As we enter the holiday season, we are sure that we are all extremely busy. At talkSTEM, we have been extremely busy for the past few months, and wanted to take the time to thank our subscribers and also give you a quick update on some important highlights here at talkSTEM! Despite the challenging nature of 2021 that we all have faced, we are grateful for our partnerships that have allowed us to grow impact and continue to work on our mission of empowering children from all income levels, ethnicities, and genders to see STEM not merely as a set of school-based subjects communicated through lectures and tests, but as a fluid and intriguing part of their daily lives, experiences, and environments. We believe that when children and their educators are provided with an array of tools and resources which are rooted in real-world experiences and questions, they can more effectively develop the future generation of STEM leaders.

  1. Mathfinder, in partnership with Southern Methodist University, funded by the National Science Foundation

We are very excited to be working on the Mathfinder grant project, funded by the National Science Foundation. We have partnered with Southern Methodist University in this NSF-funded project to create a place-based mobile app (called Mathfinder) for experiencing and creating math walks. It is our great pleasure and honor to partner with SMU. This is a 5-year, $2.5 million project. Learn more about the project here. Twelve amazing, Dallas-based, partner sites are involved in this project – many of them have partnered with us on prior projects and it is a joy to be collaborating with old friends and new friends together. This fall, we have collaborated with the Dallas Zoo to create videos focusing on finding math patterns in relation to the awesome animals who live at the Zoo and across our world! We look at different types of math patters – visual patterns, behavioral patterns, and more! Check it out here. We also created videos with the Dallas Arboretum focusing on math in the real world. Check it out here! Finally, we created some new videos focusing on estimation, quantity, and scale at St Philip’s School and Community Center in the early fall. You’ll love watching some energetic middle schoolers from this great partner site in these videos.

Dallas Zoo: Youth Volunteer and Director of Education, Marti Copeland

Mathfinder Meetup at the Dallas Arboretum on Dec 7, 2021
walkSTEM@Dallas Arboretum
walkSTEM@St Philip’s School and Community Center

2. #herSTEMlens Virtual Exhibition

In February, 2021 we launched our #herSTEMlens virtual exhibition, powered by Comerica Bank. You can visit this VR-powered exhibition and have a unique experience. In this exhibition, women and girls from all walks of life submitted photos and videos accompanied with real-world-based STEM questions. We refreshed the exhibit each month through May of this year, with each month focusing on a special theme. We are grateful to our community partners ChickTech, National Girls Collaborative Project, Million Women Mentors, Maier Math Foundation, and Nepris. We also provided resources for educators using the exhibit. Check out the exhibit here. Thanks to Nepris, we ran a series of Lunchtime Livestreams with some amazing women from across North Texas, and elsewhere. Check these short, 15min videos here. For Earth Month 2021 in April, we gathered a collection of fascinating #STEMlens images from diverse women in STEM and STEAM careers. Check out this 3 min video showing some gorgeous photos with unique and personal STEM questions associated with them.

3. The If/Then-talkSTEM Middle School Teacher Fellowship Program

talkSTEM-If/Then Fellows with talkSTEM CEO Dr Koshi Dhingra and talkSTEM Associate Robyn Pinilla (together with students from Solar Prep School, Dallas ISD) at the If Then Collection Exhibition in NorthPark Center, Dallas

This year we launched our talkSTEM-If/Then Fellowship Program for middle school teachers in the Dallas Fort Worth and Denton areas. We were proud to partner with the Texas Women’s Foundation, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and If/Then Initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies to provide this educational fellowship to 25 teachers from June-November 2021.  We worked with thoughtful, innovative teachers of all genders who care about equity issues in math, science, STEM, and STEAM education and together we built a wonderful, caring, and resilient community. We focused on middle school teachers because middle school is the most intense period of brain development after infancy and middle school teachers do incredibly important work. Each teacher received a $1000 stipend and, further, $100 for the purpose of printing materials from the If/Then Collection website featuring women in STEM. During the fellowship period, each teacher fellow created a customized series of 4 lesson plans that integrated resources from the extensive set of resources within the If/Then Collection.

Rosa Herrera, Middle School Teacher at Burnett Jr High, Wylie, TX

Presentation of talkSTEM-If/Then Fellowship Programs to Joanna Robertson and Rosa Herrera, Wylie TX

Back of our t-shirt.
This word cloud was generated by our fellows during our webinars and became the front of our t-shirt.

We hope that our work in creating engaging STEM learning tools has aided you and we’d love to know what you think. Drop us a line below or email our Founder and CEO with any questions or comments: koshi@talkSTEM.org. Please share this with a teacher/other educator you know and with organizations interested in closing the opportunity gaps that exist for large numbers of youth. We are always interested in sharing resources, inspiring all kinds of educators (in and out of school) with the goal of engaging children everywhere in STEM in their real world environments! We are grateful for our corporate, university, school, preschool, informal learning organization, and community-based partners. Every child is a STEM child and every place is a STEM place – so let’s work together and make this a reality for all children!

We are looking ahead to growing our partnerships and impact in 2022. Happy holidays from all of us at talkSTEM!

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About the Founder & CEO

Dr. Koshi Dhingra has dedicated her career to STEM education and is passionate about having every child live up to their potential. Seeing a lack of girls and other underrepresented youth in STEM programs, she founded talkSTEM in 2015 to address the imbalance. She has a doctorate in science education from Teachers College, Columbia University, has years of experience teaching in graduate and undergraduate programs, and has held leadership roles in universities. She advises and collaborates with a broad range of educational institutions globally. Dr. Dhingra began her career teaching science in middle and high school in New York. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and two dogs.