Bay Area STEM Ecosystem
Launched in 2016, the Bay Area STEM Ecosystem is a cross-sector network of organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area working together to ensure that youth have the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) background needed to enter the 21st century workforce.
Our membership includes a geographically and organizationally diverse group of institutions collaborating to expand equity in and access to high-quality STEM education. The Bay Area STEM Ecosystem meets quarterly and the lead is Vincent Stewart, Executive Director of the California STEM Network, a project of Children Now. Read more about Vince Stewart, Executive Director of the California STEM Network, and Jessica Sawko, Associate Director of the California STEM Network.
In South San Francisco, the Bay Area STEM Ecosystem is focused on providing equity and access to high quality STEM experiences for all young people. Currently, our network focuses on family engagement. Our goal is to help caregivers in the South San Francisco community better understand what STEM education is, and help them connect with opportunities, both in and out of school, to further cultivate their children’s interest in STEM. We recognize STEM as being more than just four, discrete subjects, but a chance for youth to build leadership, team building, communication and critical thinking skills; and we promote the concept that STEM can happen anywhere, and is relevant to everyday life.
To identify the community’s STEM needs and resources, we organized a community listening campaign that gathered feedback from more than 400 students, caregivers and teachers. We heard that parents feel disconnected from what their children are learning, and unsure of their path to STEM careers.
In response, and with the help of more than 20 of our cross-sector partners, we organized a bilingual Summer STEM Series to focus on family engagement — parents, uncles, and older sisters learning and engaging with STEM alongside the children in their lives. As a result of this work, our network focuses on family engagement.
The California STEM Network, a project of Children Now, serves as our backbone organization, and our leadership team includes:
- The Broadcom Foundation
- The City of SSF
- SSF Unified School District
Our pilot family engagement efforts were featured in a case study Early Wins and Lessons Learned: How The Bay Area Ecosystem Engages Families by STEM Next Opportunity Fund.