Nonprofit work promoting STEM + the Arts through immersive, hands-on projects.
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STE(A)M Truck by Community Guilds
The idea was simple...
Explaining it was not. Jason Martin wanted to create a literal and figurative vehicle for promoting the fail-forward mentality of STEM + Arts education to underserved public schools. Create he did. In the process, though, there wasn't always time to tell STE(A)M Truck's story.
I was a new grad when Jason brought me on full-time to help him realize his education startup STE(A)M Truck. At the time, STE(A)M Truck did not have any full-time folks besides Martin himself. It did have a 3D printer, a ShopBot CNC that needed assembling, and a gutted box truck that was beginning to be outfitted to accommodate those tech tools and more.
More than anything, I devoted my two years at STE(A)M Truck to telling the story of STE(A)M Truck. I wanted to help it compete with other nonprofits in its sector, and to make it shine as an appealing cause for potential investors.
I did this by creating a new and improved website alongside my colleague Keith, by creating a series of YouTube "Video Diaries" that illustrated our everyday, and by upping our social media presence across platforms.
Learning to Be an Educator
Codifying Our Resources: The Playbook
The process of making our small nonprofit appealing to large companies happened slowly, and was not without hiccups! We knew it was important to be strategic about documenting our process as we were laying the groundwork for the future of the organization. I was tasked with creating a Maker Playbook which would be our guide for programming, and a tool to explain to educators and stakeholders what we did in the classroom.
Codify all of our existing lesson plans, safety protocols, and performance indicators into a print booklet.
Design a badging system that incentivized students to reach prescribed milestones.
Outline sample schedules for a single day of programming, and a 20-day programming package.
I brought to life lots of collateral for the company. I put together safety posters and business cards, stationary, and brand materials. Between the Playbook and the printed collateral, we had an established brand language that would start to gain recognition throughout the city. This was critical, as I was tired of having people pull up next to me when I drove the truck to ask what food we served.
You can view the Maker Playbook in its entirety in steamtruck.org's Toolbox.
Telling Our Story: A New Website
Our web presence was a huge hurdle. The webpage we started with was assembled in phases as the company grew, and it showed. The user flow was well thought out, but poorly executed. Furthermore, in order to situate ourselves as a competitor in the tech education sector, we needed to bring our web design into the 21st century.
The improved website needed to:
Tell the story of STE(A)M Truck
Be a guide for superintendents & educators who were considering working with our team
Situate our company as a key competitor in the experiential learning market for potential investors and stakeholders
My colleague Keith & I did a complete overhaul on the old site. Here are a few snapshots of the changes we made:
Reasons to Believe: Quantitative and Qualitative Assessments
There seemed to be no better way to illustrate the work we were doing than through video.