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Into the Wild: Using Stories to Connect STEM Professionals and Families in a Rural Community

The Into the Wild: Using Stories to Connect STEM Professionals and Families in a Rural Community Project is helping to expand where and when people learn over their lifetime by exploring how storytelling can support rural families in seeing relevance in STEM for themselves and their communities. In collaboration with museum practitioners, librarians, and STEM professional from local rural communities, families with children ages 8-10 years old participated in a series of all-day workshops, each encompassing aspects of STEM. STEM professional stories of their personal life journeys, interests, and work experiences were woven into these workshops and were found to engage the families, humanize the experts and make them relatable, broaden the families’ perspective on STEM experts and fields more broadly, and provide a bridge for families to learn about STEM practices and scientific processes. Findings will help clarify the importance of, and best practices for, connecting STEM professional stories to families’ everyday life in their specific communities.