2022 Grants Challenge

Mobile STEM Labs empowers learning communities across Los Angeles

Avalon Carver’s Mobile STEM Labs aims to improve economic equity and reduce disparities in access to emergent STEM technologies for k-12 learners. We provide youth with the skills needed to become the next generation of STEM professionals that will shape the 21st-century workforce, create pathways to college and solve the global challenges of today and tomorrow.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

South LA

West LA

South Bay

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Mobile STEM Labs (MSL) is creating learning communities to increase educational equity and address the academic achievement gap for students of color. Through parent and student engagement we empower families to support their student's academic success. In communities served by MSL on average less than 42% of adults have a HS Diploma and 34% live in poverty. In evaluating California Science Test scores, Black/African American (AA) and Hispanic/Latino students consistently score the lowest. According to the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, in 2020/2021 14.29% of Black/AA and 16.48% of Hispanic/Latino students met or exceeded state science standards in comparison to 39.64% for their White peers and 60.12% for Asian peers. The gap exists for many reasons and MSL works collaboratively with schools to create innovative solutions to enhance educational outcomes and student confidence through rigorous learning opportunities.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Mobile STEM Labs (MSL) is a hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) program geared towards positively impacting the lives of marginalized students in underserved communities. MSL integrates didactic lessons and hands-on experiments aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core standards. MSL strengthens the academic skills of students through experiences of real-world applications of the concepts that are on their standardized exams. Students are introduced to concepts in life science, earth and space Science, engineering, technology, and physical science. Prior to the start of each concept students complete a pre assessment to cause understand and at the conclusion of each learning concept their understanding of the concept is reassessed. During the physical science lessons students participate in labs such as rocket trajectory which launches hundreds of feet in the air. During technology lessons students learn to code, operate robotic arms and build drones. In Engineering lessons students are given a global issue and work as a team to engineer a tool to solve a problem. MSL visits school campuses across Los Angeles on a weekly basis during the school year and teaches complex concepts into low-income communities of color and makes them fun, engaging and accessible. MSL instructors receive over 30 hours of Professional Development to ensure exemplary delivery of content.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Mobile STEM Labs (MSL) serves over 5,000 students on a yearly basis and with the support of LA 2050 we plan to increase that number to 7,000 students in Pk-12th grade who would be directly impacted and empowered. This grant would provide MSL with the necessary resources for more materials, more staff and enhanced laboratory experiences that would otherwise be inaccessible to students. MSL is combating a systemic failure to support African American and Latinx learners. A partnership with Avalon Carver and LA 2050 would positively impact youth in the communities and give underserved students hands-on experiences in a lab, increased confidence in STEM and build a foundation to improve economic equity for low-income communities by introducing Black and Latinx youth to emergent technologies that will shape the 21st-century workforce, create pathways to college, and cultivate an interest in STEM-focused careers.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The program goals are to 1) increase the presence of underrepresented groups in STEM; 2) improve student academic performance and outcomes in STEM education; 3) expand educational opportunities for underserved students, and 4) provide inspiration and experiences that form a foundation for students to succeed in STEM fields. Student outcomes, measures, and indicators are based on the subject matter taught during each of the program concepts. To measure subject content knowledge, and skills gained, students are evaluated at the start and end of each concept through the use of a pre/post assessment and survey. Assessments are directly aligned with the curriculum, providing a benchmark of student subject matter knowledge and understanding. Based on evaluation data, MSL youth demonstrate an increase in STEM. During the 2021-2022 school year, 94% of students improved on their pre and post-assessment with 90% indicating an increase in confidence in STEM learning.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 2,000

Indirect Impact: 3,200