STEM Mentoring for Youth with Disabilities


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Presented May 17, 2012 - Part of 2012 Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series

Education Northwest/National Mentoring Center, Friends For Youth, Indiana Mentoring Partnership, Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, Mentor Michigan, Mobius Mentors, Oregon Mentors and other partners are working together in 2012 to deliver this free monthly webinar series for mentoring professionals.

For updates about upcoming webinars, join and follow the Collaborative Mentoring Series discussion area on the Mentoring Forums at

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STEM Mentoring for Youth with Disabilities

  1. 1. 2012 Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series STEM Mentoring for Youth with Disabilities: Research, Practice, and ResourcesCollaboration of Education Northwest/National Mentoring Center, Friends for Youth, Indiana Mentoring Partnership, Mentor Michigan, Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, and Oregon Mentors May 2012
  2. 2. Good to Know…All attendees will receive an email after the webinarthat will include: Instructions for how to access PDF of presentation slides and webinar recording Link to the Mentoring Forum for resources, contact information & opportunities to continue the dialogue Please help us by taking the time to complete a short 5-question survey as you exit the webinar. 1
  3. 3. 2012 Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series Sarah Kremer o Research Program Director o Practice Friends for Youth o Innovation Amber TroupeDate: Third Thursday of every Directormonth. Mentor MichiganTime: 10-11:15am Pacific/11am-12:15pm Mountain/12-1:15 pm April RiordanCentral/1-2:15pm Eastern Director of Training & Community Partnerships Mentoring Partnership of MinnesotaCost: Free 2
  4. 4. Participate in Today’s Webinar• All attendees muted for best sound• Type questions and comments in the question box• We may invite you to “raise your hand” during interactive activities 3
  5. 5. Today’s Webinar1. STEM Mentoring for Youth with Disabilities – Research Findings2. Example Program: DO-IT, University of Washington – Mentoring activities and resources3. Recommendations4. Q & A 4
  6. 6. Regional Research Institute for Human Services Laurie Powers has been a Director or Co- director of 47 research, demonstration, and training projects funded by federal and state agencies and national foundations, and including the STEM Mentor Project and several other studies of successful mentoring approaches. Lauries work focuses on identifying and putting into practice strategies to enable young people with disabilities to express self- determination and reach their education, employment, and other goals for adult life.LAURIE POWERSASSOCIATE DEAN 5
  7. 7. Regional Research Institute for Human Services Jo-Ann Sowers’ research and practice is focused in the area of transition to quality employment and life outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities. A number of her programs and research studies have included mentoring components. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of a study to determine the impact of STEM mentors on youth with disabilities.JO-ANN SOWERSRESEARCH PROFESSOR 6
  8. 8. Disabilities, Opportunities,Internetworking, & Technology Center Scott Bellman has worked for over ten years at the University of Washington’s DO-IT Center. DO-IT promotes postsecondary education and challenging careers such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for people with disabilities. Scott manages grant activities that seek to remove barriers in educational settings, prepare participants for careers, and develop resources for a wide variety of stakeholders. He received a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation SCOTT BELLMAN Counseling and is a Licensed Mental PROGRAM MANAGER Health Counselor in Washington State. 7
  9. 9. STEM Mentoring for Youthwith Disabilities: Research, Practice, and Resources Supported in part by Grant # HRD 0834195 from the RDE Program of the National Science Foundation.
  10. 10. Background• Individuals with disabilities are underrepresented in STEM• Leadership of NSF STEM Research in Disabilities Education (RDE) Program• Growing body of knowledge about effective mentoring• Our interest and research and practice experience related to mentoring as a whole and, in particular, for young people with disabilities
  11. 11. What Matters
  12. 12. Research Review• Methods – Searched for published research articles on mentoring of young people ages 14-30 (with a few exceptions) – Articles focusing on STEM mentoring youth with disabilities, non-STEM mentoring youth with disabilities, STEM mentoring females, racial and ethnic minority youth, major studies of mentoring with at-risk youth • RDE Alliances have contributed extensive knowledge on STEM mentoring for youth with disabilities – Examined study methods, outcomes, mentoring program and intervention processes, mentor and mentee characteristics, and mentor-mentee matching
  13. 13. Key Findings• Important findings have emerged, however definitive evidence that mentoring causes certain outcomes requires more research using rigorous methods. – Experimental, quasi-experimental, mixed methods, longitudinal research – Compare aspects of mentoring that are thought to improve outcomes (e.g., matching) and study longer term outcomes (increased postsecondary and career success)
