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The STEM-Works team developed a Web portal that supports volunteers that are working in their local communities to increase science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills in our nation's youth. We are also bringing those people together as a virtual community that we will ultimately serve. If you would like to help us build STEM-Works through donations, partnerships, quality content or just have an idea you would like to share, please contact us.

Through our STEM endeavors over the last few years, we have also been lucky to connect with many individuals in this vibrant community. We have talked with you face-to-face during our CSI programs and conference participation, interacted with you online through our Kids Ahead and STEM-Works websites and have become "friends" and "followers" through our social media accounts. After connecting with so many wonderful people, we really wanted to have a platform to better engage with you and to share exciting STEM content, ideas, and people. The STEM-Works blog was implemented in May 2013 to serve as a unifying platform for our audience, follwers and friends.

Our Mission

The STEM-Works program supports volunteers that are working in their local communities to increase science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills in our nation.

We believe that there are many grass-roots efforts by individuals and small groups across the nation to help kids gain confidence in their STEM skills by providing them with inspiring experiences. Giving those volunteers the tools that they need to be successful is the primary focus of the STEM-Works program. STEM-Works is a sister program to Kids Ahead, which is designed for middle school children.

The STEM-Works program is sponsored by the Department of Defense and Southern Methodist University. Our program is designed to help STEM professionals, club leaders and teachers find activities, projects and events that allow them to teach STEM skills to young people. By providing those volunteers access to quality material on exciting subjects like Robotics, Wind Energy and Forensics, we hope they will help young people gain confidence and interests in STEM fields. The same material is available for parents and teachers and will include group activities as well as individual projects.

Our Goals

Develop a virtual community in support of our mission. That community consists of people like you. We hope that you will join our community, tell others about us, and contribute what you know to this effort.

Create a virtual environment where volunteers will find the tools they need to inspire, teach and have fun with young people. By aggregating information that is currently found in many places, in addition to providing new content, we believe we can provide high quality projects, activities and events for volunteers working with middle school children.

Support STEM professionals working in the Department of Defense by focusing on their geographic regions like Washington, DC area, Dallas/Fort Worth area, the Seattle, Washington area, and Albuquerque, New Mexico area.

Our Impact

By creating a unique virtual environment and supporting community that is focused on giving adults the tools they need to inspire kids; we will ensure our nation has the necessary technical knowledge to maintain our status as a world leader.

We want every child regardless of where they live to be able to have quality experiences that build their interest and competencies in STEM. Giving volunteers access to these materials and activities that are fun, exciting, and challenging they will be the foundation of a national effort for increasing STEM skills in our youth.

We know that parents, teachers, club leaders and other adults are working toward the same goal, but often lack the resources they need to be successful. STEM-Works will give those people projects they can do with a young protégé, activities they can do with a group of young people, and places and events they can attend that offer quality STEM related learning experiences. We hope that these efforts will allow volunteers to meet their own goals and be as impactful as they desire.

Program Overview

The STEM-Works website was launched in February 2011. On that site teachers, STEM professionals, parents, mentors and club leaders will find projects, activities, and events related to three topics: Robotics, Forensics and Wind Energy. At first, we only included events in the Washington, DC area, Dallas/Fort Worth area, the Seattle, Washington area, and Albuquerque, New Mexico area but eventually, we plan to have events identified throughout the entire country and across many more subjects. STEM-Works will aggregate material from many sources to accumulate the right resources for Volunteers to use in their own community activities.

Our Team

STEM-Works is sponsored by the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education at the Southern Methodist University and the Director of Defense Research and Engineering within the Department of Defense. Through the Board of Advisors for the Caruth Institute, we have a far reaching and very influential group of people helping us achieve our goals.

  • Frank Cappuccio, Executive Vice President & General Manager of Advanced Development Programs and Strategic Planning, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
  • David Chard, Leon Simmons Endowed Dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University
  • Gano Ehlers, A leader in STEM education for over 25 years
  • Gene Frantz, Texas Instruments Incorporated, Principal Fellow
  • Gary Payton, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space Programs, former Astronaut
  • Sue Payton, Former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, and President - SCI Aerospace Inc.
  • B. J. Penn, Former Secretary of the Navy, former Navy pilot
  • Torrence Robinson, Director of Education and Workforce for Texas Instruments
  • Maxine Savitz, Retired General Manager of Technology Partnerships at Honeywell, Inc.
  • Karen Shuford, Charitable trust consultant, leader and volunteer for civil agencies and organizations that support medical care, education and the arts in Dallas, TX
  • Carole Young, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Medical City Dallas Hospital, member of the Executive Committee of the Chancellor’s Council of The University of Texas System, and member of The Presidents’ Circle of The National Academies Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Medical City Dallas Hospital, member of the Executive Committee of the Chancellor’s Council of the University of Texas System, and member of the President’s Circle of the National Academies
  • Jim Young, Former Executive Assistant to the Chairman of EDS. Currently serves or has served on the boards, advisory councils, and/or executive committees, including Kipp Schools
Delores Etter, Ph.D.

About Delores Etter, Ph.D.

The founder of the STEM-Works program is Dr. Delores M. Etter—an engineer, scientist and innovative leader and Caruth Professor in Engineering Education and the Distinguished Fellow in the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security. As part of the new Caruth Hall at SMU, she is responsible for the Innovation Gymnasium where students will learn through hands-on activities how to be our future innovators.

Her many initiatives are aimed at ensuring all young people are able to have fun, interesting and challenging experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Learn more about where she works and about her other initiatives to inspire young people.

Join the STEM-Works community