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2021 NSF AISL Awardee Meeting (October 19-21)

CAISE hosted the 2021 National Science Foundation (NSF) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program Awardee Meeting October 19-21, 2021 virtually. The meeting theme was Developing and Sustaining Equitable, Knowledge-Building Partnerships. A biennial event since 2008, the meeting is a convening of projects funded by the NSF AISL program the purpose of which is for the community to come together to share goals, process, progress, challenges, and opportunities of their work. The gathering was renamed an "Awardee" meeting this year because invitations were extended to project community partners for the first time in addition to project principal investigators (PIs), and is part of the ongoing work of the AISL program and CAISE to be more visible to, learn from, and support, community partners.
banner for virtual 2021 NSF AISL Awardee Meeting

Plenary Recordings

Engaged Community Partnerships: Opportunities and Challenges in Multiple Contexts

This plenary is a conversation across projects and settings, highlighting issues of broad relevance to the field. Different kinds of communities were contrasted, recognizing that definitions, practices, opportunities and challenges vary, and speakers surfaced and discussed core, shared commitments that characterize authentic, successful community collaboration.

Speakers: Raj Pandya (Thriving Earth Exchange, American Geophysical Union); Nichole Pinkard (Northwestern University); Natasha Smith-Walker (Project Exploration); Nancy Maryboy, (Indigenous Education Institute); Stephanie Ratcliffe (The Wild Center)

Rethinking rigor: Considering racism and colonialism in ISE research and evaluation approaches

This panel highlighted research and evaluation in Informal STEM Education (ISE) and Science Communication (SciComm) that embraces social justice and minoritized knowledge traditions, and explores anti-racist and decolonized approaches and methodologies. Speakers discuss the way forward to more equitable and just practices in ISE and SciComm knowledge-building.

Speakers: Megan Bang (Northwestern University); Shirin Vossoughi (Northwestern University); Ayesha Boyce (Arizona State University); Remy Dou (Florida International University)

Concurrent Sessions

There were four concurrent sessions on each day of the Awardee meeting focused on topics identified through a pre-meeting survey of invitees. Project teams composed of principal investigators and community partners addressed how their work encounters, addresses and is being challenged by related issues. All but one session was facilitated by an NSF Program Director, and each concluded with smaller breakout discussions where attendees reflected on their own experiences with the topic (not recorded). Watch the recordings of each session below:

