Quick Info

The NorCal STEM Education Foundation believes in hands-on inquiry-based learning.


The Mentoring Programs are tailored to specific program and learning-level needs.


Funded Programs are free to schools and organizations.


Contact the Foundation today to start organizing a mentoring program that fits your school's needs today!

Encourage & Empower - Start a Mentoring Program with the NorCal STEM Education Foundation


The STEM Mentoring Program’s overall purpose is to build a stronger, more prepared and diverse STEM workforce. Important objectives of the Program are to help students develop collaboration skills with peers and adults, and inspire students to pursue STEM degrees and careers. The STEM Mentoring Program aims to accomplish this by supplementing STEM curriculum, using trained STEM professional mentors, to guide teams of students. Those students are then encouraged to participate in a culminating rewarding event, such as a STEM fair or other showcase event.



Many students in secondary school in the Northern California region have no access to hands-on, engaging STEM programs.  US students rank 17th in Science proficiency and 35th in Math in the world. Despite record unemployment, companies report being unable to find qualified candidates in STEM with more than 1 million unfilled jobs on the horizon.  We need to act now to change the perception about STEM for today’s students.


The graphic below was published by the Washington Post on July 16, 2015. It showcases that not only are a majority of students not receiving STEM programs, but many of those students are minority and under-served populations.

Without sustainable programs, the numbers will continue to show a shortage of diversity within the Technological workforce.


The problem is bigger than technological companies being unable to hire a diverse workforce - it comes down to advancement and progress towards the future. Without future creative STEM professionals, the age of discovery and innovation will come to a screeching halt - at least in the United States.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2018, the bulk of STEM careers will be:



We need students today to fill those jobs for tomorrow!

THE PROGRAM: General Information


The Regional STEM Mentoring (RSM) Program is a youth mentoring program dedicated to building relationships between students and mentors to encourage further pursuit in scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) subjects.  The NorCal STEM Education Foundation believe that through mentoring and hands-on learning we can expand knowledge of STEM subjects, provide positive role models, expose students to real world issues relating to STEM subjects, and enhance overall education for participants in area schools.


The Program places professional scientists and engineers in after school or summer school programs to help present the process of inquiry-based learning and how to develop a STEM experiment for students in grades 5th-11th within the Northern California region. The program and curriculum are extremely flexible in order to attract maximum participation from teachers, students and volunteers. The program was installed within two different school districts, at 5 schools sites during its pilot year in 2014 and has only grown more and more popular.


Mentoring is intended to extend the opportunity to participate in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) Fair to students beyond those students who complete projects independently at home or as assignments during school hours.  This program is a supplement to appropriate grade level school-year teachings and the program curriculum is aligned with the newly implemented Common Core Standards and the new Next Generation Science Standards.


Through this program, mentors will be trained to assist and guide students in the following areas:

  • STEM subject knowledge, extended to career pathways and options for further studies.
  • STEM fair project development, focusing on creating hypotheses to solving issues applicable to real life.
  • Execution of project goals and research through becoming an expert in the scientific or engineering design method & learning all necessary safety procedures when working on experiments.
  • Collaborative skills, project management, and other areas of Common Core relative to STEM projects.


A mentor who volunteers his/her time through the RSM Program should expect a time commitment of approximately one hour a week during the duration of the program, with a possibility of continuing the program into the next year. Mentors will be matched as closely as possible with the selected school programs, based upon subject area, area of expertise, and metropolitan area.

THE STRUCTURE: The Plan of Action


Once an after school, summer school program or organization has developed a plan with Foundation staff to install a mentoring program, a curriculum meeting will be held to ensure that all parameters of the learning criteria are met in participation with the Foundation's program.  The NorCal STEM Education Foundation has developed curriculum and adjusts it for each of our programs.


During the first classroom visit, each mentor will give an introductory presentation to the entire group of students, introducing their career and the pathway that led them to it.  Following the initial visit, the emphasis will be on expanding students’ view of STEM subject area leading to career pathways and on the processes to run their own experimentation.  The  mentor will relate their own experiences in their field and encourage students to pursue their own interest in STEM subjects through presentations, mentor-run experiments, and student based inquiries.


Introduction of the scientific and engineering design processes will occur through 10-20 minute experiments and hands-on STEM activities such as making simple machines, robots, rockets, or exploring the local environmental issues or natural habitats and guiding students through the investigative processes while they ask questions and develop hypotheses. These experiments will be listed in the curriculum and the materials will be provided for mentors. Mentors will help students research and develop their own experiments. As the Program progresses, students will gain more responsibility and ownership of their scientific study.


Students who participate in the mentoring Program will produce the makings of a STEM fair project. Throughout the Program the students will be prepared with information regarding the Sacramento Regional STEM Fair and how to participate. The basis for a STEM project that the Program helps students develop, if further developed and completed, is eligible to be entered into the following year’s Fair. The students will be rewarded and recognized by other STEM professionals at the Sacramento Regional STEM Fair, helping to not only improve their ability to speak about STEM projects using skills developed through the mentoring Program, but also their confidence in their own learning.

THE EVIDENCE: Proof of Improvement


Patterns in the findings across multiple studies reveal the potential of STEM programming in after school as a means to engage students in STEM fields and careers and nurture that interest. The evaluation results collected offer a sample of the positive impacts of these programs on youth: After school programs can not only inspire youth, but provide them with the confidence to pursue STEM fields both academically and professionally.


The Regional STEM Mentoring Program organized by the NorCal STEM Education Foundation has seen great successes in the programs that it has installed and run in the classroom as well as with other organizations.



Pilot Program

People Reaching Out - Summer L.A.B

Improve Your Tomorrow

Migrant Student Leadership Institute Program

To begin the process of enrollment, contact staff today at sacSTEMfair@sacSTEMfair.org.

Sponsor A Mentoring Program

Are you interested in funding a mentor for a group of students? Perhaps you have an after school program or organization that needs STEM curriculum. Please contact us today to find out how to sponsor a mentoring program of your choice.


Sponsorship amounts differ dependent upon many factors.

Click here to send us a message!


455 Capitol Mall, Suite 500 Sacramento, CA 95814

P: (916) 441.3150

F: (916) 442.4182


Our Mission

The mission of the NorCal STEM Education Foundation is to inspire and engage students to become interested in pursuing scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) degrees and careers.

Follow Us

©2016 NorCal STEM Education Foundation

Stay in Touch

Join our Mailing List