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Our Program

Founded in 2005, the Youth for Astronomy and Engineering (YAE) program at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) offers extracurricular science and engineering activities. Although focused on Baltimore City and County, these activities are available to underserved and underrepresented youth throughout Maryland. Our events create positive and supportive experiences for up to 1,500 young men and women each year as they make choices about high school courses, college majors, and activities. 

Our program is designed to introduce students to a variety of science careers and naturally evolve to support their interests in becoming scientists, engineers, technologists, and mathematicians. We offer opportunities for students to meet and speak with successful professionals, and ask questions about what to expect in a field of interest and how to prepare for college and a career. Our hands-on events have included building an electric motor, using a spectroscope to learn about the composition of stars, assembling Galileo telescopes, and building and deploying miniature models of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.



Youth for Astronomy & Engineering


Youth in the auditorium during a lecture
Engaging the Whole Family

Youth and their parents visit the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore for astronomy, engineering, and science talks, which provide time for questions.

One youth helping another with a science experiment
Cultivating a Supportive Environment

The Youth for Astronomy and Engineering program offers a range of hands-on activities that lead to team building and immersion in a variety of science topics.

Youth looking through glasses to see a color spectrum
Exploring the Universe

Students can engage in hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities and find opportunities for peer-to-peer connections.

A group of students making JWST models
Designing Your Future

Students can design, build, and learn about different types of engineering projects, as well as engineering careers.

Program Goals

Our Goals

Our programmatic activities not only attract, but also sustain students’ interest throughout their middle and high school years by:

  • Providing opportunities to engage with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals, and learn about their science and engineering expertise
  • Creating a space for students to network with other students who share the same interest in science and engineering
  • Building relationships with schools, STEM organizations, and community partners
  • Sharing STEM opportunities from partner organizations with students and parents


Our Partners

We aim to increase diversity and minority representation for the next generation of scientists and engineers working on NASA’s astrophysics missions. Over the years, YAE has grown due to the commitment of staff, parents, teachers, and students. Partnering organizations include:

  • The Baltimore City Mayor’s Office YouthWorks program
  • Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Enoch Pratt Free Library
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • The Maryland Science Center
  • Maryland Space Grant Consortium
  • The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitative Services (DORS)
  • Morgan State University
  • Statewide libraries, schools, and community centers