The CIS STEM Department provides K-12 at-risk youth across San Antonio the opportunity to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Programming includes:
- Space Club: Year-long afterschool STEM program for middle and high school centered around space exploration.
- Launchpad STEM Group: Elementary and middle school STEM curriculum aligned to TEKS that runs for 10 sessions.
- STEM Family Night: Event for elementary and middle schools for families to experience hands-on STEM challenges.
Contact us to learn more about our programs or for information on volunteering.
STEM Department Overview
Check out a trailer by CIS Space Club students at Kingsborough Middle School.
- Increase awareness and interest in STEM opportunities and careers
- Increase STEM proficiency
- Increase persistence in STEM education and career pathways
- Improve behavior, academics, and attendance
In 2015, the Andeavor Foundation funded 9 grantees across the country to facilities after-school STEM programming for middle school students. Through the Andeavor STEM Academy, the Foundation seeks to increase students’ awareness, understanding and interest in STEM-related concepts, and post-second educational opportunities and careers. Andeavor STEM Academy programs also seek to impact and raise students’ math and science proficiencies and their persistence or intent to continue in post-secondary STEM course and career pathways.
Space Club is a year-long after school program that aims to inspire and engage students through hands-on projects centered on engineering and space exploration. Curriculum is designed and led by the CIS-SA STEM Project Director who holds a BS in aerospace engineering. Projects are connected to real-world applications through bi-annual field trips and ongoing mentoring with STEM professionals. Past projects include: model rockets, weather balloon, and robotics.
2016 – 2017 Overview
- Location: Harlandale, Terrell Wells, Kingsborough, and Leal Middle Schools (Harlandale ISD)
- Students Served: 225
- Sessions offered: 33 weeks
Launchpad is an out of school time program that aims to introduce and excite students about STEM subjects and careers. The curriculum is designed for CIS-SA site coordinators to lead a small group of at-risk youth. STEM concepts and careers are explained through videos followed by a hands-on science or engineering activity. Each week focuses on a different STEM theme including: space exploration, robotics, and STEM careers.
2016 – 2017 Overview
- Location: 28 elementary, middle, and high schools across 8 districts in San Antonio
- Students Served: 307
- Districts Served: Edgewood ISD, IDEA Public Schools, North East ISD, Northside ISD, San Antonio ISD, South San ISD
Natasha Wilkerson, STEM Project Director
Natasha Wilkerson joined CIS-SA in June 2014. As the CIS-SA STEM Director, she collaborates with school districts to expand STEM programming and impact through curriculum development, program implementation, STEM trainings, and school-wide family events. Natasha founded Space Club, a STEM enrichment program currently in the fourth year at Harlandale ISD. She has trained 70 CIS Site Coordinators to implement STEM curriculum and host family nights in 50 schools across 8 districts in Bexar Country. Prior to CIS-SA, Natasha worked as an engineer for the Department of Defense including nanomaterials research, Navy radar electromagnetic interference testing, and satellite spectrum management. Natasha has a BS in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University.
Aspen Meineke, STEM Project Coordinator
Aspen Meineke joined CIS-SA in October 2016 as a part-time STEM Instructor for Space Club. In January, she was promoted to STEM Project Coordinator, where she facilitates Space Club at four middle schools in Harlandale ISD. Her responsibilities include instruction, volunteer management, and program logistics. She also supports curriculum development, outreach events, and STEM trainings. Prior to joining CIS-SA, Aspen worked as a STEM instructor for UTSA’s Jump Start, Math Boot Camp, and iTEC STEM summer programs . Aspen has undergraduate research experience in the fields of biochemistry and robotics including developing a rimless rover for Mars exploration. Aspen has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas in San Antonio.
CIS STEM Program Reach:
- Harlandale ISD Space Club: 224
- STEM Family Night Events: 16
- STEM Family Night Reach: 3,050
- Launchpad STEM Group: 307
- STEM Outreach programming: 1,100
Space Club Demographics
- 41% Female
- 95% Hispanic
- 93% Free & Reduced Lunch
Space Club Student Outcomes:
- 64% of Space Club 8th graders accepted to HISD STEM Early College High School compared to 13% of all 8th graders
- 72% of 8th graders exceeded their individual Math STAAR progress target compared to 15% in the district
- 70% of participants describe a STEM career as their ideal job
Click here for CIS-SA STEM Outcomes Report
Thank you for your interest in supporting a STEM Program! Read below to learn more about different volunteer opportunities.
Weekly Mentoring: Space Club
Middle school students meet weekly to learn about space exploration and engage in engineering projects including: rocketry, 3D printing, weather balloon, and lunar colony design. No prior teaching or STEM experience required.
Weekly meetings from 4:00 – 6:00 PM
- Monday: Leal Middle School
- Tuesday: Terrell Wells Middle School
- Wednesday: Kingsborough MS
- Thursday: Harlandale MS
One-Time Volunteer: STEM Family Nights
One-time volunteers can support STEM Family Nights at elementary and middle schools across San Antonio. Volunteers will guide students through hands-on STEM activities at various stations throughout the school.
One-time Volunteering: Career Speaker
Guest speakers are always welcome to address groups of students on various STEM career opportunities. Arrangements can be made for targeted grade levels and district.
For more information on these opportunities, contact Natasha Wilkerson at email@example.com.