STEM Learning Cooperative


Leap into Science

In a national competition, the joint application submitted by STEM SENC, CESTEM, The North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center, STEM East, STEM West, and the State Library of NC, and supported by the NC Center for Afterschool Programs and the North Carolina Science Network, was accepted to join the Leap into Science Cohort 3. Developed by The Franklin Institute Science Museum and supported by the National Girls Collaborative Project, Leap into Science is a series of evidence-based curriculum and training resources that integrate open-ended science activities with children’s books for children ages 3-10 and their families. The program designed to take place in community settings like libraries, museums, and out-of-school time programs to engage underserved audiences in accessible and familiar settings.

Leap into Science is scaling nationally through a train-the-trainer model, by establishing state leadership teams who will disseminate Leap into Science programs, targeting underserved rural and urban communities. Dr. Carmen Sidbury (CESTEM) and Dr. Heddy Clark (STEM LC) will represent STEM SENC on the North Carolina State Leadership Team, along with Bruce Middleton (STEM EAST), Carol Moore (STEM WEST), Susan Forbes (State Library), and Lisa Rhoades (SMT Center).

STEM SENC (Southeastern North Carolina)

The STEM LC is the lead organization for STEM SENC, an ecosystem committed to bringing together individuals, organizations, schools, institutions, and businesses for the purpose of supporting STEM learning for youth in southeastern North Carolina (i.e., Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Hoke, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, and Scotland counties). In a national competition, the application the STEM LC submitted on STEM SENC’s behalf was one of twelve selected to join Cohort 4 of the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, allowing STEM SENC to connect with other Ecosystems in the U.S. and abroad to improve education in science, technology, engineering and math. Learn more about STEM SENC here.

ReCONNECT Rural And Urban

STEM SENC is one of five community initiatives selected by the Institute for Emerging Issues to participate in ReCONNECT Rural and Urban, part of a three-year, six-forum series focusing on bringing North Carolina and North Carolinians together across lines of division. Selected communities are actively working on efforts to address shared challenges, and promote and more effectively leverage interconnections between different community types. Carmen Sidbury, CESTEM Director, and Heddy Clark, STEM LC Director, are members of the STEM SENC ReCONNECT leadership team. Learn more about the ReCONNECT Rural and Urban initiative here.

Annual North Carolina Science Festival Event

The STEM LC hosts an annual STEAM celebration geared toward special education learners. Recent events include Equitable STEM (2021),  ChangeMakers (2019), Full STEAM Ahead (2018), and Robotism Rocks (2017). The 2019 event, ChangeMakers, allowed young people to explore maker technology as part of the Maker Movement. An op-ed piece about ChangeMakers can be found here. Official events of the North Carolina Science Festival presented by the Biogen Foundation and produced by Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, these free community-based events held each April celebrate the economic, educational, and cultural impact of science in North Carolina. For more information about the statewide festival, visit the NC Science Festival website.

I-40 E.A.S.T. with Burroughs Wellcome Student Science Enrichment Program

I-40 E.A.S.T. (Engineering, Agriculture, Science, and Technology) is a two year project engaging students from rural communities in southeastern North Carolina in lab-based scientific investigations, career exploration, public presentations, planning for community development, and STEM entrepreneurship. These activities leverage the resources found in the students’ home counties and help them see the potential their communities offer for future STEM careers. Learn more about this project.

Jr. Seahawk Academy

The Jr. Seahawk Academy (directed by the STEM LC’s Dr. Angie Reid-Griffin) is an educational day program designed specifically for middle-grade students (ages 10-14). The Junior Seahawk Academy's targets students from economically disadvantaged and underrepresented populations to develop interests in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), health, and education careers while participating in various fun, hands-on activities that promote learning. This program is for students who are interested in participating in unique and creative activities related to STEM, health fields and general education. The Junior Seahawk Academy has received the "Ignite the Power of STEM" grant from the Biogen Foundation. The funds will support expanded field experiences and project-based learning for middle school students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and health care.