A University of Washington project that aims to create a STEM career pipeline for low-income and immigrant youth in West Seattle will be featured during the first-ever White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools this week.

Professor Leslie Herrenkohl of the UW College of Education will discuss an ongoing initiative with Neighborhood House to provide middle and high school students living in public housing with opportunities to develop STEM skills and learn about opportunities in STEM fields.

Approximately 125 youth participate in a full year of intensive programming, which includes:

• Mentoring for college readiness in STEM and understanding occupational choices;
• Exploring and developing STEM interests and identities in a Tinkering Studio;
• Learning about the role people of color have played in STEM and envisioning opportunities for their own participation in STEM;
• STEM job shadowing and career readiness.

On Nov. 9, Herrenkohl will be one of approximately 70 leading researchers studying next generation learning to present work during the National Science Foundation's "A Forum on Next Generation STEM Learning for All." The White House summit the following day will bring together students, educators, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who are reinventing the high school experience to better empower students to seize opportunities in today’s economy and expanding access to innovative STEM teaching and learning.  

Herrenkohl is leading the project in West Seattle through the 3DL Partnership, a joint effort of UW's College of Education and School of Social Work that provides an interdisciplinary hub for community collaboration to improve outcomes for children and youth. The project is in its second year.

UW undergraduates in the Dream Project serve as mentors to youth in the program. Herrenkohl noted the initiative builds on existing programs offered at Neighborhood House, a comprehensive community-based organization (CBO) that serves Seattle and King County’s low-income, immigrant and refugee communities.

"Informal learning opportunities based in CBOs like NH can help to connect youths’ science interests with their family and cultural communities, thereby producing support and capacity within the local context for STEM learning and workforce development," Herrenkohl said.


Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications
206-543-1035, dwunder@uw.edu