Looking Back at Our Work Together in 2021, Gearing Up for the Work to Come

December 6, 2021

In summer 2021, 100Kin10 began talking to partners nationwide about our idea of an unCommission, which would turn traditional policymaking on its head. We believed that, instead of national goals coming from the top down, we needed to take direction from those most excluded from STEM opportunity, in particular Black, Latinx, and Native American young people. The unCommission would center the STEM experiences of young people and, based on the stories they shared, develop action-ready goals that would guide a new vision for our future.

As we close out 2021, we wanted to reflect back on the collaborative work of the unCommission to date and share what’s to come in the new year.

We knew that we could not do this work on our own and it was essential to co-create a massive, diverse, and participatory experience.

  • More than 130 organizations stepped up as bridgers and anchors, each of them agreeing to connect us to storytellers and create environments in which they could share their authentic experiences. 
  • 25 community outreach leads not only shared their own stories but went a step further to connect their peers, friends, and families to the unCommission.
  • Nearly 600 storytellers from 38 states bravely shared their testimonials about their STEM experience. See why storytellers shared their stories.
  • Over 100 listeners and champions, including everyone from NASA astronauts and NFL players to Secretaries of Education, listened directly to our storytellers and honored their demands for change

A few of the storytellers who shared their STEM experience
through the unCommission.

We read and listened to every story that was submitted to the unCommission, knowing that each experience held important truths about STEM learning. 

  • Two ethnographers conducted a qualitative analysis on a representative sample of stories and identified the patterns across the stories and lifted up the insights.
  • Our resident artist captured the essence of what we heard from our storytellers to be shared broadly, crossing lines of difference as only art can.
  • With insights in hand, a group of advisors, whose expertise lives at the intersection of racial equity and STEM education, guided us toward the most impactful policy levers for change.

What emerged from these stories was a clear call-to-action: young people need teachers who create STEM classrooms of belonging for all students, especially Black, Latinx, and Native American students and others too often excluded from STEM. As a result, 100Kin10 proposed, over the next decade, to prepare and retain an audacious number of excellent STEM teachers who are resourced and supported to foster a sense of belonging, especially for Native American, Latinx, and Black learners. 

Here’s some of what storytellers shared about the need for belonging:

I felt unheard and unseen as a latina student, and many of my teachers never cared to address my unique needs as a first-generation American and student. - Gabrielle, 22

To this day I advocate for STEAM because if you look hard enough and think creative enough, you can apply it to almost every aspect of life. AND it makes students feel like they fit in when they find the letter they love to learn about the most, much like myself. - Anonymous storyteller, 21

I was ahead a subject in math, and I remember distinctively being asked if I was in the right room every start of the semester, whether by students, or by the teacher, or both.
- Bradley, 26

In response to what storytellers shared, during the final weeks of 2021: 

  • We shared our framework about belonging in STEM with our network partners, unCommission participants, and storytellers themselves at our 10th Annual Partner Summit.
  • ~160 stakeholders gave their honest input about what excites them, what we need to be cautious of, and how we might deliver on this vision. 

100Kin10 will be compiling and reviewing this feedback through the end of the year, iterating on our framework and vision for the future. Additionally, we will review all stories that are submitted before the end of this year and incorporate new insights that emerge into our feedback process.

We will spend the first few months of 2022 crafting the specifics of 100Kin10’s next moonshot, as well as developing other action-ready considerations for the field that emerged from unCommission stories. 

As we continue to translate the stories of the unCommission into a shared goal, we will share updates with unCommission participants as often as we can, including what engagement opportunities will look like moving forward. Additionally, we plan to continue to share stories, art, and insights, keeping our storytellers at the forefront of everything that we do. 

We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed to the unCommission this year. Together, we are solving it--for and with our storytellers.

I want to thank you for allowing me to share my story with you all. Allowing my voice to be heard and my experience to be taken into consideration when it comes to analyzing STEM within the US, I appreciate it immensely that you listened. - Anonymous storyteller

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my experience, an experience I know a lot of other people have, and then share my story of being in STEM despite my struggles. - Anonymous storyteller

I’m excited to see how the STEM world changes in the future, and work like this is going to get us there. - Anonymous storyteller