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Megan Candelaria Selected to Coordinate UW’s STEM Outreach Efforts

May 23, 2016
woman posing beside a t-shirt that says WYSTEM
Megan Candelaria has been named the WYSTEM integration coordinator at the University of Wyoming. (UW Photo)

Making connections with people and programs at the University of Wyoming and throughout the state is the central focus of the new WYSTEM integration coordinator.

Megan Candelaria recently was selected to coordinate UW’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach efforts through the WYSTEM K-14 Engagement Office. Her job entails connecting groups engaged in STEM outreach on campus and throughout Wyoming with teachers, students and parents who want STEM educational activities.

“It’s a great thing to make those connections, because we can really make a difference in students’ lives and maybe even influence them to become scientists or engineers or mathematicians,” Candelaria says.

WYSTEM serves as an interface among K-14 students and teachers, higher education and industry to expand and enhance STEM education in Wyoming.

To facilitate connections, Candelaria will organize STEM-related opportunities and events such as STEM Saturdays, in which K-12 students and their families can experience hands-on STEM activities; STEM campus tours for middle and high school students; student enrichment programs for K-12 students and teachers; and STEM professional development workshops for teachers.

In addition to providing STEM programming, Candelaria will work with STEM outreach programs to evaluate current programs and develop programs, if needed, to fill in any gaps in current offerings. She plans to develop and maintain a database and tracking procedures for past and present student participants in K-12 STEM outreach programs at UW to assess the impacts that the programs have on the students.

Another part of her job will require that she tackle questions about funding programs and sharing resources.

“How can we pull together resources at the university? How can we take advantage of broader impacts through the National Science Foundation? How can we make these programs even better than they are by making those connections and helping them get the resources they need?” Candelaria asks.

Additionally, Candelaria will link people to programs and resources through the WYSTEM website (, a clearinghouse for information about STEM educational opportunities at UW and across the state.

Although her position is new, Candelaria is no stranger to STEM programs and activities at UW. Most recently, she has been a project coordinator with the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium. She has developed inquiry-based STEM activities and lessons in her roles as project coordinator for EENano (energy and environmental nanotechnology), and as a graduate fellow and coordinator of UW’s Science Posse. She is a founding member of both the Women in Mathematics, Science and Engineering advisory board and the Wyoming Mathematics Education Student Association.

In addition to her work experience, Candelaria is a two-time UW graduate. She received her B.S. in mathematics, with a minor in physics (2006), and an M.S. in mathematics (2009). She expects to receive her doctorate in mathematics education from UW this fall.

Candelaria says she aims to provide high-quality STEM educational experiences by connecting students with scientists.

“Topics the students have only read about in their textbooks begin to come to life as STEM researchers share their expertise and excitement about their areas of study,” Candelaria says. “To me, this is what WYSTEM is all about: facilitating the sharing of genuine passion and excitement for a subject through authentic, hands-on experiences that expose learners to the subject in a way that makes them excited to learn more.”

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