Media Archive


Meet Our Youth Board Members!

STEMSTL has recently begun meeting with our newly-formed Strategic Advisory Board; this board is put in place to help advise our organization on developing and deploying systems-level intervention to ensure that all students receive high-quality STEM instruction in and out of school and have access to robust, equitable workforce pipelines to STEM jobs. As a part of the creation of this board, we completed a search for 7th-12th grade leaders in the St. Louis area to serve as Youth Board Members and share their voices as students in the region. Through our search, we found three outstanding students to join our board. Their passion for STEM and equitable learning in the region is truly inspiring, and we are continually grateful for their participation and enthusiasm in STEMSTL and as members of our board. 

We want to introduce you to our three Youth Board Members 一 Saniya Scott, DeJuan Strickland, and Nolan Davis 一 and let you get to know them a little more!

Celebrating Women's History Month

This Women’s History Month 2021, the month of March, we are celebrating some amazing women who made history in the STEM world – those who broke barriers, shattered glass ceilings, and inspired generations of female STEM bosses to come. We are also taking a closer look at what it means to be a woman in STEM today, and how we can help to fix this male-dominated industry and encourage and inspire young girls to pursue an education and career in these fields.

Celebrating Black History Month

A note on change…
This last week, our country experienced one of the most recognizable rituals of change – the transfer of power from one presidential administration to another.  Regardless of who is elected, every time I watch I’m reminded that this occurrence is remarkable.  And, as we were reminded, incredibly fragile.
Seeing the replay of these events has me thinking about change.  There’s a lot of discontent (as there should be) for our current realities: frustration about difficult systems we’ve built to educate and measure the progress of our children, frustration about financial burdens of four-year post-secondary education, frustrations about systemic inequities that have made the last year only inconvenient for some of us while deadly for others, and the list goes on.
And yet, we are seeing productive STEM-related movement as a result of frustration with our current situation: we developed and deployed a vaccine faster than ever before, our region has picked STEM-related sectors around which to build it, and the pandemic continues to reveal that we need to re-engineer everything from healthcare delivery to job training.
As we continue to move towards a new reality “post” pandemic, I am increasingly focused less on what we do, and focused more on how we do it.
You may be familiar with the STL2030 Jobs Plan.  It is a 10 year strategy for creating “inclusive prosperity,” or how our region will create more jobs for everyone.  Like many plans, it’s high level, with few specifics about the steps that will be taken to implement its strategies.  For example, the plan “designate[s] STEMSTL as lead organization in the development of a coordinated and collaborative regional STEM education and training ecosystem [to] help ensure that every St. Louis student has access to high-quality STEM learning opportunities from pre-kindergarten to high school and beyond.” 
And as me move forward to live into that mission, here are the questions I’m asking:
-How do we make it easier to change the policies and systems that have gotten us here?
-What new stories do we need to tell each other and ourselves to imagine a different future?
-How do we center the voices of those most impacted as we make decisions about the steps we take?
-What does anti-racism actually look like in the day-to-day?  How does it ask us to make different decisions, establish different priorities and think about success differently?
-When this year is over, what do we want to be most proud of accomplishing?  How will we get there?
So as we move forward into 2021, let us focus not just on what we are doing, but how we are doing it.  We can’t wait to do it with you

STEMSTL Community Ad Campaign Launches Ads Across St. Louis!

In times of uncertainty, we at STEMSTL want to provide parents a reassuring message: "You are doing enough." Our EVERYDAY STEM Campaign highlights all the ways STEM happens in our day-to-day activities, and encourages parents to see these activities as lessons, and opportunities. We are so happy to have ads finally placed across St. Louis at metro and bus stops including Forest Park, Cortex, Central West End, and St. Charles Rock Road. If you see one of our ads, don't hesitate to send us a selfie!

STEMSTL Holds First Monthly Roundtable

STEMSTL was happy to host the first Monthly Roundtable on the subject of Out-of-School STEM program quality. We had a lively discussion about program quality as it relates to 21st Century Skills, anti-racism, and the definition of quality. There were great insights about how students and participants define quality. During our time, we discussed the following articles and resources:

STEMSTL Partnerships

Watch RYEC's 2021 Level Up Youth Conference

You can now watch all three days of RYEC’S 2021 Level Up Youth Conference on YouTube! Be sure to check out our Program Manager, Kate Polokonis, moderating the Healthcare Panel in the Day 1 video and here from professionals in many sectors of the field!