  1. Asset and value-mapping in research and practice partnerships
    1. Eve Klein and Travis Tangen, Collaborative Research: Grounding Institutional Partnerships in Structures for Broader Impacts Design
    2. Smirla Ramos Montañez and Maria Quijano, Diálogos: Harnessing Latinx Community Cultural Wealth to Support Executive Function in Early Childhood through Family Engineering Experiences
  2. Challenges and Opportunities in working WITH vs FOR communities and audiences (section 1)
    1. Hyunjin Seo and Carol Levers, Collaborative Research: Technology Education for Women in Transition
    2. Teon Edwards and Manju Banerjee, Broadening Participation in Informal STEM Learning for Autistic Learners and Others through Virtual Reality
    3. Sarah May and Vedika Vinayak, Exhibit appraisal and diverse populations: Pilot research about intersectional and science identities in science exhibits
    4. Robby Callahan Schreiber and Marika Pfefferkorn, RAPID: Advancing Museum-Community Conversations that Intersect STEM and Racial Justice
  3. Challenges and Opportunities in working WITH vs FOR communities and audiences (section 2)
    1. Chris Hawn and Lisa Fay, Collaborative Informal STEM Learning Between Researchers and Homeless Communities
    2. Foad Hamidi and Andrew Coy, Understanding the Role of Informal STEM Educators in Creating Maker-based and Community-Centered Technology and Computer Science Learning Hubs for Urban Youth
    3. David Sittenfeld and Caitlin Callahan, Building Capacity for Co-Created Public Engagement with Science
  4. Not the usual suspects: Bringing Informal STEM Education (ISE) to new communities and audiences
    1. Jeremy Babendure and Kal Mannis, RAIN - Rural Activation and Innovation Network
    2. Alicia Torres and Sandra Gutierrez, Child Trends News Service: Advancing Social Science Knowledge to Benefit Hispanic Families - Phase 2
    3. Mimi Ito and Bill Izabal, The Role of Mentorship in Persistence in Informal STEM Programs for Under-represented Youth
  5. Approaches to equitable, community-based empirical research: Challenging dominant science education and science communication paradigms
    1. Megan Bang and Anna Lees, Collaborative Research: Intergenerational Learning, Deliberation, and Decision Making for Changing Lands and Waters
    2. Ning Wang and Ari Krakowski, AI Behind Virtual Humans: Communicating the Capabilities and Impact of Artificial Intelligence to the Public through an Interactive Virtual Human Exhibit
    3. John Fraser and Amy Niedbalski, STEM Matters: Investigating the Confluence of Visitor and Institutional Learning Agendas
    4. Mary Alice Carlson and Roubie Younkin, Montana Models: Connecting Local and Disciplinary Practices through University-Community Partnerships
  6. Keeping trust: Communicating findings and future work to communities
    1. Bhaskar Upadhyay and Holly Pellerin, Water Values--Advancing Informal STEM Learning through Native Voices, Planetariums, and Reciprocal Collaboration
    2. Andres Bustamente and Paola Padilla, Playful Learning Landscapes: Promoting Informal STEM Learning in Public Spaces
    3. Mónica Ramirez-Andreotta and Lisa Ochoa, Advancing Informal Environmental STEM Literacy & Learning: A Co-Created Citizen Science Rainwater Harvesting in Underserved Communities
    4. Makeda Cheatom and Bobby Wilson, Developing the Processes and Potential to Engage Historically Underrepresented Communities in Public Participation in STEM Research Through Authentic and Impactful Collaboration
  7. Learning from failure: Authentic reflection on critical missteps, oversights and surprises that can undermine projects and partnerships
    1. Deepak Keshwani and Nathan Rice, Immersive Educational Game Simulations to Enhance Understanding of Corn-Water-Ethanol-Beef System Nexus
    2. Alice Anderson and Prinda Wanakule, Collaborative Research: The Notion of Failure and Maker Programming for Youth: Supporting the Professional Development, Reflection, and Learning of Informal Educators
    3. Sam Catherine Johnston and Kevin Lewis, Multi-Generational STEM Makerspaces in Affordable Housing: Co-Designing a Model with the Community
  8. What have ISE settings learned about designing and measuring for impact as a result of moving in-person experiences to online?
    1. Kathleen Gray and Lynn Cross, Youth Engaging in the Science of Resilience in Urban and Rural NC (YES-Resilience)
    2. Erin Jant and Carrie Jubran, Investigating the Impact of Head Start Family Interactions on Children's STEM Process Skills during Family Events at Two Science Centers
    3. Charles Xie and Kim Spangenberg, Change Makers: Crowdsolving the Energy Challenge through Cyber-Enabled Out-of-School Citizen Science Programs (Telelab)
    4. Karen Lozano and Aaron Massari, Developing a Live Science Show and Educational Outreach Resources to Engage Hispanic Students and Families in the Rio Grande Valley in STEM
  9. Never going back to normal: Re-imagining priorities, expectations and our work within a pandemic-informed context
    1. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch and Beth Rosenberg, Collaborative Research: Promoting Engagement in Informal STEM Learning as a Path to Employment for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    2. Preeti Gupta and Rachel Chaffee, RAPID: Supports and Challenges in an Educational Crisis: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Youth STEM Pathways
    3. Patrik Lundh and Diego Arancibia, Exploring the Relationship Between Continuous Improvement Culture and Afterschool STEM Program Quality
  10. What is place-based anyway? Lessons learned about technology, location, connection, and community in the pandemic (and what we are doing to do about it)
    1. Catherine Haden and Kim Koin, Collaborative Research: Making Space for Story-Based Tinkering to Scaffold Early Informal Engineering Learning
    2. Harrison Pinckney and Ankoma Anderson, I am a Scientist: Moving African American youth beyond participating in STEM activities to committing to a STEM identity
    3. Nicole Colston and Michael Hull, Enhancing the Capacity for Rural Libraries to Engage the Public in Drought Science, Monitoring, and Adaptation
  11. Working towards change: Transforming ourselves, our institutions, and our field (section 1)
    1. Laurie Giarratani and Jay Russell, Establishing a learning network to connect museums, scientists and rural communities to discuss scientific information to inform transdisciplinary problem-solving
    2. Jay Gillen, Maryland Shaw and Victory Swift, Youth-Directed Math Collaboratories and Mathematical Identity: African American Youth as Co-Learners, Co-Educators and Co-Researchers
    3. Medeia Csoba DeHass and Lori Collins, Collaborative Research: Ethical Considerations in Three-Dimensional Digitization of Indigenous Heritage
  12. Working towards change: Transforming ourselves, our institutions, and our field (section 2)
    1. Teresa Cavazos Cohn and Amanda Grant, Stories of Fire: Integrative Informal STEM Learning through Participatory Narratives
    2. Sarah Garlick and John Besley, Collaborative Research: Embedding Public Engagement with Science at Long-Term Ecological Research Sites