STEM From Dance (SFD) empowers young women of color from low-income backgrounds to develop the confidence, skills, and awareness they need to obtain STEM degrees using a culturally-relevant activity. SFD delivers a learning experience in which dance is used to introduce computer science and STEM awareness: participants choreograph a dance that is enhanced with a technological component that they learn to code. That can include a synchronized animation that serves as a digital backdrop, a musical composition created through coding, or a costume with programmed LED lights to accompany their choreography.
SFD views STEM ability and confidence as being closely tied to one another and aims to dispel stereotypes that STEM is “for boys” or that academic achievement is linked to whiteness. SFD meets with participants weekly, either during the school day or as an elective after school, at partner school locations. Programs are implemented in semester increments with rotating projects that allow girls to participate in multiple semesters. The program is delivered for an average of 40 hours by a pair of complementary instructors: one dance and one STEM instructor. SFD uses pre- and post-surveys and a STEM skills assessment administered to students to assess STEM exposure, STEM ability, and confidence.
More than 80% of participants are eligible for a STEM degree program or job when graduating from high school.