What's Happening?

What's Happening?

STEMXplor –  The Key to Unlocking STEM Opportunities for Youth

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The Schenectady Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of Project STEM Xplor!

STEM Xplor is a website application where--for the first time--teachers, students, and parents can search in one place for after school, weekend, and summer learning programs that focus on science, technology, engineering and math. It is geared toward bridging the divide between under-resourced students and the burgeoning out-of-school learning opportunities in the Capital Region. You may access the site directly by typing in stemxplor.com.

The Schenectady Foundation, the Schenectady STEM Alliance, and Albany Can Code (ACC) collaborated to develop the concept and build the platform. The project employed graduates of ACC’s college-level web development classes, which created an excellent learning experience and delivered a professional-level product at a fraction of the market cost.

The website’s functionality was developed with input from administrators and teachers from the Schenectady School District, faculty from local colleges, and various youth program providers. The styling and user experience were designed with the intent of engaging school-age children, and to present detailed course information in a clean and concise format.

Through an online form on the website, any organization can upload details of their educational programs and include a custom promotional graphic. Once submitted, the website administrator will review the course/event for completeness and suitability, and then publish it to the site. This submission form was tested and evaluated by some of our partners, and through valuable feedback and edits has evolved into a quick and easy process.

Information from each approved program is automatically entered into a database, which powers the website search features. The search ‘views’ were designed so users can quickly find events by the details that matter most to them, such as: FREE EVENTS; NEAR ME (location); STEM DETECTIVE (filter events by topic, age and more); and CALENDAR (date). 

The project was completed over an eight-month period, which included fundraising efforts and cost approximately $7,500. Thanks to the support of TransFinder, MVP Health Care, National Grid Foundation, American Chemistry Associate, Merriam Agency, Project STEM Xplor went live on June 11th, and is already populated with over 70 local summer programs.

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/images/SCSD Youth STEM Xplor 3.jpgOn June 19th, we held a focus group with six Schenectady High School students where we watched and listened closely as they browsed throughout the site, reviewed available courses, and offered opinions on this tool and what they felt was most important to them and their peers. We will continue to do testing and solicit feedback throughout the summer to optimize the website and database ahead of a more formal launch event just prior to the start of the school year.

We look forward to the possibilities of STEM Xplor in our region and working towards our ultimate vision of Schenectady becoming an academic playground where young people and their families can easily find hands-on opportunities to explore STEM-related fields.

The Schenectady Foundation, STEM Alliance, and ACC are thrilled by this opportunity. To learn more about the Schenectady STEM Alliance or questions regarding STEM Xplor please contact Nick Alteri, STEM Alliance Coordinator at (518) 393-9500 or my email at nalteri@schenectadyfoundation.org.


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