STEM Project to Benefit Down East Youth

A new program based in Machias aims to immerse at least 600 10- to 18-year-olds in innovative, out-of-school science and math opportunities.

The three-year STEM Guides Downeast project is a collaborative effort among the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA), Axiom Education and Training Center and University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H, according to an Axiom Technologies news release.

STEM Guides Downeast will launch during a public event at 3 p.m. Sept. 1 at the University of Maine at Machias. Registration for the event is online.

Attending the event for UMaine Extension are Lisa Phelps, program administrator; Jennifer Lobley, a professor based out of Washington County who supports 4-H and volunteer development; and Greg Kranich, a 4-H science youth development professional who works with northern and coastal counties.

U.S. Sen. Angus King is expected to be on hand to celebrate the new partnership, and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has been invited, the release states.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, STEM Guides Downeast is one of four regional models being developed and tested in Maine by MMSA. The model supports local people who are passionate about education and science to be STEM Guides and serve as informal science advisers and mentors to area youth.

STEM Guides will be based at the Axiom Education and Training Center where they will work with local partners to identify existing STEM resources and connect youth with opportunities in creative ways. Youth will participate in 4-H STEM programs and in science clubs based at libraries, schools and after-school programs.

“We always work in partnership with local people, projects and programs to show young people that they are surrounded by science,” says Jan Mokros, project director.

STEM Guides Downeast will be guided by a partners council that includes the University of Maine at Machias, Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education, 4-H, Sunrise County Economic Council, Washington County Government and local schools and libraries.

The full Axiom Technologies release is online.