Dr. Dieuwertje Kast is the Director of STEM Education Programs for the University of Southern California’s Joint Educational Project. Through her efforts, she has provided STEM instruction to over 26,000 underrepresented minority students, 600 educators, 25 school principals, and countless community members. She coordinates supplemental science programs in Los Angeles for low income elementary school students of color across a gamut of schools through the Wonderkids, Young Scientists Program, and the Medical STEM Program. She also volunteers with EE Just, a program dedicated to bringing Black youth into marine biology, and the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative, where she teaches research methods to first-generation high school Latinx students with expeditions to Catalina Island and research symposiums.
Her doctorate research was focused on preparing elementary school teachers how to integrate science and technology into their classrooms in a culturally relevant manner. She has also partnered with the Mayor's office Women in STEM Los Angeles (WiSTEM LA) group and has hosted events & programming for them and received funding for her educational equity work from the Los Angeles Mayor's office. She has also hosted Project Scientist, a summer science camp for girls at USC, and worked to include scholarships for low-income students of color to participate in the program.
For her work in educational equity and DEI in STEM, she has received the Forbes 30 under 30 in Science Award in 2016, North American Association for Environmental Education “EE 30 under 30” Award in 2016, The National Association of Geoscience Teachers – Far Western Section (NAGT-FWS) Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award (2017), International STEM Education Association Mike Neden STEM Champion Award (2017), and the USC Rossier Second Century Alumni Award – an award for rising stars in their fields that support educational equity (2019). She has published in dozens of journals on culturally relevant STEM curriculum and instructional activities. Her work makes an impactful difference by leveling the playing field in STEM for low-income students of color in the Los Angeles area.