The Franklin Institute

STEM Scholars Program

Compelling Multi-year Proposition

-- to have qualified disadvantaged students who often would drop out of school, enter high school, succeed at STEM, go on to college and then successful careers.

The Philadelphia area is challenged in attracting talented young disadvantaged students entering ninth grade (and high school) to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education which leads them on to promising careers. This expertise is vital for the future of these students, the community and the country. The STEM Scholars, a highly successful four-year cohort program across the high school years is a unique initiative for academically talented students from disadvantaged social and educational backgrounds, half of which would normally drop out of high school and none go on to college. Instead all are graduating high school and going on to well-regarded colleges. The STEM Scholars program for qualified disadvantaged students entering high school in the Philadelphia region is now an international model for successful stem education.

The students from some of the worst elementary and high schools in the Philadelphia area were identified and selected as academically talented using the state tests. It’s a huge point of pride that the STEM Scholars have gone on to be accepted at more than 60 colleges and universities including Penn, Drexel, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, University of Delaware, NYU, University of Pittsburgh and more.

Program Overview

Over the four-year period, the Scholars are:

  • immersed in STEM activities and opportunities. The Franklin Institute's talented education staff leads the program with other institutions participating such as the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Wister Foundation, Princeton University and others. The program is extensive, consisting of four days a week after school training mostly at the Franklin Institute for their four high school years and eight weeks full-time during each summer.
  • Exposed to a wide range of STEM fields. During their 2015 summer program, the STEM Scholars participated in 15 exciting field trips and over 50 volunteer-led workshops.
  • Prepared for college, with a specialized ACT and SAT prep created to close the gaps left from poor elementary schooling and position these future stars for college acceptance.
  • Prepared for Life. As the Program matures, the continuum is expanding to include internship experiences in high-quality STEM labs and corporations.

Goals Identified And Being Accomplished

Primary goal – involve academically talented students from disadvantaged social and educational backgrounds to STEM education, activities and career opportunities so as to

  • Increase matriculation in the stem disciplines
  • Increase the number of disadvantaged young people attaining college acceptance, retention, graduation and going on to successful careers
  • Provide valuable stem internships to keep the momentum going throughout college

Nonprofit Partner Comment

“Fewer than one in six students have the science skills needed to compete in a world increasingly driven by innovation. We are thrilled to partner with Ed Satell and Progressive Business Publications in fulfilling the vision for this program. Ed has provided initial leadership support for the STEM Scholars, and has been an advocate for encouraging more of the region’s youth to become engaged scientists and engineers.”

-Dr. Dennis Wint, CEO, The Franklin Institute

Participant Comment

“Without this program, I would not be the first member of my family to get a high school diploma, and I am the first member of my family to go to college, and I have a five-year scholarship to Drexel University for engineering. Thank you all—you changed my life.”

-Korah L. 2014 Cohort, also named “Young Woman in Science Future Leader 2015”

Opportunities For Employee Engagement And Sponsor Recognition

The STEM Scholars need many of the "business life" and "customer service orientation" skills so natural to corporate employees. They are largely absent in the Scholars’ life experience. Employee contributions of time and expertise help overcome these lapses and position the Scholars for life success.

Employee involvement can include any or all of the following, depending on time and availability:

  • Mentoring the Scholars in business skills, and encouraging the growth of these development strategies.
  • Staffing Career Days to expose the Scholars to the breadth and depth of opportunities in the

regional Science, medical, technology and engineering sectors

  • Working with and advising the Scholars through the college application process.
  • Serving as informal Mentors throughout the college years

Other employee engagement opportunities could include participating in specific activities during the annual April "Science Week" in Philadelphia. Additional hands-on options can be explored.

At the four-year program’s inspiring graduation celebration, Employee representatives are invited to offer comments on stage about their CSR and the STEM Scholars experience.