NE STEM 4U: an out-of-school time academic program to improve achievement of socioeconomically disadvantaged youth in STEM areas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Background: The Nebraska Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics 4U (NE STEM 4U) program was initiated at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in 2013. NE STEM 4U is a student-run, faculty-led program facilitating problem-based learning (PBL) sessions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for socioeconomically disadvantaged kindergarten through grade 8 (K-8) students. PBL sessions are provided throughout the academic year in a twice-weekly, after-school, informal education program. The instructional material provided after school builds upon the curricula of the school day. Importantly, this program is a partnership between faculty members and administrators in higher education at UNO with community partners of Omaha including Collective for Youth, Beyond School Bells, and Omaha Public Schools. We focus on engaging K-8 youth in after-school immersion experiences in STEM fields using undergraduate students as mentors and facilitators using a model of problem-based learning. Results: This program fosters an educational pipeline for students with hands-on experience in problem-solving and critical thinking. The partnerships among the community provide the foundation for success for students across the K-16 pipeline. Conclusions: Herein, we describe the model of this program as documented by demonstrated successes to date in an effort to guide others in developing such a model in their city or region. We also provide models for implementation of assessment instruments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
JournalInternational Journal of STEM Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Academic programs
  • After-school
  • Metropolitan youth
  • Out-of-school time
  • Outreach
  • STEM
  • Underprivileged

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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