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STEAM Your Way to College

Summer program for dual language learners

A fun learning experience at UMass Dartmouth with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design & Mathematics (STEAM) Activities

For students entering grade 7 & 8

When: June 29 - July 2 & July 7-10, 2020, 9am – 2pm
Where: UMass Dartmouth
Who can participate: New Bedford or Fall River middle school students who are dual language learners: students from families where one or more members speak a language other than English
Cost: Free for those who enroll, with free transportation to and from camp, and free snacks and lunch every day

What will the students do?

  • Work with UMassD professors and graduate students, and meet other students from your community
  • Visit research labs and the library, and find out more about college life
  • Engage in inquiry-based science and engineering hands-on activities
  • Explore issues that are important to your community
  • Work in teams to ask questions, collect data, and use evidence to create STEAM-based innovative projects
  • Present your projects to your family, friends, and your community
  • Play soccer and have fun

UMass Dartmouth graduate students and faculty will work with and oversee the students.


Supporting dual language learners

UMass Dartmouth is working with neighborhood schools in New Bedford and Fall River to support the academic achievement of dual language learners in science, technology/computer science, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM). The summer academy is available to young people from Fall River and New Bedford from families where one or more members speak a language other than English.

The program is supported by a National Science Foundation grant and lead by Professor Shakhnoza Kayumova, based on her research and evidence-based practices in science education about the importance of fostering students’ positive cultural and linguistic identities in the process of academic development.

The summer academy:

  • fosters an environment that encourages curiosity, academic confidence, and positive identity development
  • engages students in inquiry- and project-based STEAM activities to develop their critical thinking, knowledge, and innovative skills in these fields

More information

Students will work with graduate students, professors, and mentors on inquiry-based science and engineering design projects that are relevant to the students’ social, cultural, and everyday experiences. These diverse investigation-based, hands-on projects help the students develop critical STEM knowledge and skills, and at the same time explore issues and design solutions to the challenges relevant to their local communities.

Initiatives include, but are not limited to:

  • health, bioengineering, and robotics
  • marine sciences, oceanography, and environmental issues
  • engineering and design challenges
  • computational thinking, artificial intelligence, and digital innovation
  • data science

Students will be invited to the academy for the next 3 to 4 years so they may continue to advance their knowledge and skills as they enter high school. The goal is to provide students with a long-term, meaningful, and memorable learning experience in STEAM subjects.

As a part of the program, students will:

  • be introduced to various STEAM-based degrees and careers
  • visit college laboratories and research facilities

These experiences are important to cultivate students’ long-term curiosity, interest, and identity in STEM fields.

The program takes a holistic view of learning the STEM subjects and builds on existing STEAM-based research of UMass Dartmouth faculty and graduate students. It is offered to participants in meaningful, fun, and age-appropriate ways to foster their academic success and positive identity development.

Shakhnoza Kayumova, PhD, is a professor in the STEM Education & Teacher Development Department and the director of the STEAM Identity, Language, and Learning Research Lab.

Prof. Kayumova is an NSF Early CAREER awardee, which recognizes her work bridging university research and community engagement with schools, teachers, families, and children/youth. One of the main lines of her research concerns supporting and encouraging science education for young people from traditionally underserved communities through the design of teaching and learning environments that recognize, embrace, and foster the cultural, linguistic, and knowledge diversity.

She works with diverse community members to collectively redesign and transform STEM learning spaces to make them more inclusive and equitable environments for all.

Learn more about the research behind the program at the STEAM Language, Learning & Identity Research Lab.

Led by Dr. Shakhnoza Kayumova, the lab examines questions related to equity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning and identity development. Dr. Kayumova's research is aimed at improving equitable outcomes among young people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds—and particularly communities and groups who have been historically underrepresented and underserved in the STEM disciplines.

New Bedford Public Schools Fall River Public Schools National Science Foundation
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