Overview of STEM Mentoring Cafés

The STEM Mentoring Café (Café) is a speed-mentoring program aimed at inspiring historically underrepresented and underserved populations in STEM fields to consider STEM disciplines by engaging students in interactive demonstrations and show-and-tell chats with STEM role models about their careers.  The STEM professionals move from table-to-table to share how they got their start in STEM, what interests them the most about their job, what exciting projects they are working on, and why STEM matters to our society.  Educators are given take-home material to continue STEM engagement with students, while STEM professionals are encouraged to serve additional time as a mentor to students in their community.  The Café small group setting encourages conversation and connectivity.


April 8, 2017 Iowa STEM Mentoring Cafe at the Science Center of Iowa. In partnership with the Department of Energy's Ames National Laboratory and the Science Center of Iowa, students and educators from the Science Bound program engaged with over 15 STEM professionals, Pictures to follow. 

April 20, 2016 Oakland, California at Chabot Space and Science Center.

April 2, 2016 Houston, Texas at Children’s Museum of Houston.

March 12, 2016 Albuquerque, New Mexico at National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.

March 5, 2016 Denver, Colorado at Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

February 8, 2016, Washington, DC at the National Geographic Museum. Over 90 middle schools representing DC, Maryland and Virgina engaged with 20 STEM professionals. Read our blog post on the event.

November 14, 2015, New York City, New York, at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, 130 middle school students and STEM mentors engaged in one of our biggest Cafés to date. Read our blog post on the event.

October 27, 2015, Anchorage, Alaska, at the Anchorage Museum. Over 100 middle school students, representing at minimum 18 different schools and afterschool programs, and more than 20 STEM professionals were in attendance. Fields of specialization had a distinctly Alaskan flavor. For more details read the blog post written by the museum.

July 29, 2015, West Palm Beach, Florida, at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. Read the blog post from the museum.

June 13, 2015, Tampa, Florida at the Museum of Science and Industry. 40 middle school girls from Tampa Public Housing Authority met with mentors from NASA, Lowry Park Zoo, Verizon, and Tampa Electric Company. Read our blog post on the event.

May 16, 2015, Chicago, Illinois at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Over 100 students and thirty STEM professionals from Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, Army Corps of Engineers, Navy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. See our Flickr album for photos.

April 22, 2015, Richland, Washington at the REACH museum. At this event, 17 STEM professionals from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and industry professionals served as mentors for 100 middle school students from the Tri-Cities area. Dot Harris, Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, delivered keynote remarks. Watch our highlight video.

On December 17, 2014, the second STEM Mentoring Café was held at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum's Q?rius center in Washington, D.C. 70 middle school students, 18 teachers, and nearly 45 federal STEM professionals from 13 federal agencies participated. Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall delivered keynote remarks. Read our blog post from the event.

The first STEM Mentoring Café was held on May 19, 2014, at the Department of Education and co-hosted by the Department of Energy. Thirty female federal employees from seven agencies mentored eighteen teachers and nearly forty students in Washington, D.C. Read our blog post from the event.


The Department of Energy is working with its National Laboratories and the Association of Science-Technology Centers in selecting the locations for the 2017 STEM Mentoring Cafe series. Additional requests to host an event or learn more may be sent to STEMED@energy.gov.

View our guide on planning and hosting a Cafe event.


Are you interested in becoming a mentor or role model? Brush up on some role model training to develop more skills to engage under-represented individuals in STEM. Check out our training series launched in August 2015 to help give you resources and best practices for engaging with youth.

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