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Science Museum of Minnesota

Partner Agency: Science Museum of Minnesota
Location(s): 120 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55102
Site Supervisor: Joseph Adamji, Director

CTEP Program Description

The AmeriCorps Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP) bridges the “digital divide” for new Immigrants and low-income communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Join AmeriCorps CTEP and help make the information age accessible to all.  CTEP is a project of Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN).

Site History and Mission

The Science Museum of Minnesota uses science learning to realize the potential of policy makers, educators, and individuals to achieve full civic and economic participation in the world. The mission of the museum’s Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center (KAYSC) is to empower youth to change the world through science. The KAYSC programming is built around what we call “STEM Justice”: a movement to redefine STEM as a tool for addressing systems of oppression. This involves positive youth development practices to help youth learn STEM content skills, supporting youth to make meaningful contributions to their community, and creating space for youth to explore college and career futures. Our programming reaches elementary students, middle school students, high school students, and youth who have recently graduated from college. We maintain close ties to our alumni and seek to keep them included in the KAYSC community. Youth in each program area work with a group of their peers and their work is facilitated by an adult crew manager. The KAYSC’s target audience is youth who are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers - primarily girls (60% of participants), youth of color (90% of participants), and youth from low-income families (75% of participants). Many youth in the KAYSC community are also new Americans. We work toward a future in which young women and people of color make up the majority of researchers, policy makers, educators, innovators and leaders in science and technology fields, concurrent with a shift toward innovations that support community development and environmental justice.

Youth in the program learn about STEM as they develop a wide range of skills, including general training in work-related skill development (professionalism, communication, teamwork), education (research, project/program development, presenting/facilitating), and career planning. Youth ideally stay with the KAYSC for four to six years, and continuing education percentages are encouraging: 99 percent of KAYSC youth graduate from high school; 80 percent enroll in technical school, junior college, or college/university. While nearly all KAYSC youth graduate from high school it is very important that these youth receive the support necessary for them to overcome the institutional and cultural obstacles which have historically prevented individuals from their backgrounds from pursuing higher education opportunities and science and technology careers.

Preferred Site Schedule for Member

The weekly schedule will generally be Tuesday through Saturday. The CTEP member will be able to negotiate specific daily start and end times based on his/her work plan. The Member’s service will include evening hours as youth crews meet after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, generally from 4-7pm. Youth programming also occurs throughout the day on Saturdays, generally from 9am-5pm and throughout the summer on a Mon-Friday basis during a typical workday (9-5).

In addition, members attend professional development days with their fellow CTEP members to enhance service-readiness skills, personal attributes at the service site, and citizenship skills.  These Corps days take place twice a month on the 1st and 3rd Fridays from 9 AM to 4 PM, and these trainings are mandatory.  Members also attend statewide AmeriCorps events, such as the Martin Luther King Day celebration, and/or serve on the statewide InterCorps Council.

Specific Site Responsibilities

The Member is responsible for providing service in three areas which will help our youth develop 21st century skills with an emphasis on technology literacy: 1) Primary direct service projects; 2) Secondary direct service projects; and 3) Capacity building projects.

Primary Direct Service (45% of service time)

  • The Member will facilitate direct media and technology skills development for high school Crew members and younger students in the program.
  • The Member will facilitate Digital Portfolio development workshops for KAYSC participants throughout the program year.

Secondary Direct Service (15% of service time):

The Member will support general recruiting efforts for the KAYSC Design Team and high school program and support their experiences.

  • Mobilize KAYSC youth volunteers to promote technology literacy for members of the general public.
  • Identify 3-5 internal and/or external events that KAYSC youth volunteers can attend as teachers or presenters
  • Support participants with job search and application to transition from unpaid to paid work within the KAYSC, Museum, and potentially the broader community
  • The Member will recruit adult volunteers (program alumni when possible) and manage their experience with the support of the Science Museum’s Volunteer Department.

Capacity Building (40% of service time)

The Member will increase the capacity of KAYSC adult staff and the broader museum to embrace technology literacy as a valued, integral part of the KAYSC program through the following projects:

1) College and career pathway mapping for all high school students in the program.

  • Develop a resource that can be used by all program areas to share with program participants
  • Identify and document local colleges/universities that provide degrees and certificates in this content
  • Identify local employers (non-profit, for-profit, and government) that provide careers in this content

2) The Member will document the digital literacy education and assessment process and resulting youth outcomes and communicate this information to KAYSC staff.

  • Develop workshop modules to support the development of Digital Portfolios for each KAYSC participant
  • Share best practices and lessons learned from the assessment project at two staff meetings or professional development sessions throughout the year - a mid-term presentation and an end-of-term presentation
  • Enter relevant participation and skill building data in to Sprockets database
  • Create a curriculum resource (online or written) that the KAYSC can use to implement technology literacy assessments and trainings for youth in the future

3) Create and facilitate 1-2 professional development workshops for KAYSC adult staff, to increase their ability to appropriately incorporate digital technology learning in their programs/crews

4) Serve as a bridge between the KAYSC and the Science Museum of Minnesota’s computer education center, which typically serves adult learners, to craft and adapt job training curriculum to align with STEM justice and cater to youth participatory education models.  

  • Attend computer education classes (xcel, photoshop, video editing etc)
  • Draft workshop materials and agendas for adapting said workshops to have a STEM Justice and youth focus
  • Pilot the workshops with kaysc participants and SMM staff
  • Lead workshops for high school and younger youth as appropriate.

Site Environment

The Member will spend the majority of his/her time working in the KAYSC space within the Science Museum of Minnesota. Youth volunteers and staff share the space with adult volunteers, AmeriCorps members and staff, though adults have locked office space adjacent to the shared youth/adult space. The KAYSC space is a large multi-use room with a kitchen area (including sink, refrigerators, microwaves and a microwave oven), computer lab, multiple work areas, couch area, and locked storage and office space. It will be newly renovated when the CTEP member begins his/her term of service in fall 2012. Working in the KAYSC requires significant emotional and intellectual investment. Our mission and vision are active, even activist in nature, and staff, volunteers, and AmeriCorps members are expected to live out the mission and vision in their work. (Mission: To empower youth to change our world through science. Vision: We work toward a future in which young women and people of color make up the majority of researchers, policy makers, educators, innovators and leaders in science and technology fields, concurrent with a shift toward innovations that support community development and environmental justice.) All KAYSC youth and adult staff are expected to embrace the following values in their work: respect, community, everyone has potential, diversity, and everything is science and redefine STEM as a tool for addressing systems of oppression.

The KAYSC is a high-paced work environment where individuals are expected to support each other in their endeavors. KAYSC youth and adult staff are acknowledged for bringing their own personal expertise to the work. They work together collaboratively knowing that the process and goals are enhanced because of that effort. Due to the nature of youth work, staff and service members may encounter situations in which they are uncomfortable or do not feel they know how to solve a problem. All KAYSC staff, volunteers and AmeriCorps members are provided with support necessary for them to physically, emotionally, and intellectually bring their best selves to the work and feel empowered to work through any uncomfortable or challenging situations.

How to Apply

Apply online at my.americorps.gov and click on “Apply to Serve” (be sure to search for the “Community Technology Empowerment Project” or “CTEP” when asked to indicate what program you would like to send your application to).  Contact: Joel Krogstad,  krogstad@spnn.org, 651.298.8918

We are committed to recruiting and engaging individuals without regard to disability, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.  Reasonable accommodations will be made upon request.  Alternative formats of this document are also available.