About Us

Since 2008, STEM-X (formerly “STEM Institutes”) has operated with a vision to create STEM confidence and competence in ALL students. It began at one school serving 76 students and has now grown to a 2019 enrollment of about 800! When the program was initiated, true to its initial designation “STEM Institutes”, the focus was primarily only on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math courses. However, over the past few years, there has been intentional expansion to include classes that would be considered more Arts, Theater, and Music-based—hence, the renaming to “STEM-X”! This was enacted with the understanding that none of these disciplines exists in isolation and there is opportunity for all to be interwoven. It is our hope that this brand embodies the idea that STEM is important, and that it is an inclusive term that can represent all the STEM entry points students can experience.

The immediate benefit of a summer camp, such as STEM-X, is that we keep students engaged over the summer months camps, reduce summer learning loss, and give students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they’ve gained over the school year. With respect to the long-term gain, STEM-X’s aim is to help students develop skill sets to thrive in any field, but in particular to give them opportunities to learn more about and build a sense of belonging in STEM fields. Our overarching mission is to create confidence and competence in ALL students in ALL fields, but more specifically, one of our primary goals is to reduce any detrimental gaps to broaden all students’ academic and professional opportunities in STEM fields.

Our Team

Sarah Switala
Sarah SwitalaDirector

Sarah’s family is originally from Pennsylvania and they moved to Colorado in 2017 in search of sunshine and an outdoor lifestyle. They love to travel, hike, camp, ski/snowboard. She is a School Counselor at Fossil Ridge, where her husband is an Algebra and Geometry teacher. They have three sons—one is at CSU, the other at Fossil Ridge, and another at Kinard Middle School—and they have two loveable pups, Pork Chop & Beau.<br />

Sarah earned a BA in Psychology from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. She has a MS Degree in Education with a K-12 Counseling Certification from Duquense University in Pittsburgh, PA. And her K-12 Principal’s certification is from the University of Pittsburgh (H2P)!<br />

Sarah has always been passionate about Science. Her intended career was in the medical field, but with the twists and turns in life, became a School Counselor. She considers it a privilege to support students as they grow into themselves through their engagement with the world. She is passionate about the environment, education, the arts, social justice, and human rights. What she loves about STEM-X is its applications in improving the quality of life and she looks forward to collaborating with our STEM-X educators as they continue the legacy of creating exciting and innovative experiences for our students.

Carey Christensen
Carey ChristensenPoudre High School Site Liaison

Carey grew up in the great state of Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater with a degree in Education and Sports Medicine. She moved out to Colorado upon graduating and loves and has embraced all that Colorado has to offer. She began working at Poudre High School in 1999 both as a teacher and Certified Athletic Trainer. In the summer of 2015 she finished her Masters of Education and Human Resource Studies at CSU and started as part time Assistant Principal in the fall of 2015. She is passionate about providing opportunities for all students and helping them realize their potential! She is excited about the upcoming STEM institute and all of the incredible opportunities that are awaiting our students.

Sārah Youssef
Sārah YoussefProgram Coordinator

Sārah grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated with a B.A. from Lehigh University. She went on to earn an M.Ed. in Educational Organization and Leadership from the University of Illinois. She then worked at CSU in distance education and undergraduate advising from 2012-2019 and is excited for this opportunity to work in PSD with K-12 faculty and students. Sārah has children at Rocky, Webber, and Johnson, who have participated in (and loved!) STEM-X. She truly enjoys working with the STEM-X team and appreciates the opportunity to contribute towards providing enriching and engaging learning opportunities for our students.

Tracy Winey
Tracy WineyDelta Force Coordinator

Tracey has taught for twenty years in four different countries and is so grateful to teach at Preston Middle School and Colorado State University. She has been the STEM-X Delta Force Coordinator since 2016. She loves learning and creating the conditions for others to thrive in, such as with STEM-X, Engineering Brightness, and EngineerGirl. Tracey is the most happy, when she is in the mountains with her husband, two children and the family dog!