Louis Stokes Institute for Opportunity in STEM Education

The Louis Stokes Institute for Opportunity in STEM Education is an initiative of the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE), a Washington-based, non-profit organization whose purpose is to expand college access and improve college retention for low-income, first-generation, and minority students. The Institute honors former Congressman Louis Stokes of Ohio. During his 30 years in Congress, Rep. Stokes was the foremost proponent for expanded opportunities in the sciences for low-income and minority students.

Need for Leadership in STEM Education

Louis Stokes Institute for Opportunity in STEM Education Brochure American competitiveness in the global marketplace depends on the availability of a highly-trained and well-educated workforce, particularly workers in STEM-related fields. To support our technological economy in the 21st century we must both tap all available talent pools and ensure a STEM-literate society.


Despite the current national emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, low-income, first-generation, and minority students frequently find themselves outside the STEM educational pipeline. The reasons for this are complex and varied, including: lack of access to qualified STEM teachers; inadequate STEM curricular preparation; and lack of encouragement to tackle challenging subjects. The Stokes Institute seeks to reduce STEM student attrition and provide inspiring STEM curricular pathways for these students.

Through COE, the Stokes Institute works with TRIO and other opportunity programs, colleges and universities, community organizations, and government agencies to improve STEM education for low-income, first-generation, and minority students throughout the nation. (Opportunity programs help disadvantaged students prepare for, enter, and complete college.)

Mission and Goals for the Stokes Institute

The mission of the Stokes Institute is to expand opportunity for low-income, first-generation, and minority students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Its goals are to increase the capacity of educators to assist these students in achieving success in STEM disciplines, and to grow the STEM educational pipeline.

To meet the mission and goals, we focus on Professional Development, Program Development, and Research to build capacity in STEM education for college access and retention programs.

The Stokes Institute Provides

  • Information and resources for educators to support teaching and learning in mathematics and science for disadvantaged students participating in TRIO and other college opportunity programs;
  • Resources for parents and students to actively engage in STEM study;
  • Training in curriculum development and advice in meeting STEM education standards for program administrators, teachers, and counselors;
  • STEM education best practices study and dissemination.