting STEM education in prisons and broadening participation in STEM careers are tightly interconnected. People in prison are an essential population the INCLUDES network strives to engage in STEM fields. Currently, however, opportunities for STEM education in prisons are rarely available, which deprives the STEM workforce of invaluable talent and extends the pattern of marginalization experienced by underserved populations. The newly formed collective impact Alliance: STEM Opportunities in Prison Settings (STEM-OPS) asserts that: All persons impacted by the carceral system are able, and encouraged, to pursue culturally responsive and equitable high-quality STEM education and careers.The primary partners of STEM-OPS are Princeton University's Prison Teaching Initiative, From Prison Cells to PhD, Vanderbilt University, Operation Restoration, and Education Development Center. The value of education in the prison setting and throughout re-entry has repeatedly been demonstrated. Over the next 5 years and beyond, STEM-OPS will work to transform access to STEM education in correctional facilities, and throughout re-entry, such that courses are accessible and rigorous, and students see themselves as successful scientists, mathematicians, computer scientists, or engineers. STEM-OPS will facilitate this by bringing together partner networks and individuals, particularly those who have been directly impacted by the carceral system, to develop solutions to these pressing challenges.  

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Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Eden Badertscher

    Eden Badertscher

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 4, 2020 | 01:54 p.m.

    Welcome to STEM-OPS! We are excited to engage in discussions with you around the accessibility of STEM education and careers for all those who are impacted by the carceral system. Many people impacted by this system have been repeatedly underserved in most other systems (school, health, socio-economic, career, social, etc.). The work presented here aims to change access to STEM for a group of exceptionally talented, insightful and resilient people whose contributions would enhance and further humanize the STEM disciplines.  

    If you have any questions please let us know. Also, feel free to also share your thoughts about what challenges or obstacles you see, that we can tackle together, to providing equitable access to high quality STEM education and careers. 

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Jennifer Ward
    Tenaj Moody
    Stan Andrisse
  • Icon for: Alvir Sangha

    Alvir Sangha

    Graduate Student
    May 5, 2020 | 03:01 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your interesting project! I am curious as to what STEM topics are taught/introduced to the incarcerated students? Also, who are teaching these students? Does providing STEM related opportunities ignite students want to pursue STEM after incarceration? What are some changes seen in how they view science? 

     
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    Stan Andrisse
  • Icon for: Stan Andrisse

    Stan Andrisse

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 01:24 p.m.

    Alvir, thank you for your comment. Below are my responses to your questions. 

    1. Our alliance is gathering data on what STEM topics are taught/introduced to incarcerated students. You can visit the Prison Studies Project website to begin to examine your question http://prisonstudiesproject.org/. This site has an interactive map of college in prison programs across the country. 

    2. Most college in prison programs are offered by colleges and universities. The instructors "on the inside" are the same exact ones who teach that particular course on the outside. 

    3. The short answer is Yes STEM edu ignites passion for further training/education. There is empirical data on this being true for "traditional" non-incarcerated students. We believe this will be true of incarcerated students as well. My organization Prison to Professionals has preliminary data showing this. https://www.fromprisoncellstophd.org/

    4. My organization and STEM-OPS are gathering/will be gathering data on your last question.

    Thank You!

     
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    Marilu Lopez Fretts
    Tenaj Moody
  • Icon for: Patti Curtis

    Patti Curtis

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 11:04 a.m.

    Thanks for your work with this very critical population.  How can we get more prison and school systems to use this time wisely, to allow individuals to focus and invest in their true capacity.  Are there industries standing by willing to employ STEM ready graduates?

  • Icon for: Stan Andrisse

    Stan Andrisse

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 01:59 p.m.

    Patti, thank you for your comment and great questions. 

