STEM Outreach

STEM Outreach

P-20 Task Force Goal 1: Increase Student Achievement

 Description and Action Steps

NIU’s STEM Outreach delivers off-campus programs and on-campus activities designed to increased STEM literacy and enthusiasm among P-12 students, their families, and educators.

  1. Standards-based presentations in schools. STEM Outreach publicizes and presents Frontier Science road shows in local schools. Presentations are aligned with state learning standards.
  2. Hands-on STEM experiences. Clubs, camps, and competitions include extra-curricular opportunities for students in Aurora and Rockford; Physics Olympics at NIU; Sci-Tech camps and two engineering camps. A laserFeast 2010 grant is helping to develop ten hands-on experimentswith lasers for presentation in DeKalb and at community colleges.
  3. Campus visits and special events. Educational aspirations and knowledge of STEM subjects are increased by visits to campus labs and observatory and Spooky Science Saturday.
  4. Teacher professional development. Coordinator works with colleges, Partnership Office, CLASEP, and local districts to improve teachers’ knowledge and teaching skills in the STEM subjects.
  5. Visibility. After establishing the STEM Outreach office and beginning operations, the Coordinator has been working at local, regional, and national levels to increase the visibility and stature of NIU’s STEM Outreach programming.

Milestones and Outcomes

In 2009-10, the NIU STEM Outreach office conducted professional development in school districts, developed extensive web-based resources for teachers, and received grant funding for projects such as Colorful Cosmos, which involved reproducing photographs from telescopes in the observatory and Laserfest 2010.

More than 2500 students, teachers, and parents participated in activities designed to increase interest in the STEM subjects and provided strong, positive evaluations.


NIU Student Engagement

NIU students provide assistance and support at public events such as Spooky Science Saturday and competitions, guide members of extra-curricular STEM clubs, and act as counselors at STEM-related summer camps for middle school and high school students.


March 16, 2010 St. Patrick’s Day Chem Demo Night, Faraday Hall 143
October, 2010 National Science and Technology Expo for Northern Illinois


STEM Outreach Coordinator: Patricia Sievert

STEM Outreach Advisory Committee

  • COE: Cecil Smith
  • HHS: Shirley Richmond, Brigid Lusk
  • CEET: Cliff Mirman
  • LAS: Jon Carnahan, Richard Blecksmith
  • Administration and Outreach: Tom Parisi
  • Enrollment Services: Evaluation: Cory Cummings
  • Staff Support: Marilyn Bellert, Paulette Bowman


Pati Sievert ( or