USD Awarded National Science Foundation Grant for Community Engagement Project

SAN DIEGO, CA — The University of San Diego’s (USD) project, "Bridging the World of Work and Informal STEM Education (STEMWoW)," was recently awarded a grant of $300,000 from The National Science Foundation (NSF). This award starts October 1, 2017 and ends September 30, 2019 and will be under the direction of Dr. Odesma Dalrymple, Dr. Yaoran Li, Dr. Perla Myers, Dr. Vitaliy Popov, and Dr. Joi Spencer.

STEMWoW is a two-year Exploratory Pathways project to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics interest among middle school students in a primarily Hispanic-serving area, as research suggests that promoting and maintaining interest can increase the likelihood of students considering a STEM career.  

“This grant allows us to provide such important learning opportunities to youth in our region and to train future teachers to provide high quality, engaging STEM instruction and mentorship to their future students. The research that we conduct through this grant will help us to explore and build better models of STEM education that meet the needs of underserved youth of color,” stated Joi Spencer, PhD.

STEMWoW integrates curricula that has been successfully deployed in informal educational settings by the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab, the STEAM Labs, the STEAM Team Summer Academy, the STEAM Youth and Community Conference and Project Mathigami. Data will be gathered through cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys and reflective focus groups with the students and their parents/guardians. The data will be used to determine the impacts of the STEMWoW project on students' engagement, STEM motivation, and academic outcomes.


For more information about the program, please visit:



Melissa Oleson
619-260-4659 x 4