NFB STEM2U

A blind student builds a bridge using toothpicks and gumdrops.

NFB STEM2U is coming to a city near you during the 2014-2015 school year!

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), in partnership with museums and science centers, will facilitate three regional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. NFB STEM2U is an extension of the NFB’s National Center for Blind Youth in Science initiative in local communities. NFB STEM2U expands on the exciting and innovative work conducted by the NFB in the area of informal STEM education through previous National Center for Blind Youth in Science programs such as the NFB Youth Slam, NFB Project Innovation, and NFB STEM-X.

NFB STEM2U will bring accessible STEM learning opportunities to ninety blind and low vision children in elementary and high school from across the United States. Furthermore, NFB STEM2U will offer learning opportunities to parents of blind children and educators working with blind students.

NFB STEM2U participants will have the opportunity to engage in accessible STEM learning at some of the country’s largest museums and science centers. Students will also have the opportunity to provide feedback to staff and educators about how the museum could better meet their nonvisual learning needs. In this way, participants will act as both learners and teachers. In the NFB STEM2U learning community, there is an understanding that no one person has all of the answers, but together we can overcome any barrier that we may encounter.

Each of the three regional programs will serve twenty blind elementary school students (the juniors) and ten blind high school students (the apprentices). All students will engage in hands-on inquiry-based STEM learning. Moreover, the students will have the occasion to learn with and from blind adult role models about how to succeed in the STEM classroom and in every-day-life. Apprentices (the older students) will also have the chance to develop and refine their leadership and mentoring skills as they give back through their work with the juniors (the younger students) throughout the program.

Blind and low vision students who are looking for more opportunities to learn about STEM and to have fun with their peers from across the country should apply to attend NFB STEM2U.

STEM2U brochure (PDF)
STEM2U brochure (BRF)

Program Details

ProgramDatesPartner Museum
*NFB STEM2U Baltimore (MD)November 6-8, 2014Port Discovery
NFB STEM2U Boston (MA)March 12-15, 2015Museum of Science
NFB STEM2U Columbus (OH)May 14-16, 2015COSI
**NFB STEM2U Leadership AcademySeptember 5-7, 2014N/A

A blind student feels his enlarged fingerprint.

Each program will begin on a Thursday evening and will run through a Saturday evening. Any necessary travel from the participant’s home to and from the program site will take place prior to the start of the program Thursday evening and after the close of the program Saturday night. Friday and Saturday’s learning activities at each regional program will take place both on and off of the partner museum campus.

*In addition to serving 30 blind and low vision youth, NFB STEM2U Baltimore will provide a cohort of ten teachers with hands-on professional development on STEM accessibility, technology, Braille, and how to foster a blind student’s development of a positive conception of blindness and him/herself.

**A weekend retreat held at the NFB Jernigan Institute in Baltimore, Maryland for the ten apprentices chosen to attend each of the three regional NFB STEM2U programs. At the NFB STEM2U Leadership Academy, high school students will learn how to be positive role models and leaders for the younger students who will attend their regional NFB STEM2U program later in the year.

Further Information for Prospective Juniors (elementary school-aged students)

Apply to attend an NFB STEM2U regional program.

Application deadline for juniors July 31

Twenty elementary school-aged students will be selected from the pool of applicants to attend each of the three regional programs (a total of sixty students). The application will ask each student to rank the three regional programs from first to third based on personal preference (i.e., location, dates, etc.).

To be eligible to apply for the NFB STEM2U program as a junior, students must:

  • Be in grades 3-6 during the 2014-2015 school year
  • Be blind or have low vision
  • Be a United States resident
  • Be accompanied by a parent or guardian

In addition to participating in some activities with their children, parents and guardians, who accompany junior participants, will attend workshops and activities specifically designed to equip parents with the tools and skills that they need to help their children become successful adults.

Further Information for Prospective Apprentices (high school-aged students)

A blind student pours liquid into a beaker.

APPLICATIONS HAVE CLOSED FOR APPRENTICES.

