Project WISE: Building STEM-Focused Youth-Programs that Serve the Community

  • Gregory A. DiLisi
  • Keith A. McMillin
  • Margaret E. Virostek


We describe the design and implementation of Project WISE, a multi-institutional partnership that assembles interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and high school students charged with developing STEM-focused community youth-programs. Our goal is twofold: (i.) to promote young womens interest in STEM-oriented careers through an early, positive exposure to informal science education, and (ii.) to trial-test a model of how high schools, universities, and informal learning centers can collaborate to build strong, successful youth-program partnerships that serve the local community. Our project is innovative in its youth-development strategies, the targeting plan for diverse audiences, and the focus on womens contributions to aviation and space flight. The project also gives student participants rare but powerful opportunities to contribute directly to the quality of life in their community and to work in multi-disciplinary, multi-generational teams.