Three Pennsylvania Programs Receive Million Girls Moonshot Catalyst Award

Each awardee receives a $20,000 grant, training and resources to engage girls and underserved youth in STEM learning that cultivates an engineering mindset.

Oct. 26, 2023

Harrisburg, Pa.—Three Pennsylvania STEM Ecosystems – Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, Philadelphia Education Fund and Remake Learning Pittsburgh Regional STEAM Ecosystem – have been selected as Moonshot Catalyst Awardees to engage more girls and underserved youth in deeper STEM learning. Awardees will receive a $20,000 grant and gain access to key training, resources and professional development that will shift practices to create more access and more inclusive STEM learning opportunities for students historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“PSAYDN is delighted that Pennsylvania is home to three of the 13 Moonshot Catalyst Awardees,” stated Contrell Armor, Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) director. “These awards will help our leading STEM Ecosystems expand resources and training to more educators, educate students about STEM career opportunities, and address racial diversity and the gender gap in STEM fields.”

Pennsylvania’s awardees are:

  • Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU), Lewisburg, PA. CSIU’s STEM Community Empowerment Program aims to identify and nurture passionate STEM enthusiasts within community-serving organizations. Through a rigorous selection process, CSIU will identify STEM leaders from diverse partner locations and offer them specialized education opportunities. These leaders will receive customized support, and a focus on sustainability will ensure that STEM initiatives thrive within the organizations. Additionally, CSIU will establish a STEM resource library and empower partners to host their own Remake Learning Days events, showcasing the impact of STEM education in the community.
  • Philadelphia Education Fund, Philadelphia. For over a decade, the Philadelphia Education Fund has administered “Explore STEM Philly (ESP).” Through ESP, the Fund recruits and mobilizes STEM professionals to provide career presentations to middle and high school classrooms. Through the Moonshot Catalyst Award, they will expand ESP to afterschool, out-of-school time, and other informal education programs and students – as well as provide teacher professional development to augment these presentations.
  • Remake Learning Pittsburgh Regional STEAM Ecosystem, Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Regional STE(A)M Ecosystem, powered by Remake Learning, is a collaborative effort of the region’s afterschool community to address racial diversity and the persistent gender gap in STEM fields. Support from Moonshot Catalyst Award will help build the instructional capacity of afterschool athletics programs, in recognition of the potential to reach many underserved youth through their participation in sports.

“The Catalyst Award is another important effort for the Million Girls Moonshot to expand the capacity of communities to support underserved young people with robust STEM learning opportunities in afterschool and summer,” said Teresa Drew, deputy director of STEM Next and director of the Million Girls Moonshot initiative. “STEM Next leans heavily into maximizing the time in afterschool and summer because the research shows us that is where kids spend 80% of their time and it’s a critical space to build a child’s confidence and interest in STEM. We are thrilled to welcome a new cohort of partners who are developing meaningful ways to combat the persistent gender gap and lack of racial diversity in STEM fields.”

STEM fields continue to be the fastest growing and highest paying careers in the United States, yet women and people of color continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. Currently, women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce of 58.9 million workers but represent only 30% of the professionals in science and engineering jobs. Black and Hispanic women each make up only 2% and Indigenous women only 1%.

Launched in 2020, the Million Girls Moonshot is a transformative nationwide initiative that is inspiring and preparing the next generation of innovators by engaging millions more girls in STEM learning opportunities through afterschool and summer programs over five years. The Million Girls Moonshot is the premier initiative of the STEM Next Opportunity Fund, an organization committed to expanding exceptional STEM learning opportunities outside of the classroom for all children everywhere.

Catalyst Awardees will join a professional network of 50 statewide afterschool networks, including thousands of afterschool and summer programs and hundreds of thousands of informal educators.

Each grantee will focus on building an engineering mindset – 10 values and thinking skills associated with engineering that include skills like critical thinking, teamwork, persistence, and iterative thinking – with young people in their region. Awardees will also focus on expanding the visibility of role models and mentors for young people, the role of families as champions, as well as raising awareness to other partners to connect opportunities for youth as they progress in their STEM learning.

To learn more about the Million Girls Moonshot, visit


Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) believes all children and youth deserve access to expanded learning programs that encourage positive development and support the successful transition to adulthood. The network promotes sustainable, high-quality out-of-school time youth development programs through advocacy and capacity building to enhance the welfare of Pennsylvania’s children, youth and families. PSAYDN is one of 50 statewide afterschool networks funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Since its inception in 2004 as a 65-member network, PSAYDN has grown to serve more than 3,000 members and has played a unique role in bridging the capacity needs and programming perspectives that exist within the out-of-school time sector. PSAYDN is managed by the Center for Schools and Communities, a division of Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit. For more information, please visit

Contact: Kelly Swanson, Communications Manager, 717-992-5964, [email protected]