Ecosystem Workgroups

The work of the Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem is made possible by the collaboration of over 700+ members who believe that everyone benefits when students succeed in STEM.  Workgroups contribute to achieving our goals by advancing our mission and vision within a specific area of focus and by collaborating to accomplish work that has a meaningful deliverable and manageable.  Our current Workgroups are:

Computer Science

Bridging the digital divide to

create pathways into the tech workforce

Education for Sustainability

Cultivating responsible


Professional Development

Empowering STEM educators to impact students

STEM through Sport

Building strong STEM interest through sports



The vision of the Computer Science (CS) Workgroup is to help Philadelphia children and youth participate successfully in CS in high school, higher education, and career pathways, and careers. This Workgroup collaborates with CS4Philly to offer high quality CS activities to students who are primarily within the School District of Philadelphia. This Workgroup offers professional development for teachers and helps them procure 7th-12th grade CS Certification. Recently, the CS workgroup received a National Science Foundation planning grant entitled “Jumpstarting Philly CS4All.”


Jeffrey L. Popyack, Ph.D.

Professor of Computer Science, Drexel University

Jamie Payton, D.Sc.
Chair and Associate Professor,  
Department of Computer & Information Sciences, Temple University

education for sustainability

The Education for Sustainability (EFS) Workgroup strives to implement a model of place-based education for current and future sustainability throughout the Philadelphia region. This Workgroup helps teachers integrate ESF content, EFS Standards, and authentic place-based pedagogies into their classrooms. This Workgroup also continues to collaborate with Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND) and its sustainability initiatives. Lastly, The EFS Workgroup received a Pennsylvania Department of Education PAsmart Advancing Grant to further its efforts.


Victor Donnay
Professor of Mathematics, 
Bryn Mawr College

Paul Morgan
Director of Sustainability Education Programs

West Chester University

Anna Balfanz
Emerson Fellow of the Netter Center

University of Pennsylvania

To join the Ecosystem, click on the "join us" button below:

Any member of the Ecosystem can volunteer to chair a Workgroup  based on an interest in addressing a specific need. Workgroup chairs assemble a team of diverse stakeholders who have lived experience with the problem being tackled. Together the group defines what success will look like and executes their plan. Workgroups can begin and end at any time. A full description of Workgroup roles and responsibilities can be seen below:

characteristics   of successful workgroups

  • Align their work with one or more of the parts of the Ecosystem mission. As Workgroups  develop their own goals and scope of work, they should be able to draw a strong  connection to the part of the mission that the work will advance.  

  • Hold regular meetings and make progress on their scope of work as appropriate  between meetings.  

  • Leverage the expertise of individual members to capitalize on shared interest and  experience. 

  • Collaborate to accomplish work that can both have a meaningful deliverable and is a realistic task for a group of volunteers. 

  • Identify as part of the whole Ecosystem and look for opportunities to coordinate with  other Workgroups, to prevent duplication of efforts across the Workgroups themselves.

  • Promote access to local STEM education offerings and deepen awareness of the need  for equity and social justice in the specific area of focus. 

workgroup roles
& responsibilities

Workgroup Members: 

  • Must be, or register as, a member of the larger Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem. 

  • Attend Workgroup meetings or contribute ideas virtually as the Workgroup  design allows.

  •  Participate in activities as able, offering time and expertise to advance the work of the Workgroup. 

Workgroup Co-Chairs: 

  • Facilitate meetings, ensuring that mission-aligned work moves forward over time. 

  • Appoint one Co-Chair to serve on the Ecosystem Steering Committee; this Co-Chair provides updates to the Steering Committee and the Ecosystem as a  whole.  

  • Actively recruit, as needed or as appropriate, members from their professional networks to join the Workgroup and Ecosystem. 

  •  If needed, suggest a policy among members for meeting attendance guidelines.  

  • Communicate with core members regarding their participation as needed. 

  • If stepping down, assist in recruiting a replacement in collaboration with the remaining Co-Chair.  


  • Meetings can take place in person or virtually.  

  • Chairs or assigned members share the dates of meetings with the Philadelphia STEM  Ecosystem Manager at 

  • When possible, Workgroup meeting minutes are taken and disseminated to the Workgroup members, and posted on the Ecosystem’s Google Folder. 

  • Small amounts of funding are available for renting space for meetings, providing snacks,  sponsoring relevant events, printing materials, etc. Our backbone organization, the  Philadelphia Education Fund has meeting space available for Workgroups that would like to  meet there. 

  • Workgroups consist of the Co-chairs and a small core of working members. The PSE maintains a list of other STEM Ecosystem members who are not interested in joining a Workgroup but who would like updates on Workgroup efforts and opportunities to  volunteer on projects, as needed.