    1. How do we get systems to allow people to reach their true capacity? This is a difficult and multifaceted issue. In my opinion, we have to first get these systems to value incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people as PEOPLE. The usage of words like criminal, convict, felon, etc. perpetuates society's and the systems' negative view on the person and the person's potential. We have to change the narrative of what it means to be a person with a criminal conviction. Once the system and society believes incarcerated people to be people, policies and funding to improve strategies to address these issues will be prioritized and implemented. 
    2. When you Google search your 2nd question "stem industries willing to hire people with convictions", you find articles such as this,"10 highest paying jobs for Felons", https://www.collegeconsensus.com/resources/career/highest-paying-jobs-for-felons/, which uses the damaging language of felon and which has primarily labor jobs. STEM-OPS hopes to build this landscape and help shift that narrative (ie changing the use of negative language and creating space/environments conducive for STEM employers (and non-labor employers) see value in people with convictions). This article has a list of major companies and higher education institutions that have signed the Fair Chance Business Pledge and are hiring. https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/ex-felon-job-seekers-business-pledge
     
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    Tenaj Moody
  • Icon for: Kate Meredith

    Kate Meredith

    President - GLAS Education
    May 5, 2020 | 11:35 a.m.

    This is the first video for me of the showcase and what a way to start.  I got goosebumps.  I am totally on board with the message.  You did a fantastic job of focusing your message.  I understand the why but and dying to know more about the what.  Tell us about one of your favorite education opportunities within the project.  How is it delivered?

  • Icon for: Stan Andrisse

    Stan Andrisse

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 02:10 p.m.

    Hi Kate, thanks for the encouraging words and helpful question. As the Executive Director of Prison to Professionals (P2P), https://www.fromprisoncellstophd.org/, I can tell you more about P2P educational opportunities. You can also learn more by visiting our site. 

    1. Prison-to-Professionals (P2P) seeks to reach, touch, and change the lives of people with criminal convictions through advocacy, mentoring, and policy change. P2P helps inspire people with criminal convictions to excel BEYOND what society and life circumstances have set to be THE NORM. We Invest In Potential. Below are some of our numbers. 
    2. 97.5% Post-secondary Education matriculation rate
    3. 3.75 GPA of legal system involved individuals who completed the P2P workshops
    4. 100+ currently and formerly incarcerated men and women start the program yearly
    5. 350+ people with convictions from across the country apply to P2P yearly
    6. 22 states have P2P Scholars or Team members

    I would love to connect more offline on how we deliver our program. 

     
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    Michael I. Swart
    Tenaj Moody
  • Icon for: Kacy Redd

    Kacy Redd

    May 5, 2020 | 04:30 p.m.

    This is such important work. Which institutions are part of your Alliance? We may have overlapping institutions in the Aspire Alliance IChange Network. Our video is here: http://stemforall2020.videohall.com/p/1897.

  • Icon for: Stan Andrisse

    Stan Andrisse

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 07:35 p.m.

    Our Steering Committee organizations are Princeton (PTI), Education Development Center, Operation Restoration, Vanderbilt, Advokat, and Prison to Professionals.

  • Icon for: Marjorie Bequette

    Marjorie Bequette

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 06:14 p.m.

    Thank you for the video, and for the important work behind it. It sounds like you are adding STEM subjects to an existing educational infrastructure, and I'm curious about what challenges and opportunities you see specifically with STEM content?

     
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    Emily Weiss
  • Icon for: Jacob Bennett

    Jacob Bennett

    Researcher
    May 6, 2020 | 07:56 a.m.

    Thank you for you comment, Marjorie. As you can imagine, in any context there are numerous challenges, however, the contexts of our work do present some unique ones, as well as opportunities.

    In terms of challenges, as Dr. Andrisse explained in his comments above, psychological challenges of merely having people THINK they have the ability to undertake STEM coursework can be a challenge. At times, educational programs in prisons don’t offer higher level mathematics because there is a stigma around who can do this sort of work. Finding professors to teach these courses within the contexts of our work can also be a challenge.

    As part of this partnership, the specific work we’re doing with the organization I represent at Vanderbilt called the Initiative for Race Research and Justice, under the leadership of Co-PI Dr. Rich Milner, is to research the sort of perceptions individuals who are or were incarcerated have of their “math identities” to try and gain some deeper insights into the stigmas referenced above. We hope this work uncovers more of the opportunities you asked about as well. 

  • Icon for: Alex DeCiccio

    Alex DeCiccio

    Media and Production Specialist
    May 6, 2020 | 12:53 a.m.

    Your work is important and as you know, life changing. You have a new advocate here.

    Is there room for arts in your current or future work?

  • Icon for: Syrita Steib

    Syrita Steib

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 08:30 a.m.