Ten high school-aged students will be selected from the pool of applicants to attend each of the three regional programs (a total of thirty students). The application will ask each student to rank the three regional programs from first to third based on personal preference (i.e., location, dates, etc.).

To be eligible to apply for the NFB STEM2U program as an apprentice, students must:

  • Be in grades 9-12 during the 2014-2015 school year
  • Be blind or have low vision
  • Be a United States resident
  • Be available to attend the entire September 5-7, 2014, NFB STEM2U Leadership Retreat in Baltimore, Maryland

To prepare apprentice participants for their role as mentors and leaders for the juniors in attendance at the NFB STEM2U regional programs, apprentices will attend a weekend leadership academy at the NFB Jernigan Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, in the fall of 2014. At this retreat, apprentices will have the occasion to learn from leaders in the National Federation of the Blind. All thirty apprentices (ten from each of the three regional programs) who will attend the 2014-2015 NFB STEM2U programs will be in attendance at the NFB STEM2U Leadership Academy, creating an excellent opportunity for the blind high school students to network and build relationships with their peers from all over the country.

Further Information for Prospective Teacher Participants 

Teachers tracking the temperature of their glasses using accessible science tools.

Apply to participate in the NFB STEM2U Baltimore teacher cohort.

Application deadline for teacher participants July 31

Ten teachers will be selected from the pool of applicants to participate in the NFB STEM2U Baltimore teacher cohort.

To be eligible to apply to participate in the NFB STEM2U Baltimore teacher cohort, an applicant must:

  • Be a practicing teacher
  • Be either a teacher of the blind or a STEM teacher
  • Be available for the entire NFB STEM2U Baltimore program November 6-8, 2014

Travel and Lodging Details

NFB STEM2U Baltimore

  • Junior and guardian pairs: Lodging will be provided at the NFB Jernigan Institute at no cost to the participant. Travel stipends will be available to support the attendance of participants; the value of the stipend will be based on need and cost incurred for travel.
  • Apprentices: Lodging will be provided at the NFB Jernigan Institute at no additional cost to the participant. The NFB Jernigan Institute will book travel to and from the airport or train station closest to the participant’s home unless the participant lives within driving distance of the program site.
  • Teacher participants: Lodging will be provided at the NFB Jernigan Institute (as space permits) at no cost to the participant. Travel stipends will be available to support the attendance of participants; the value of the stipend will be based on need and cost incurred for travel.

NFB STEM2U Boston

  • Junior and guardian pairs: Lodging for Thursday and Friday evenings will be provided by the NFB Jernigan Institute at a local hotel or other lodging facility. Travel stipends will be available to support the attendance of participants; the value of the stipend will be based on need and cost incurred for travel.
  • Apprentices: Lodging for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings will be provided by the NFB Jernigan Institute at a local hotel or other lodging facility. The NFB Jernigan Institute will book travel to and from the airport or train station closest to the participant’s home unless the participant lives within driving distance of the program site.

NFB STEM2U Columbus

  • Junior and guardian pairs: Lodging for Thursday and Friday evenings will be provided by the NFB Jernigan Institute at a local hotel or other lodging facility. Travel stipends will be available to support the attendance of participants; the value of the stipend will be based on need and cost incurred for travel.
  • Apprentices: Lodging for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings will be provided by the NFB Jernigan Institute at a local hotel or other lodging facility. The NFB Jernigan Institute will book travel to and from the airport or train station closest to the participant’s home unless the participant lives within driving distance of the program site.

NFB STEM2U Leadership Academy

  • Apprentices: Lodging will be provided at the NFB Jernigan Institute at no additional cost to the participant. The NFB Jernigan Institute will book travel to and from the airport or train station closest to the participant’s home unless the participant lives within driving distance of the program site.

There will be three additional NFB STEM2U programs during the 2015-2016 school year. If you are unable to attend this year’s programs, check back for more information about the 2015-2016 programs.

If you have questions or require additional information, please contact:

Natalie Shaheen
Director of Education, Jernigan Institute
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
STEM@nfb.org

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1322855.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.