Exploring Youth STEM Experiences

My work seeks to study, represent, and honor unique and purposeful youth voices in the area of STEM education (science/tech/engineering/math). I pay particular interest to youth experiences of learning, deep engagement, and life-wide participation in STEM outside of school, acknowledging the historical structures of privilege and oppression that designed school STEM, in many cases, for primarily white, high SES, cisgender male, English-speaking youth. Working with youth as research partners, I use yet-emerging participatory methodologies to uncover and amplify work that youth are already doing in and with STEM across their lives. This work is grounded in critical and social practice theory for exploring youth learning and development. It is informed by youth expertise on what support structures are (or are not) working for them as they seek to author successful pathways for themselves and their futures with STEM. Ultimately, the goal of this work is to affect systemic change with youth in communities underrepresented in STEM learning and practice.

Drawing from my experiences as an out-of-school STEM educator in community organizations, science museums and centers, summer programs, and science media, my purpose for engaging in this work is to call on diverse and previously ignored youth expertise to inform how educators frame and support STEM journeys with youth. A commitment to push systems of education towards equity and justice for youth in STEM drives my multilayered approach to explore and reveal youth learning, practice, desires, and dreams with rigor, complexity, and nuance.

As I continue to engage pre-service teachers in this work as co-researchers, apprentices, and scholars, I advocate for critical praxis in STEM that centers youth voice and leadership. Embracing learners as complex and mobile people, and classrooms as porous sites of possibilities, my work engages both youth and adults to re-imagine teaching and learning relationships for more equitable educational futures.