    Alex, out of curiosity, what potential connections do you see with the arts? I would be interested to know!

  • Icon for: Jacob Bennett

    Jacob Bennett

    Researcher
    May 6, 2020 | 08:04 a.m.

    Thanks so much for your comment, Alex. Truly appreciate your support.

    At this stage of the project, we’re centered on creating connections and opportunities within STEM specifically - however - our definition of what STEM entails is ongoing and expansive.

    As this project has multiple years to the design, we will continue to brainstorm and iterate on the work in an effort to make it as impactful as possible, and including the arts in those discussions can be a part of that for sure.

  • Icon for: Kristin Pederson

    Kristin Pederson

    STEM Director, Project Development & Communication
    May 6, 2020 | 10:57 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this project. I am sure you know that your work makes a tangible difference in people's lives.

    Not as much of a question as a comment: Twin Cities PBS has a national project called SciGirls. Last summer, we completed a new literature review for our SciGirls Strategies, which are research-based approaches to fostering gender equity and culturally responsiveness in STEM learning spaces. Although your students are older than our middle-school audience, I feel like the Strategies would be additive while you work to foster STEM education and career pathways for incarcerated people. They can be found at  http://www.scigirlsconnect.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/SciGirls-Strategies-Guide.pdf. Additionally, our role model videos of women and people of color in STEM careers--both traditional and otherwise, such as firefighters, bicycle designers, welders and more--might provide insight or encouragement to your learners.

    Your work inspires me. Again, many thanks.

  • Icon for: Eden Badertscher

    Eden Badertscher

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 7, 2020 | 10:24 a.m.

    Kristin, Thank you so much for sharing these resources.  I will take a close look; to have role model videos is such a great resource. 

    Women are the fastest growing population of those who are incarcerated in the US. As we try to expand STEM, perhaps we can find some time to talk about this and the role STEM ed could play for this population. 

    Eden

  • Icon for: Jill Stockwell

    Jill Stockwell

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 11:42 a.m.

    Agreed; thanks so much for sharing this project and resource with us, Kristin. 

     

  • Icon for: Syrita Steib

    Syrita Steib

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 08:20 a.m.

    Kristin, I would love to connect with you. Operation Restoration works specifically with currently and formerly incarcerated women and girls. We are beginning to introduce STEM courses to the women in our college in prison program, and many are intimidated by math in particular. Finding new ways to inspire them would be wonderful!

  • Icon for: Jameela Jafri

    Jameela Jafri

    Facilitator
    May 7, 2020 | 06:40 a.m.

    This work is so important. As you mention in the video, mass incarceration and the challenge to broadening participation are both systemic problems. I really appreciated that the video included voices of those who have been directly impacted. Given that these are systemic issues and that this is an INCLUDES Alliance, Who do you see as possible stakeholders in this systemic problem that are possibly not at the problem solving table? Based on your experience, who else needs to be in this conversation to create a systemic shift?

     
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    Alex DeCiccio
  • Icon for: Jill Stockwell

    Jill Stockwell

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 11:39 a.m.

    Hi Jameela, thanks so much for this great question - it's one we've thought a lot about as an Alliance. The most significant group left out of this conversation historically have been people who have been directly impacted by incarceration themselves. We believe strongly that the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Other groups we have actively engaged in our first six months include college- and graduate-level science and math faculty, departments of corrections, and reentry organizations. In the future we will also looking towards broadening our network to include employers in STEM fields. 

  • May 7, 2020 | 02:50 p.m.

    Great initiative! Besides providing the courses do you also provide help with employment after time served (in possible cases)?

  • Icon for: Jill Stockwell

    Jill Stockwell

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 02:54 p.m.

    HI Liz, That's a great question. Among our Alliance partners there are various types of support for returning citizens, including a national mentorship network organized by From Prison Cells to PhDs, a lab technician program run by Operation Restoration, and an intensive STEM summer internship program run by the Prison Teaching Initiative at Princeton. Over the next four years, one of our primary aims is to develop a platform where employers and potential employees can connect, and this will involve more direct relationship building with industry partners.  

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Tenaj Moody
  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    President & CEO
    May 8, 2020 | 03:08 p.m.