SBE21 Speaker Series: How Black Male Educators Are Creating an Equitable and Inclusive STEM Future

STEMSTL had an amazing event with Black Males in Education STL on February 27th. We were joined by Dr. Albert Sanders, Orlando Sharpe, and Curtis O’Dwyer, three Black male educators in the St. Louis region, along with Dr. Robert Simmons III as the moderator to hear their insights and opinions on what equitable STEM education looks like and how to achieve it. If you missed out on the conversation, you can access the video recording above!

Ecosystem members unite to discuss systemic educational inequality

On October 29, 2020, members of the St. Louis education, workforce development, and STEM ecosystems joined Dr. Karishma Furtado and Cristian Vargas from Forward Through Ferguson for a discussion of the report, "Still Separate, Still Unequal: A Call to Level the Uneven Education Playing Field in St. Louis." The report serves as a sobering reminder of the deep educational inequalities that plague our city, but points to concrete actions citizens can take to support systems-level change to support all of St. Louis' learners. You can watch a recording of the presentation (without audience questions and comments) at the link above.

A 2020 Webinar Series Examining K-12 featuring Natalie Self

Join the KC STEM Alliance in this five-part series of conversations to explore the ways our region is moving to close the gender gap in STEM.  Part 5 features our own Executive Director, Natalie Self,

Moderated by Dr. Margery Sendze, the interactive series looks at key influences and success stories at each stage of STEM education—from kindergarten through high school. Panelists include community and corporate partners, mentors, parents, teachers, students and women with STEM careers.

Annual Gatherings

Missouri STEM Week

STEMSTL and Science Coach are celebrating Missouri STEM Celebration Week – which recognizes St. Louis area seniors who are committed to pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math education in college. Several of the students are taking part in STEM Signing Day on Friday, May 7th, sponsored by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

2021 Missouri STEM Signing Day

The Missouri Chamber Foundation’s Mathematics and Science Coalition hosts the annual Missouri STEM Signing Day program in partnership with the Boeing Company to raise awareness of STEM pathways for students beyond high school. Just like signing days for athletes, Missouri STEM Signing Day celebrates Missouri high school seniors as they make their commitments to study a STEM field in 4-year or 2-year college or technical school and provides a $1,000 scholarship to a select few awardees from around the state!

STEMSTL Interviews

BioSTL employees moving St. Louis toward anti-racist economic development

Take a look at this article on diversity, equity, and inclusion from the St. Louis American.  Entitled "Moving St. Louis toward Anti-Racist Economic Development", from 4 BioSTL employees; Lindsey Harrison, Ben Johnson, Natalie Self, and LaShana Lewis.  The article highlights the incredible systems change work we are doing to create a more equitable St. Louis!

Natalie Self moderating New In The Lou Panel

The Gephardt Institute is hosting New in the Lou, a series of panel discussions to catalyze dialogue about St. Louis through the eyes of our local community. Conversations are geared towards undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty/staff, with attention on new members of the WashU community. Attendees will be entered to win door prizes from STL Style! Panelists include Keisha Mabry, Emily Lohse-Busch, Philip Sangokoya, and Phyllis Ellison. Moderator will be our own Natalie Self!

Natalie Self featured in WISER Conversations podcast

Natalie Self talks with Dena Ladd, Executive Director of Missouri Cures about inclusion, equity and diversity in economic development in Episode 7 of WISER Conversations.  Listen now!

STEMSTL Executive Director Natalie Self featured in RFT Article

In an article titled St. Louis Students' Classes Go Online, Highlighting City's Problems, Our ED, Natalie Self, shares learning from many our partners: “...simply getting a device in the students’ hands is not a panacea. Devices break. They need to be charged. They rely on Wi-Fi. Households with multiple students...requires a lot of expensive bandwidth.”

Check out the recording of the EdHub STL Wednesday Webinar

Natalie Self, STEMSTL's Former Executive Director asks challenging questions about anti-racism in STEM at the EdHubSTL Wednesday Webinar.


Building on the EdHub-hosed Anti-Racism in STEM talk, Natalie discusses the percentage of Black women scientists who report bias in the workplace, the ties between the Ferguson Commission report and anti-racism in STEM and howe we can lead from where we sit.

Education Equity Series: What is Education Equity? featuring Natalie Self

In this first episode of our special series of inspirED dedicated to education equity, a group of education professionals explore how education equity manifests in classrooms across the U.S., and how those experiences impact students inside and outside the classroom.

Our guests share their personal experiences with education equity and discuss ways you can actively work towards creating equity every day in every part of your classrooms, schools, homes, and communities.

Natalie Self featured in article from The Plug

In Plug article "How Ecosystem Leaders In St. Louis Are Adjusting and Adapting During the Pandemic", Natalie Self discusses the educational inequities present in post-pandemic education.