WHSTEP was established in 1989 in response to a call
from the National Science Foundation for improved science
education and science literacy in the U.S. Until the formation
of the partnership, science outreach to local schools
was spotty, and occurred largely as the result of the
interest of individuals. Given the rich scientific and
technical resources of the community, many recognized
the value of formalizing these interactions and making
them available for all local teachers and students.
With the support of the science institutions, a group
of interested individuals organized a series of educational
forums in the village of Woods Hole. The forums brought
together large numbers of people from all the Woods Hole
research institutions and agencies, the Falmouth school
system, Falmouth Academy, the community, and science-related
businesses who wanted to be involved in assisting and
supporting K-12 science education in the local schools.
These forums led to the formation of the Woods Hole Science
and Technology Education Partnership (WHSTEP) as a collaboration
of schools, science institutions and agencies, businesses
and community members “to support, promote and enhance
science education, and science literacy in the participating
communities.” WHSTEP has since expanded to include
the Bourne and Mashpee Schools as well as those in Falmouth.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has served as
both informal home to WHSTEP and its fiscal agent. All
member organizations provide financial support through
annual dues, and also have provided material resources,
meeting space, and staff time and expertise.
The Executive Committee is the governing body of WHSTEP.
It consists of the Chair, Vice-chair, and Clerk/Treasurer
and 9 additional members, drawn from the member organizations
and the community. This committee meets monthly from September
Other committees are established as needed, but usually
include a Mini-Grant Review Committee and a Program Committee.