    Great project. What I was trying to understand from the presentation, what evidence you're using to demonstrate disruption of the system. My family supports a post-prison program that has a great many folks who completed terminal degrees in the prison system but face discrimination once they leave the system. What I've noticed is the need for entrepreneurial skills training since the way most of the job opportunities are structured with background checks that effectively destroy the opportunity for a formerly incarcerated person.

     
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    Tenaj Moody
  • Icon for: Tenaj Moody

    Tenaj Moody

    Program Director
    May 8, 2020 | 03:22 p.m.

    Hello John,

    Thank you for your comment and feedback.

    I couldn't agree with your more! Please feel free to share any resources or programs you know of in your area that are providing entrepreneurial skills training for people with criminal convictions, I would love to look into this more to see how these programs can be implemented within our organization (From Prison Cells to PhD).

  • Icon for: Syrita Steib

    Syrita Steib

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 03:30 p.m.

    Excellent point, John. At this point, we are in the evidence-gathering stage to determine the methods that will best disrupt the systems that keep formerly incarcerated people from pursuing STEM careers. However, we also already know that there are ways to get around some of the background check barriers. For example, some licensing boards make decisions on a case-by-case basis and allow people with felony convictions to begin in entry-level positions on a probationary basis and then advance through the ranks. Still, your point about entrepreneurial skills is well taken. In one of our affiliated programs in the South, one of the students wants to run a hydroponic farm once he is released. He wants to run his own business rather than navigating existing employment hurdles. It's also important to note, though, that the COVID stimulus package bars formerly incarcerated business owners to receive Small Business Administration loans. So, there's a lot to think about here. Thank you for your comment!

     
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    Jonathan Lewis
  • Icon for: John Fraser

    John Fraser

    President & CEO
    May 8, 2020 | 03:32 p.m.

    Tenaj,

    I'd recommend connecting with the research folks at Back on My Feet, a running team that helps people experiencing homelessness find a path to jobs, housing, and careers. It's not just for formerly incarcerated, but I'm sure you know a lot of folks find themselves in shelters after prison because that's part of the whole pipeline issue.  We've met a lot of folks that followed that path. What's amazing about the program is the volunteers that run with the res members as team mates. hope that's helpful. Happy to connect offline if you want to reach out to me by email. JohnF@knology.org

  • Icon for: Tenaj Moody

    Tenaj Moody

    Program Director
    May 8, 2020 | 03:14 p.m.

    Hey there Liz,

    I just wanted to add to Jill's response in regards to Prisons to Professionals national mentoring network. Our mentoring program works with formerly incarcerated people addressing four main areas of focus: College Readiness & Career Development (CRCD), Leadership Skills (LS), Admissions & Financial Aid Counseling (AFA), & SAT/ACT/GRE (SAT) Preparation.

    In particular the CRCD program teaches and instills our scholars with the following: critical thinking, communication, teamwork, digital technology, leadership, career management, work ethics, and intercultural fluency. These skills build solid  a foundation for a successful transition into the workplace. In addition, we have partnerships with community-based organizations and workforce development programs that provide opportunities for our scholars to have employment attainment. 

  • Icon for: Leigh Peake

    Leigh Peake

    Informal Educator
    May 9, 2020 | 06:31 p.m.

    Such important work -- thank you for sharing! And, Eden, good to see your smiling face again!

  • Icon for: Eden Badertscher

    Eden Badertscher

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 10, 2020 | 05:22 p.m.

    Thank you. We are still in our early stages, but what an amazing set of partners; I have been blessed by this work. I have learned so much in the last year and can't wait to continue learning and hopefully this Alliance is able to make a significant impact on STEM for those who are incarcerated. We should touch base sometime about our respective work. 

  • Icon for: Eden Badertscher

    Eden Badertscher

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 11, 2020 | 03:29 p.m.

    Those of you who have watched this video, what do you see as the primary obstacles (explicit and implicit) that interfere with pursuing STEM education and/or career for a person who is or has been incarcerated?

    We are trying to capture a broad set of perspectives and understandings as we seek to represent the range of obstacles. 

  • Icon for: Alex DeCiccio

    Alex DeCiccio

    Media and Production Specialist
    May 12, 2020 | 05:50 a.m.

    Hi Eden, as someone with little experience in this area, one thing that is recognizable and impressive about your program is the committed nature of the team here. You can tell by the vibrant discussion on this presentation.

