Tufts STOMP (Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program)

What if all children recognized themselves as resourceful, innovative changemakers?

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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

STOMP was founded to match a supply with a need: we partner capable and charismatic undergraduate engineering students with K-12 teachers who need engineering education support. In 2001, Massachusetts added engineering into its K-12 curriculum standards, but the unfamiliar content and hands-on nature of engineering daunted many teachers. That year, the Tufts Center for Engineering Education Outreach created STOMP as a professional collaboration to support K-12 teachers to teach engineering.

Website

http://stompnetwork.org

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • Massachusetts

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Medford

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • Massachusetts

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Medford, Somerville, Boston, Malden, Everett, Cambridge, Arlington, Winchester

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Engineering education helps students be innovators and empowered change agents. However, bringing hands-on engineering design into the K-12 classroom is challenging on multiple levels. Many teachers have had little experience with engineering, and find teaching engineering to be daunting. In addition, 25 or more students engaged in individualized projects and hands-on construction can be challenging for any single adult to manage.

Engineering education can help youth become powerful thinkers who recognize themselves as innovative problem solvers who can change the world. We believe that children are better off when they can see themselves and others can see them as capable people, innovative thinkers, and active change agents.

Tufts STOMP (Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program) partners undergraduate engineering students with K-12 teachers to exchange expertise and provide K-12 students with brain-building engineering activities. Our open-ended, experiential engineering design activities give K-12 students a chance to do the “messy” problem solving that is not typically found in schools but that is critical for getting students interested in engineering and for developing the next generation of innovators.

STOMP serves a three-part audience: K-12 students in the greater Boston area (in Massachusetts), K-12 teachers in the Boston area, and Tufts University engineering students. We focus our outreach in schools in which 62% of students are people of color, 25% of students are English Language Learners, and 39% of students are economically disadvantaged.

We reach these youth at a critical developmental period, when they are forming their identities as learners, as potential engineers, and as innovators who make a difference in the world. Early engineering experiences widen children’s worldview of who can be an engineer and who can engineer change. STOMP supports children’s innate curiosity and creativity and helps them see themselves as resourceful, innovative problem solvers and changemakers.

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income communities

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Education

Year Founded

2001

Project Stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages, and has demonstrated success)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

We position K-12 students as resourceful innovators who can solve real problems and effect substantial change. STOMP brings together youth, teachers, and undergraduate engineering students to tackle problem-solving that is relevant and authentic to local and global communities. Students have designed and built projects ranging from water purification filters for refugees to assistive technology for a dog with a degenerative disease. STOMP builds participants’ understanding of complex phenomena and teaches them how to reason through complicated problems. Together, these three groups are inspiring and becoming the innovators and change agents our world needs.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

STOMP reaches 1,500 K-12 students annually, engaging them in experiential engineering education that they would not otherwise get. We serve students who are typically underrepresented in STEM and focus on the schools in our area with the greatest need. As a result, two-thirds of participating students are people of color, half are students with high needs (including disabilities), half are girls, one-third are economically disadvantaged, and one-fourth are English Language Learners. We reach youth at a critical developmental period, when they are forming their identities as learners and change agents.

We serve 50 teachers each year, bolstering their capacity to teach engineering to their current and future students.

STOMP impacts the undergraduate engineering students who work in STOMP as well, who become advocates and future supporters of innovative education and social justice.

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $50k - $100k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

STOMP is supported through community contributions. We run a cost-effective and efficient program.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

STOMP is innovative because we capitalize on the engineering knowledge of undergraduates, the professional skills of teachers, and the curiosity of children to create an exceptional learning experience that benefits all stakeholders. We advance children’s interest in and understanding of engineering. We respect and collaborate with teachers and help them advance their engineering teaching in and beyond our program. Undergraduates gain first-hand experience working in classrooms, which enables them to be informed education change agents as they become leaders of industry, voters, and parents.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

Early engineering experiences encourage youth to consider engineering in their futures. In addition to expanding career options for youth, engineering education shapes children’s thinking in ways that help them grow both self-confident and socially-minded. Engineering education helps children build identities as capable, resourceful, innovative people who improve the world. These young engineers learn ways of thinking and doing that can significantly impact society. We are excited to help children to strengthen their sense of self, building identities as learners and as community contributors.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Email
  • Word of mouth

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Relevance: Does this project seem to help children (ages 0 to 12 years) develop a strong sense of self, belonging, and purpose?

5 - Yes, this is great! The project lays out a strong, compelling case for how its model nurtures children’s wellbeing. - 25%

4 - It seems like a good fit, and the model talks explicitly about children’s wellbeing. - 25%

3 - I think so. The project seems related to children’s wellbeing, but the logic is vague. - 0%

2 - Not sure. The project doesn’t have much to do with wellbeing, or it doesn’t give enough information. - 50%

1 - Nope, this project definitely doesn’t fit the challenge brief (e.g., It doesn’t help kids younger than 12, isn’t in the U.S., etc.) - 0%

2. Innovation: Does this project tackle children’s wellbeing from a new angle?

5 - I loved this! The project describes a novel model that addresses important cultural or systemic barriers. - 0%

4 - This is pretty cool. The project is addressing an important problem in a new or compelling way. - 25%

3 - I feel like there’s something there, but I want more details about what makes it distinctive. - 50%

2 - It’s a good project, but I’ve seen others like it before. - 0%

1 - It was confusing or hard to tell what it made it different. - 25%

3. Social Impact: What is this project’s potential for creating positive social impact?

5 - Lots of potential. This project is achieving impressive results, and it’s growing quickly. It could absolutely inspire changes in the ways we approach caring for kids nationally, across sectors (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 0%

4 - Pretty good potential. This project demonstrates significant positive impact so far, and it could scale regionally or nationally one day and fundamentally change how a system operates (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 0%

3 - Budding potential. This project is creating local impact, but it would take a few adjustments before it could scale. - 50%

2 - Some potential. This project demonstrates some initial positive impact, but it would require major changes before it could scale. - 25%

1 - Limited potential. This project has great intentions, but it looks like it does not include key drivers of a shift towards children’s wellbeing. - 25%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 25%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 25%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 0%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 25%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 25%

5. Offer some feedback. Where should this participant spend some time revising?

DEFINING THE PROBLEM. Make sure to articulate the root causes or main barriers of the social issue your project addresses. (Founding Story, Problem, Solution). - 33.3%

CLARITY OF MODEL. Make sure to mention (a.) the beneficiary, b) the main activities, and c) how those activities drive social impact. Keep it streamlined! - 66.7%

MARKETPLACE. Make sure to research other players in this space and articulate how this project is different. I didn’t get a complete sense of how this project compares to others. - 66.7%

IMPACT POTENTIAL. Make sure to use specific numbers to describe what your project has achieved so far! And consider how you might scale the model or its insights, through partnerships, trainings, or franchising. - 100%

WRITING STYLE. Try to stay concise and make it vivid. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

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Photo of Christopher D. Koch
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Hi there, real good article, i'm very glad to read it. I'm fascinated with your work, Karen. "Early engineering experiences encourage youth to consider engineering in their futures. In addition to expanding career options for youth, engineering education shapes children’s thinking in ways that help them grow both self-confident and socially-minded." it really is! For example, devastating effect can be have some promote an app services like https://mopeak.com/ mobile don't thing by themselfs and it's awful

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