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FAST Resources

Welcome to FAST!

This is a compiled set of resources meant for any science enthusiasts looking to build a supportive community of researchers, makers, and explorers. Included are a bunch of materials (from example budgets, to workshop materials, to team-building activities) that we've accumulated and found useful while building up this program over the years. We hope that you find some of it useful in your own curiosity-driven science endeavors as well. This resources guide is divided into five main sections - with the content of each summarized here. If you have any questions/comments, or if you think there's a resource that's missing from this site, please leave us a message in the comments section at the bottom of the page, we'd love to hear from you!

Defining a FAST Program

What is a FAST program?

A program where mentors work with high school students on long-term (6-12 month), curiosity-driven projects in some combination of science, technology, art/design, and mathematics  - either inventing something or discovering something new. Students can be mentored by any professional scientist (from graduate students to industry professionals). FAST focuses on long-term, mutually respectful relationships. 


What is the purpose of a FAST program?

To develop life-long learners and support them in pursuing their passions and fulfilling careers. A FAST program serves student populations who receive outsized benefits from the opportunity (e.g. students from low-income backgrounds or from historically disenfranchised or underrepresented groups). 


How does one create a FAST community?

  • Intentionally form a welcoming and supportive community of learners who value teamwork and curiosity.

  • Start with enrichment/team-building activities that focus on problem-solving.

  • Focus on problem-posing activities that promote discovery, reveal the mysteries left to solve in our world, and sharing.

  • Create experiences for students to explore new aspects of their surroundings/the natural world.

  • Provide science capital/resources/expert guidance to make ambitious science and projects happen


What is physically and emotionally needed for a FAST program?

  • A building with surfaces and cabinets that can house a “safe space” to pursue various research projects

  • The ability to collect and safely operate scientific and engineering equipment.

  • A shared value among participants of individual curiosities, passions, ideas, and personal identity development

  • People who have bought into the FAST ideals

  • A regular session briefing with a rundown of the schedule and some consistency in program format


What is NOT a FAST program?

  • A program that provides college application or resume boosting activities to already-privileged students to help them get ahead

  • A place where scientists show up and demonstrate scientific principles through “demos”

  • A lecture to distill or present synthesized information

Start-up materials and guidance for initially establishing partnerships between high schools and universities, recruiting mentors and students to the program, and forming an organizational structure that supports students and mentors effectively.

Resources for brainstorming and designing a year-long, low-budget research project based on your own curiosities and/or passions. Includes a database of previous FAST project descriptions, brainstorming and project ideation strategies, goal-setting workshops/materials,  and templates for planning FAST session schedules and establishing year-long goals and learning outcomes.

Detailed information on the operations/behind-the-scenes work that goes into keeping a FAST program running. Includes: example leadership structures and leadership development strategies, communication norms, templates and resources for recruiting, onboarding, and tracking mentors and students, guidance for communicating with university and school district administrators, mentor training materials, and example year-long timelines for program ops.

Financial and program outcomes-tracking resources. Includes example program budgets and spending tracking templates, resources for identifying funding opportunities, funded grant proposal examples, and pitch materials. For outcomes tracking, descriptions of program-wide mentor and student outcomes tracking that occurs each year, and details on the metrics and strategies established by the Stanford FAST chapter to conduct IRB-approved research on the long-term impact of FAST on participants.

Content formed and curated to support students' project development and long-term career and educational development. Contains workshops on brainstorming, the scientific method, science communication, demystifying higher education and financial aid, and more. Also includes team-building activities, community-development strategies, and databases of opportunities for STEAM internships, enrichment activities, and science fair competitions.

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