NIU STEAM is made up of programs and people committed to providing awesomely engaging interdisciplinary educational experiences that spark curiosity, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.

Our Mission and Framework

We will provide students, educators and community members with experiences that increase individual STEM/STEAM knowledge and skills while inspiring curiosity, creativity and collaboration.

Our programming is offered within a conceptual framework that is robust, comprehensive and research-based. There are six content components of this framework called catalysts, and these catalysts are used to generate three tiers of impact. Each catalyst is identified in research and our practice as essential to effective systemic program improvement and successful development of a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) culture. While identified individually, we know that all elements of a system are unavoidably interconnected. Our commitment is to work together to change the lived experience of members of your program and community.

Our Purpose

We have four purposes:

  1. Build interest and excitement about STEAM at NIU through standards-based presentations at schools.
  2. Provide opportunities for hands-on experiences with STEAM subjects by conducting extra-curricular activities including clubs, competitions and traveling hands-on museums.
  3. Raise educational aspirations, knowledge of STEAM, and interest in attending NIU by coordinating activities such as structured campus visits, special events and summer camps at NIU’s campuses.
  4. Improve teaching of STEAM subjects by collaborating with teacher preparation and professional development activities in NIU colleges.

Our Approach

Our approach uses the core content as the conduit for students to engage in inquiry, dialogue, critical thinking, and creativity. The approach emphasizes applying knowledge to real life problems and societal issues. Our experiences build STEAM content knowledge, encourage curiosity, and foster creative thinking. We want learners to develop an enthusiasm for learning through collaborative hands-on experiences. Our programs include activities designed to help learners experience productive struggle and become comfortable with the idea that failure is a positive and essential part of learning.

Our Team