The Prison Teaching Initiative (PTI) at Princeton University is one of five organizations awarded a collaborative National Science Foundation grant to build a national alliance that will forge robust pathways to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers for people who are, or were, incarcerated.
PTI is made up of volunteers from around Princeton University who teach accredited college courses in New Jersey state prisons with Raritan Valley Community College and Rutgers University as part of the NJ-STEP Consortium, and in the Ft. Dix Federal Correctional Institution in partnership with Mercer County Community College. Co-founded PTI in 2005 by Gillian Knapp, now an emeritus professor of astrophysical sciences, and former postdoctoral fellow Mark Krumholz, Class of 1998, today PTI is an initiative offered through Princeton’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning.
“We are particularly excited to be part of a large-scale education equity project with leaders who were previously incarcerated,” said Jill Stockwell, administrative director of PTI, “and to propagate our model of summer research internships for formerly incarcerated undergraduates on campuses throughout the nation.”
STEM-OPS has the following four main areas of focus:
- STEM internships, including hands-onresearch opportunities at top-tier research universities, for formerly incarcerated people;
- The development of a national model for expanding vital STEM programming into existing prison education programs;
- Career and educationalreadiness workshops for STEM careers; and
- Development of STEM mentorship and professional networks for returning citizens.
STEM-OPS will also advance knowledge of how to provide incarcerated youth with pathways to STEM education and careers.
By Prison Teaching Initiative, Princeton University