Around the Region

Linking youth and community through science, technology, engineering and mathematics

    The Reach Center, a project of The Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, is developing a new model to increase youth engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The towns of Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft and Guilford as well as surrounding communities are beginning to work together to map the STEM assets of the area. Things like farms and businesses that utilize STEM concepts every day to summer camps and internships and citizen science opportunities.

    As this information is compiled, the Reach Center at MMSA is adding it to their curated STEM resource bank that will eventually be used statewide. The Reach Center is working to showcase the STEM resources, skills, and expertise of entire communities and connect them to 10- to 18-year-olds and their families. Research suggests, that by seeing the STEM around them, youth will become more knowledgeable about STEM and engaged in it; a benefit in so many ways. This area’s new “STEM Hub” is the first of its kind, and is working with many partners to significantly increase access to informal (out of school) STEM resources.
    In order to accomplish this goal, the Hub is recruiting a group of six to eight individuals (called Guides) who are carefully selected, highly motivated individuals (e.g., librarians, educators, active or retired STEM professionals, college instructors), as well as at least one youth. Alyson Saunders, the lead Guide for this area explains, “This group of Guides will help youth and families connect directly with STEM opportunities and people in their community and beyond. There are a lot of hidden resources out there if you only know where to look.”
    The Guides will also help to make decisions on how to allocate a modest pool of funds to support local youth in their quest for STEM opportunities and help youth discover the wealth of STEM embedded in their community.
    Saunders also explains, “This is a collaborative project and so we are partnering with organizations like 4-H, Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District, the University of Maine, libraries and Scouts as well as working with schools and homeschoolers to identify youth who could benefit from increased access to informal STEM opportunities.”
    If you would like more information, please contact Saunders at or come visit their booth at the SeDoMoCha Middle School STEM Fair on Thursday, March 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. or at Dexter Regional High School’s Thinkers and Tinkerers Expo on Wednesday, April 3 from 4 to 8 p.m.

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