Community Outreach Group

NCIL strives to develop innovative and effective projects that increase the access of underserved populations to STEM education, such as ethnic/racial minorities, girls, and rural populations; and development of community collaboratives that support access to STEM for all Americans. The Community Networks Group works within NCIL and with project partners to design networks that are based on the latest research concerning collaboration and communities of practice, and that use state-of-the-art web infrastructure and social networking resources. Network projects or project components rely on contributions from the Exhibit Development Group, Professional Development Group, and Learning Research and Evaluation Group.

A large body of research spanning several decades shows that parental involvement supports student achievement in the classroom, positive student attitudes about education, higher confidence, higher attendance, and many other positive impacts. When asked about parental participation, research has found that Latino parents identify participation in their children's lives more frequently than academic involvement. We believe parents should be active participants in their children's STEM education. NCIL community outreach projects are designed to engage parents from all cultural backgrounds. Since family and community are extremely influential in the lives of Hispanic students, it is very important that Hispanic parents understand the importance of STEM and learn how to encourage and support their children.

NCIL looks for opportunities to leverage existing networks or develop new networks to present STEM, to increase access to STEM for Americans of all ages and from diverse backgrounds, and to enhance the professional skills of scientists and educators to present STEM. NCIL's network projects have specific strategies for increasing access to science for ethnic/racial minorities, girls and rural populations (e.g. Expanding Informal Science for Latinos Conferences for science centers, media, community organizations, and Hispanic STEM organizations; Celebra la Ciencia family science outreach network).

Current Projects

  • Página Familiar (family page): (Funding: private funders)
  • (weekly Spanish-language science, health and cultural news service). (Funding: NSF, private funders)
  • STAR Library Education Network: a hands-on learning program for libraries and their communities (Funding: NSF)
  • Latino STEM Network (Funding: NSF, private funders)