Effective STEM Outreach for Indigenous Community Contexts - Getting it Right One Community at a Time!

Sandy Marie Bonny

Abstract


Unequal K-12 preparation, lack of mentorship, and cultural isolation in STEM programs pose barriers to post-secondary engagement for many Indigenous students in Saskatchewan (Canada). K-12 STEM outreach aims to encourage future STEM participation among underrepresented cohorts, but the impacts of outreach initiatives depend the intersections of program design and delivery with community priorities and local learning needs. The University of Saskatchewan Science Ambassador Program uniquely positions outreach staff, ‘Science Ambassadors’, as two-way learners during placements in remote Northern Indigenous community schools, connecting cultural engagement to the STEM outreach mandate. This paper describes development of the program drawing on program reports (2007-2016), data from post-placement surveys, and reflective practice to identify best approaches and potential barriers to effective STEM outreach in Indigenous community contexts.

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