The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has launched an initiative called Queens 2020 to provide opportunities for young people, families and educators in the immigrant communities of Queens to engage in creative STEM learning. Co-designers of Queens 2020 include community and school leaders and stakeholders in the Queens neighborhood of Corona. NYSCI focuses on a strategy of engagement called Design-Make-Play (DMP), which stresses open-ended exploration and imaginative learning. There are strong analogies between science and children’s natural inclination to play, design and make things. These parallels hold great promise for strengthening interdisciplinary approaches to STEM in the classroom. The ultimate goal of Queens 2020 is to build a wide array of DMP resources and make Corona a hub for STEM education, so that more young people will pursue STEM careers.
Forming deep partnerships with schools in NYSCI’s local communities is a critical part of Queens 2020. Similar immigrant communities exist throughout the U.S.; therefore, Queens 2020 could serve as a model for addressing the challenges that face these communities. Demonstrating the power of investing where there is both need and aspiration is a strategy that can be used to diversify the STEM workforce for generations to come.