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Thanks to Kath, YESS Science Teacher, for this submission

A weeks-long partnership with the STEMCAP ambassadors from the University of Utah, Granite Schools District, and the Juvenile Justice Community culminated with the presentation of podcasts researched, written, compiled, and recorded by students in a JJYS youth center. The University branded the new project “Mission STEMCAP.”

The notion is that students from underserved populations could come to have an understanding and deep impact on a big-picture problem, such as the sixth mass extinction currently taking place on our planet.  The students were deeply empowered by the role they played in addressing this grand challenge.

The challenge included a research project that delved into the phenomenon of Mass Extinction and the parties driving those processes forward.  The students viewed relevant video presentations, interviewed extinction scientists, and created podcasts in conjunction with public radio professionals, working in concert with the University Stem/Cap program.

Fundamental to the outcomes were the persons involved in each step of this complicated and enriching process. Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, Department Chair of the Biology Department at the University of Utah, and STEMCAP ambassadors, AmeriCorps VISTA supervisors, and Youth Conservation Corps principals, all cooperated in bringing the latest and most relevant research to the problems and solutions for the grand challenges associated with extinction.

One of the JJYS youth centers was chosen to pilot this process because of a longstanding relationship with the biology department in YESS and the STEMCAP scientists at the University of Utah.  Without the benefit of this relationship and the gracious efforts of Dr. Nadkarni, none of this would have been possible.

We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the University and are hopeful that future programs will continue to enrich the lives of students in our schools.

Kathy Nelson, Science teacher extraordinaire, has been facilitating this partnership with her students since STEMCAP began working with the state and YESS.

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