Citizen Schools: Inspiring Future STEM Leaders & Innovators

Helping connect what students learn in school to real-world careers through project-based learning experiences led by STEM mentors.

The Problem

Too few students are developing the interest & skills in STEM that will prepare them to be innovative STEM professionals. The problem is particularly acute for populations that have been historically underrepresented in STEM: women, people of color, & those from low-income families. Interest in science is strongly predictive of a science career, but a majority of teenagers report that they are discouraged from pursuing STEM careers because they do not know anyone who works in these fields or understand what people in these fields do.

The Solution

Citizen Schools offers middle school students catalytic moments that generate the early interest associated with advanced education and careers in STEM fields. Through real-world, project-based “apprenticeship” classes, STEM professionals introduce students to scientific concepts alongside STEM educational & career opportunities:

  • Students show increased math achievement - equivalent to four additional months of learning in one school year.
  • Alumni are 30% more likely to earn a postsecondary degree or certificate in a STEM field.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools , companies, and families to re-imagine the learning day for adolescents across the country. Citizen Schools mobilizes AmeriCorps educators and volunteer “Citizen Teachers” who work in the classroom setting to share real-world knowledge and challenge students with hands-on projects and problems. The experiences are designed to ignite curiosity, engage students in their unique learning process, and develop skills and mindsets required for students to thrive and succeed.

This project was nominated by: