Teen Science Cafés

Teen Science Café Network (TSCN) and our Teen Science Cafés (TSC) are a National Science Foundation-funded professional evaluation-backed program based on our Values of elevating teen voice, teen choice, and 21st-century skill development.

Teen Science Cafés (TSC)

TSCs are free out-of-school time programs where teen leaders, adult leaders, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) experts collaborate on presentations and hands-on activities which explore science topics in-depth. Cafés generally occur once a month, are two hours long, have snacks or a light meal, and are hosted by various entities, including libraries, museums, aquaria, zoos, public gardens, nature centers, universities, after-school providers, STEM education organizations, and others.

All cafés are led by teens for a teen audience and are as unique as the communities they serve. For instance, a café might focus on one aspect of STEM, like marine science, appeal to a specific demographic, such as female-identified teens, or take a cultural-specific lens to their programming. 

Cafés are easy to start, and no prior experience with STEM is needed. TSC staff Guides shepherd new adult leaders through starting a café in a series of free one-on-one and group sessions with other potential adult leaders, webinars, and asynchronous learning modules. 

Interested in starting a café or want more information about the process? Email Katey Ahmann, Director, at kahmann@stemnext.org for details.

Café Collaborators

Three communities unite in a Teen Science Café; teen leaders, adult leaders, and STEM experts. These communities work together so teens can explore STEM topics through dynamic conversations and hands-on activities that dive deep into a subject.

Teen Leaders 

Teens are the backbone of cafés and take on significant duties.

Several of these duties include;

* Choosing café topics
* Finding experts for the topic
* Working with experts to create an activity
* Providing host duties at cafés
* Recruiting peers by public speaking and marketing
* Creating café write-ups for the Network

An intersectional youth and an adult hold a snake together
Adult Leaders

Adult Leaders ensure that cafés are designed to be for and by teens.

Some of the ways that they help teens accomplish this are;

* Ensuring teens gain leadership opportunities
* Providing info, resources, and framing work
* Offering encouragement, praise, and constructive criticism
* Maintaining the continuity of the venue and ensuring funding

They also keep up with other Adult Leaders by;

* Attending learning and networking events
* Creating Member Spotlights for the network website

STEM Experts

STEM experts humanize science and show teens the numerous pathways within STEM from a personal perspective.

STEM experts do this by;

* Sharing foundation-forming stories
* Introducing and explaining a STEM topic
* Facilitating hands-on activities

STEM experts who participate in cafés reflect favorably on their time.