Biogen Foundation STAR Initiative

In 2018, the Biogen Foundation created the STAR Initiative (Science, Teacher support, Access and Readiness) aimed to catalyze the growth of STEM ecosystems across the Cambridge and Somerville school districts and to address equity in STEM professions.

STAR is a $12 million, five-year investment that brings together six high-performing nonprofits and two school districts to provide a network for students grades 6-14 that are historically underrepresented in STEM college and career pathways, including students of color, economically disadvantaged students and English language learners. Ultimately, the program aims to help young people access and succeed in STEM learning opportunities while developing a lasting passion for science and discovery.

"I started YPP (The Young People’s Project) in seventh grade and I love the community that is built there. My love for math and my confidence in math started to grow because each year YPP has helped me.”

- 11th grade YPP student

Measuring Impact


Students collectively served


Students are a racial or ethnic minority (school year 2021-22)


Students come from an economically disadvantaged household (school year 2021-22)

The data shows:

  • STAR consistently serves a higher proportion of students that are underrepresented in STEM compared to the districts. This includes students of color, economically disadvantaged students, non-native English speakers and female students.
  • Across both districts, Black, African American, Hispanic or Latino, and economically disadvantaged STAR students are performing better in math and science courses during their freshman year in high school compared to their peers.

Discover more

Learn more about STAR and our partners at Root Cause’s STAR Hub page

Meet the STAR Partners

  • Breakthrough Greater Boston prepares students for success in college by providing them with academic support, including STEM subjects, from middle school through high school.
  • Lesley University trains teachers to increase student engagement, particularly in STEM subjects, by designing and using more hands-on learning activities with students.
  • Enroot empowers immigrant youth by providing academic support, including STEM subjects, and inspiring out-of-school experiences such as internships in STEM-related businesses.
  • Citizen Schools closes opportunity and achievement gaps for middle school students by expanding the school day with project-based learning; 21st century, social- emotional, and STEM skill-building; and high school, college and career preparation.
  • uAspire ensures that all young people have the financial information and resources necessary to find an affordable path to and through college. Being in the STAR grantee network enables uAspire to better connect with and serve students interested in STEM education and career pathways.
  • The Young People’s Project uses Math Literacy Work to develop the abilities of elementary through high school students to succeed in school and in life and involving them in efforts to eliminate institutional obstacles to their success.

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