Building upon the success of our Youth Ambassadors program, VPOST launched a STEM Youth Ambassadors cohort to share stories with Legislators about the enriching experiences that Afterschool STEM Programming provides. Expanded STEM is a vital component of out-of-school time programming. A survey conducted in early 2021 found that 76% of afterschool programs were providing STEM learning opportunities, which is similar to the rates of STEM offerings before the pandemic. As such, supporting expanded STEM learning is one of VPOST’s top initiatives. 

To prepare for the legislative meetings, Aditya of Stafford, Shiv, Medha, and Prachi of Loudon, Carissa of Mechanicsville and Govind of Glen Allen, who range from 13-17 years old, learned about advocacy and were guided on how to craft their unique stories. VPOST Youth Ambassadors program helps amplify the voices of tomorrow’s future, empowering them to take an active role on the issues important to their generation. As STEM Ambassador Prachi shared during her legislative meeting, “Day by day, we see new studies – global warming is getting worse, the oceans are filled with plastic, droughts are taking over the planet. There are millions of scientists all over the world who are working to solve these issues, but soon enough, there will be a next generation of those scientists – us.” 

VPOST met with three Representatives’ offices. We would like to say a special thank you to Anderson Hayes of NextUp RVA for sharing his compelling story about the pathway between being a participant in afterschool programs and becoming an entrepreneur. Also, thank you to Peter Holland, the Senior Legislative Assistant for Education Issues in Congressmen Good’s Office, Brendan Nigro, the Staff Lead for Education Issues in Senator Warner’s Office, and Karishma Merchant of Senator Kaine’s Office.

For questions regarding the Youth STEM Ambassadors Program, contact Christine Jones Monaccio at