  14. 14. Key Findings• STEM and other mentoring has positive benefits for young people with disabilities.• Mentoring is associated with increased confidence, knowledge, and engagement in STEM and other areas.• Young people with disabilities benefit from STEM mentoring provided by mentors without and with disabilities.• Strengths-oriented mentors who foster positive relationships with mentees are most effective.• Experiential activities and information sharing in areas valued by the youth appear to be important for effective mentoring.
  15. 15. Key Findings• Short-term, focused, and consistent STEM and other mentoring (less than 1 year) can be effective.• Successful matching of STEM and other mentors and mentees appears most related to mentors and mentees having compatible personalities, and shared experiences and interests (not necessarily in same STEM area). – More research is needed to sort out when other factors make a difference; for example, when similar race, gender, or functional challenges are important and which factors are likely to trump others in matching mentors and young people.
  16. 16. Key Findings• Developmental timing matters. For example, STEM mentoring for 14 year olds is different than STEM mentoring for 17 year olds.• Support for mentors and mentees interacting in groups as well as individually, and for e-mentoring. Need to learn more about the conditions under which each type of mentoring, and mentoring combinations, are most effective.• Program fidelity is very important (having clear goals, designing and offering mentoring experiences directly tied to those goals, orientation for mentor and mentee, mentor training and ongoing support, program evaluation that feeds into program improvement).
  17. 17. Mentoring Activities of the DO-IT Center
  18. 18. Electronic Mentoring DO-IT Programs have opted for email discussion lists over chat rooms, web- based discussion threads, and Internet chat rooms. Social networking activities are student- driven.
  19. 19. Electronic Mentoring Discussion list with all mentors and mentees Closed discussion lists Supports mentor and peer support Special-topic subgroups Supported with in-person events and activities
  20. 20. Electronic Mentoring Ability to communicate over great distances quickly, and inexpensively Elimination of schedule constraints Communication with more than one person at a time Reduces initial impact of disability Technology can reduce impact of communication disabilities (speech, writing, reading) Allows dual role of mentor and mentee Provides mode of sharing resources and announcements
  21. 21. Mentoring Resources Online Knowledge Base: Knowledge Base Sample Questions:  What is the role of a mentor?  What are tips for making online mentoring successful?  What benefits do mentors get from a mentoring relationship?  What is the benefit of e-mentoring to students with disabilities?
  22. 22. Examples of Other DO-IT Resources Video “Opening Doors: Mentoring over the Internet” Guidelines for Mentors “Creating an E-Mentoring Community: How DO-IT does it, and how you can do it, too”
  23. 23. Recommendations• Emphasize strengths-based mentoring and concrete information sharing and experiential activities based on the goals for mentoring and young people’s interests and developmental needs.• Include young people and mentors with disabilities in all mentoring programs, as well as networking among mentoring programs focusing on mentees with disabilities and other programs. – Focus on disability as an element of diversity just like race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, first generation, etc. Strive to support culturally congruent mentoring experiences and creative accommodations for youth who have diverse characteristics and experiences.
  24. 24. Recommendations• Provide young people with a diversity of mentoring and other experiences that respond to their unique interests and needs – mix and match type of mentoring offered and matching factors based on program goals and what seems most important to youth.• Establish specific and measurable mentoring outcome goals, and design, communicate, and support mentoring experiences that support those goals. Jo-Ann Sowers ( Laurie Powers ( Scott Bellman (
  25. 25. Additional Resources• Partners for Youth with Disabilities: Best Practices Guide and Mentoring 101: An Introductory Workshop for New Mentors• US Department of Labor: Policy on Mentoring Youth with Disabilities• National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability: Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring• National Center on Secondary Education and Transition: Issue Brief• Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, Volume 50, Issue 4, 2006 35#preview 25
  26. 26. Before we go…All attendees will receive an email after the webinarthat will include: Instructions for how to access PDF of presentation slides and webinar recording Link to the Mentoring Forum for resources, contact information & opportunities to continue the dialogue Please help us by taking the time to complete a short 5-question survey as you exit the webinar. 26
  27. 27. Future Webinars June 21 - Better Mentoring for the LGBTQ Youth in Your Program: Stepping Up to the Challenge Discuss how youth mentoring programs can better serve youth that are questioning their sexual orientation or identifying as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, or queer. Panelists include Christian Rummell, Executive Director of Mentorist Consulting and Linda Peterson, Manager of Training & Technical Assistance at Mass Mentoring Partnership. 27
  28. 28. 2012 Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series Thank you! Sarah Kremer, April Riordan, Amber Troupe, Candice Singleton, Marissa Wilkens, marissa@mobiusmentors.orgCollaboration of Education Northwest/National Mentoring Center, Friends for Youth, Indiana Mentoring Partnership, Mentor Michigan, Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, and Oregon Mentors