US2020 City Network Gathers in D.C.

 The #US2020CityNetwork walking through D.C.

The #US2020CityNetwork walking through D.C.

The #US2020CityNetwork is a group of ten city-based coalitions, including Indianapolis, born from US2020's 2014 City Competition. As a Network, we come together approximately twice a year to accelerate each other's work during what we call Convenings, which are 2-3 day gatherings where representatives from each city are able to meet

in person to brainstorm ideas and challenges, receive updates from national partners, and recharge our momentum around increasing STEM mentoring.

 City Network representatives from Allentown, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Baton Rouge, LA; Research Triangle Park, NC; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Indianapolis, IN; Wichita, KS; Bosten, MA pose outside the White House.

City Network representatives from Allentown, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Baton Rouge, LA; Research Triangle Park, NC; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Indianapolis, IN; Wichita, KS; Bosten, MA pose outside the White House.

Last week, we gathered for our summer convening, which started Wednesday afternoon at the Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, right outside of Washington, D.C. We discussed communication strategies around how best to tell the US2020 story to our audiences and ended the day at a State of the Network dinner, during which we heard from US2020 Executive Director Nick Hutchinson and Citizens Schools CEO Steven Rothstein.

Thursday featured a trip into D.C., where we spent the morning at the Corporation for National & Community Service, discussing our AmeriCorps VISTA members, and hearing from CNCS Chief of Staff Asim Mishra and AmeriCorps VISTA Director Paul Monteiro, among others.

That afternoon, we made our way over to the White House complex for the STEM Mentoring Symposium and Awards. The Symposium brought together leaders from the public, private, and social sectors to discuss common challenges, share best practices, and reaffirm STEM mentoring as a powerful tool for education reform.

 Attendees at the STEM Mentoring Symposium & Awards.

Attendees at the STEM Mentoring Symposium & Awards.

The STEM Mentoring Awards recognized winners in the following categories for their exceptional work in STEM mentoring:

Most Innovative Hands-On Project

Excellence in Volunteer Experience

Excellence in Corporate Culture

 The 2015 winners of the STEM Mentoring Awards, presented by Chevron and Tata Consultancy Services.

The 2015 winners of the STEM Mentoring Awards, presented by Chevron and Tata Consultancy Services.

The Awards ended on a high note with Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States, saying that STEM needs tangible, teachable moments that are fun.

On Friday, our final day of the Convening, we met again at Discovery Communications to reflect on the symposium and awards and spend time diving into one of the City Network's biggest collective challenges during the pilot year, mentor engagement and recruitment. After discussing root causes and effects of the problem, we brainstormed solutions that could be implemented immediately, as well as some solutions that might take longer to realize.

The Convening was an overall success and we're already looking forward to gathering the City Network again in January!

 Representatives of the City Network pose during a brainstorming session at Discovery Communications on the final day of the Convening.

Representatives of the City Network pose during a brainstorming session at Discovery Communications on the final day of the Convening.