In STEM PUSH, the networked improvement community (NIC) is our learning engine.

Our networked improvement community is the learning engine in which pre-college STEM programs strengthen their capacity to support Black, Latina/o/e and Indigenous students on a pathway to STEM undergraduate study. These programs try out small changes to improve their ability to equitably serve their students. The learning from these small tests of change can then be used by other out-of-school providers to better serve Black, Latina/o/e and Indigenous students in STEM.

By 2026, the STEM PUSH Network will increase the capacity of 40 pre-college STEM programs to support Black, Latina/o/e, and/or Indigenous students on a pathway to STEM undergraduate study.​

Learn more about how we plan to accomplish this

1. Our Networked Improvement Community

The STEM Push Network uses a collective impact approach called a networked improvement community.
Learn More

2. Root Cause Analysis

Our collaborative process to understand why precollege STEM programs working alone had not significantly broadened participation in STEM.
Learn More

3. Theory of Improvement

After mapping the system producing our problem, we worked with our stakeholders to determine what we wanted to accomplish together (our aim) and to identify the most high leverage areas that we could work on to achieve that aim (our theory of improvement).
Learn More

4. Quality Standards

Focusing the work is a set of evidence-based practices for precollege programs to effectively support Black, Latina/o/e, and Indigenous students on a path to STEM postsecondary education. Our quality standards help programs reflect and plan, help us see Network needs and assets, and help us benchmark progress over time.
Learn More

What Programs Are Saying

Learn With Us

Self-Study Tool for Out-of-School Time STEM Programs

Through learning and adaptation from use with STEM PUSH pre-college STEM programs, the STEM PUSH Network presents this evidence-based and equity-centered self-study tool designed for use in out-of-school time spaces and organizations that share common goals around broadening participation in STEM.

**Note: This resource is in Google Sheets format to support quick implementation. Click the link, select “Make a Copy” and edit a duplicated version of the spreadsheet. Then, we’d love to hear what you think to help us learn and improve this tool by filling out a brief survey (linked from the START HERE tab).

Evidence-based Improvement Packages

STEM PUSH seeks to broaden participation of Black, Latina/o/e, and Indigenous students in STEM. Pre-college STEM program leaders in this improvement network test out ideas to move us toward that goal.

These evidence-based improvement packages summarize our promising ideas, offering a collection of planning guides and resources so others may try out these changes.


Leverage guest speaker visits to communicate affirming and practical knowledge about STEM college and career possibilities.

With This Improvement Package

Ideas for centering students’ interests and input to inform guest speaker recruitment and content.
Examples of ways in which STEM PUSH pre-college STEM program leaders re-designed guest speaker preparation.
Templates and tools with which to scaffold “sticky” guest speaker experiences.


Use redesigned practices and materials in new communities to successfully recruit students from new communities to broaden participation.

With This Improvement Package

Ideas about how you might rethink recruitment in order to broaden participation of Black, Latina/o/e, and/or Indigenous youth into your organization.
Examples of ways in which STEM PUSH pre-college STEM program leaders expanded their recruitment efforts.
Data collection tools, planning calendars, and other ideas to support equitable recruitment practices.


Increase program capacity to support students around issues of race and racism that they may encounter in STEM.

With This Improvement Package

A discussion routine that can deepen awareness of the subjectivity of STEM, and how that is linked to racism and systemic oppression.
Ways you can help your staff deepen their understanding of racist systems, their position within those systems, and how these systems may affect their students.
Ways in which themes and ideas from the discussion can be used to inform your education practices.

Learn With Us

A Deeper Look into Our Learning Engine

Looking for more resources?
Our Learning Engine will release change packages - guides and ideas to help your pre-college program implement real changes in your program soon!

Please contact us for information to learn more about our programs, initiatives, and strategic partnerships.

Sign up for our newsletter?

University of Pittsburgh

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Department of Biological Sciences
Langley Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260