A photo that has a tan background with various shapes that reads "Rock the STEAM Team Community Makerspace & Tech Hub. Envisioning a space where EVERY person has access to STEAM learning."

Our Vision

Our Mission

An image of three girls building a robotic car at a table with paper and pencils.

Our Focus

Our objective is to create a nurturing environment within our Makerspace and Tech Hub where underrepresented individuals feel at ease, inspired, and empowered to cultivate their skills.

We are committed to acknowledging and embracing the unique perspectives and diverse backgrounds that underrepresented groups bring. Furthermore, we aim to address the deficiencies within educational systems that fail to cater to the needs of individuals or communities in the long term.

Inclusivity encompasses the entire spectrum of human diversity, including abilities, languages, cultures, genders, ages, and other forms of human differences.

Our goal is to promote innovation and foster a paradigm shift from conventional viewpoints to one that embraces human differences with curiosity. Through this approach, we aim to develop innovative and adaptable STEM programs that offer personalized experiences, resulting in more effective and inclusive systems for all.

Our Impact

An image of three middle-school aged kids engineering battle bots for a stem program.

How we plan to address the gap in rural Dane County

For STEM learning and opportunities to be available to all students, we must ensure that all students have equitable opportunities to access, belong, engage, and actively participate in an inclusive environment.

We are committed to championing DEIAB in STEM learning.

What do we mean when we talk about diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging?


Encompassing a wide range of identities, including race, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexuality, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, veteran status, physical appearance, political ideology, life experiences, etc.


Fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while acknowledging that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.


An environment in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued as a fully participating member; one that embraces differences and respects all people.


The design, construction, development, and maintenance of facilities, information and communication technology, programs, and services so that all people, including people with disabilities, can fully and independently use them. 


The feeling that an individual is an important member of a group; that one readily identifies as a member of the group and feels a sense of connection, security, and affinity within it.

Equity Points

Rock the STEAM Team will measure its actions to achieve DEIAB in its programming by evaluating the following equity points.


  • Foster an environment that inherently allows users especially those from historically marginalized communities to authentically see themselves as instrumental members of the STEM community.
  • Provide an atmosphere that inherently allows users especially those from historically dominant communities to access additional authentic perspectives of who can and has engaged in STEM.
  • Create a space that will engender a paradigm shift in the current narrative about who belongs in STEM.


Rock the STEAM Team will work to ensure that STEM concepts and practices, as well as the resources we provide, are accessible to all individuals of diverse abilities and learning differences to ensure that ALL users have equal learning opportunities. Some examples include:

  • Physical Accessibility. A Makerspace that is wheelchair accessible, with wide aisles, ramps, and clear pathways. Workstations, equipment, and tools will be positioned at accessible heights to accommodate individuals with mobility impairments.
  • Assistive Technology that enables individuals with disabilities to fully participate in maker activities. This may include screen readers, magnification software, alternative input devices, and assistive robotics kits as well as haptic programming to teach visually impaired learners how to code, 3D print, and more!
  • Accessible Tools and Equipment that are easy to use for individuals with diverse abilities, including tools with ergonomic handles, tactile markers, and large-print labels for students with visual impairments.
  • Commitment to Continuous Improvement. We commit to continuous improvement and ongoing learning in the areas of accessibility and inclusion by staying informed about emerging technologies, trends, and best practices in inclusive design and disability inclusion.

Inclusive Programming

Demonstrate how STEM applies to everyday life and how it can be used to drive positive change and address historical inequities by fostering a sense of personal relevance for all learners.

Rock the STEAM Team offers a diverse range of programming and workshops that appeal to individuals with different interests, skills, and abilities. We plan to host inclusive events including hackathons, design challenges, and maker fairs that celebrate diversity and creativity.

Community Engagement & Accountability

We seek to help learners build strong bonds with coaches, mentors, corporate sponsors, and partners to open doors to jobs, internships, and higher education.

Engage with the local community, including individuals with disabilities and disability advocacy organizations, to gather feedback and ensure that our Makerspace meets their needs and interests. Rock the STEAM commits to involving community members in the planning, design, and implementation of inclusive programming and initiatives.

We will establish feedback mechanisms to solicit input from Makerspace users on their experiences and suggestions for improvement and commit to regularly evaluating and updating accessibility features based on user feedback and best practices.

Meet our team

Our leadership team combines decades of experience in STEM careers, education, and professional development. Additionally, our team consists of volunteers and interns preparing to become the next generation of STEM professionals.

We are dedicated to fostering a culture of inclusivity where everyone feels valued and respected!

An image of Toni Gardner, the Founder and Executive Director of Rock the STEAM Team, wearing a red shirt.

Toni Gardner

Executive Director & Board Chair

An image of Patricia Costa, director of operations and vice president of Rock the STEAM Team.

Patricia Costa

Director of Operations, Board VP

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Gwendolyn Griffey

Board Member, Co-Owner Stoughton’s Best Afterschool and Summer Camp

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Gregory H. Duckert

Program Outreach Manager, Young Entrepreneurs Program Leader

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Student Volunteer

Agriculture Program Intern

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Student Volunteer

Digital Prototyping & Design Intern

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