At the Center for Equitable Family STEM Learning, our work explores the intersection of equity, STEM education, and family learning. Our definitions of each of these anchoring concepts continue to evolve through our collaborations with families and community partners.


Honoring what we have learned from families, our approach to equity focuses on moving beyond broadening participation to instead understanding, shedding light on, and ultimately helping to transform the systemic barriers in STEM education that disenfranchise some communities and perpetuate the privilege of others. Building on the work of equity scholars, we believe researchers and educators must reflect on traditional approaches that locate the “problem” of STEM equity within communities, ignore the historical forces that have shaped our current context, and discount the political nature of STEM education. Instead, we aspire to a vision of STEM education that works to elevate the knowledge and assets of families and ensures that the benefits of research and development flow directly to communities.


We embrace an inclusive understanding of families that honors the diversity within and across the families we work with and prioritizes approaches that allow families to define themselves and tell their own stories. We seek to partner with families of all configurations and honor the parents and caregivers that support their children, whether or not they are biological parents. We believe a vision of equitable STEM education for families is not universal but instead acknowledges that STEM education will look different for each community based on the systematic barriers faced by that community and their unique histories, values, and practices.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

We adopt a critical stance on STEM knowledge, practices, and disciplines, acknowledging the troubled history of STEM education, the historical power imbalances between educational institutions and families, and the problematic approaches to deciding what does and does not count as STEM. Through our collaborations and partnerships, we seek to learn from families about the ways they think about and engage with STEM and use this co-learning process to transform traditional ideas about STEM disciplines.