    Challenges will be unavoidable and - understatement of the week here - there may be further and deeper challenges in working with people who are currently or have been incarcerated.

    In our communications work we often discuss early and often the concept of problems being inevitable on the path we are on. We work to ensure that those involved - in a flattened hierarchical structure - feel empowered to root out issues before they get too far down a path. These are often "hidden" from view and the further up a given hierarchy of a project or team the problems are even less tangible. That may be one implicit issue specific to your work. That being, feeling a sense of empowerment to solve problems for yourself and/or with others, without the burden and weight of traditional hierarchies.

    One strategy we use is a collective approach of exchanging information and creative problem solving. One way this is done is by creating regular spaces for open discussion to collect ideas in a time limited space with diverse perspectives. I believe this would be similar to how group sharing sessions work for people with trauma, something I am familiar with outside of my work.

    My own brother is a licensed clinical health practitioner in Rhode Island who works with vulnerable populations, mostly veterans. He has openly worked with and constantly on his own issues with PTSD. He has turned his pain into his service (his words) for others and that is not only rewarding for him but also represents a success story for anyone he speaks with and listens too. He has walked a path that is often overlooked and I believe this would also apply to the work of this project. That being, sharing success stories from authentic people who have walked the path you want others too. Of course, your video mentions this and seems to already be baked into this work.

    In summary, authentic empowerment and an open flow of information may encourage success. At the very least, better communication.

    I would happy to discuss further after the showcase. As I said in my first post on this thread, you have a new advocate here.

  • Icon for: Eden Badertscher

    Eden Badertscher

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 12, 2020 | 10:10 a.m.

    Alex, 

     

    Thank you for taking the time to now only visit us again, but to engage in the conversation so thoughtfully. We are actually using a collective impact model in this work, though this takes significant time to build, we do believe in the long run that it will enable things to move more quickly and more productively. The notion of authentic empowerment is so critical, and unfortunately, too often for those who are or have been in prison there is rarely a feeling of empowerment;  education is one of the few areas that can facilitate the development of that empowerment. Unless we come with our whole selves and ready to listen, collaborate and learn, however, the growth will be small. 

    As we are currently in the early phase of this work, a discussion would be wonderful. We have an affinity group focused on shared data and measures which you highlighted above, and each affinity group will think about that issue some, but it is challenging to move to a point where everyone feels comfortable sharing data. If you have experience there that would be great; all the INCLUDES projects are working on this. Also, each of our 8 affinity groups represent several different stakeholders, but we are still not fully representative yet; that is something we are still working toward. It is so great to hear we have an advocate in you. I will look forward to finding a time to check in in the next couple of weeks. 

  • Icon for: Suzanna Rose

    Suzanna Rose

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 12, 2020 | 09:28 a.m.

    I was so happy to see this important topic of education in prison be addressed in the showcase. Here in Miami, we have a program called Exchange for Change (https://www.exchange-for-change.org/what-we-do) that provides uncredited education for the incarcerated (because Florida does not provide accredited college education in prison but some faculty at my university are working on it). Keep up the important work!

     
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    Jonathan Lewis
  • Icon for: Eden Badertscher

    Eden Badertscher

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 12, 2020 | 09:45 a.m.

    This is great to know Suzanna! The project seeks to advocate for making accredited STEM education in prison (and beyond) common, high quality and accessible. I am sorry to hear Florida does not provide accredited education in prison, but perhaps we can work together on this; it is, however, wonderful that your program is making education available regardless of that hurdle. Perhaps we can connect with the program and any faculty working to make accredited courses a reality so we can learn with your faculty members and provide needed supports. Please feel free to share my contact information. A conversation would be a great first step. 

    Thank you for the work you and your colleagues are doing.  

  • Icon for: Jonathan Lewis

    Jonathan Lewis

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2020 | 12:08 p.m.

     Thank you!!

  • Icon for: Lakshmi Iyer

    Lakshmi Iyer

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2020 | 05:21 p.m.

    Very impressive and impactful work. A great initiative. Thank you for your work.

  • May 12, 2020 | 07:57 p.m.

    Great insights in great work making great impact.  Thank you for this work and sharing it.  Hope this becomes ubiquitous in every state. 

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