January 18, 2023

New Partnership Helps Bring STEM to K-12 Schools

The Oregon nonprofit In4All and Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling pair CAS undergraduates with career professionals to inspire and engage Portland-area K-12 students.

In4All In an exciting new partnership between Oregon nonprofit In4All and Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, undergraduate students from Lewis & Clark’s College of Arts and Science will soon be joining career professionals in K-12 classrooms to inspire and engage Portland-area students.

The pilot program begins February 6 and is composed of five undergraduates who have expressed an interest in a career in teaching—all are either enrolled in the Teacher Pathways program or have already taken an education course that includes hands-on experience in a K-12 classroom. Each student will be trained as an In4All seasonal program assistant before being sent on assignment to help ensure the experiences run smoothly and to document the students’ success and engagement with the curriculum.

In4All strives to connect with students who have been historically underserved at multiple points through their K-12 education in order to impact their ability to overcome historically marginalizing barriers in a positive way.

According to their website, “unraveling systemic barriers starts early, with classroom activities in elementary school that spark an interest in math and science, two subjects that are key indicators of future success. In middle school, we use a design-thinking methodology to engage eighth graders in solving problems that have relevance to them in their community. Finally, we are working with alternative high schools to create experiences that help students connect learning with their future.”

By partnering local businesses who operate in STEM fields with K-12 schools, In4All aims to increase students’ interest in STEM-related fields while mobilizing community around problems students care about. Ultimately they hope to be fostering an engaged STEM citizenry of individuals who think critically about their community and participate in shaping the future of Oregon.

“Research shows meaningful interactions with industry professionals help students who are historically underserved develop positive attitudes, a growth mindset, and a sense of belonging in school,” says In4All’s executive director Elaine Charpentier Philippi. “All of our programs create multiple interactions between students and industry volunteers over the program year to make a greater impact than a one-time classroom visit. Students that experience all of our elementary and middle school programming will interact with local industry professionals 20 times, then some will move into a high school work experience. We believe this level of engagement is needed for students to realize limitless possibilities in their lives. It changes our volunteers’ lives as well.”

Liza Finkel, professor of education and teacher pathways program director, is excited for what this partnership will bring for the undergraduates as well.

“Not only will the five undergrads fill In4All’s critical need for seasonal program assistants in order for them to continue to deliver their excellent programming, they will also be gaining invaluable experience in K-12 schools that may ultimately help inform their decision to pursue a career in teaching.”

Undergraduate students who are interested in teacher pathways or in a future position with In4All should contact Liza Finkel at lfinkel@lclark.edu.