On January 8, 1991, the Rochester Area Math Science Partnership (RAMSP) initiative started as a public private venture created to improve participation and achievement in math, science and technology among K-12 students. RAMSP was originally organized by Vernon Johnson, Rochester Public Schools Superintendent, Kay Batchelder, Rochester Public School Board President, Dr. Robert Waller, Chief Executive Office of the Mayo Foundation, and Larry Oserwise, IBM Rochester General Manager. RAMSP provided special classes and demonstrations in schools given by Mayo Clinic and IBM employees, student programming opportunities at Mayo Clinic and IBM's sites, training for teachers, and use of computer and science equipment.
In 2007, RAMSP was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Between 1991 and 2007, programming and services grew to include the RAMSP Outstanding Educator Award to recognize K-12 professionals who strive toward the highest levels of excellence within their schools and community, with a focus on initiative and continuous improvement. In collaboration with Mayo Clinic, the Mobile Science Labs were created to connect high school classrooms, healthcare careers, and STEM using traveling trailers filled with equipment and supplies to conduct science experiments through partnerships. Mobile Science Labs received the LGIA's Top Innovator Award. Also the RAMSP Speakers Bureau was formalized and expanded to include industry experts of all STEM related fields that are available to speak in SE Minnesota area classrooms upon a school's request.
After 25 years as an independent program and nine years as a non-profit, RAMSP embarked on a strategic planning process that led to a change in management and program coordination. On January 1, 2017, RAMSP dissolved as a stand-alone non-profit and joined the fabric of Southeast Service Cooperative's programs and services. It was determined that Southeast Service Cooperative could bring added value to the RAMSP mission due to its credibility, reputation, existing infrastructure, staff capacity, and access to resources to create greater efficiencies and effectiveness. Due to this change, RAMSP was provided a new opportunity to flourish and root itself once again. Out of the transition new priorities and subcommittees were created. The new subcommittees, which focus on professional development and workforce development, help Southeast Service Cooperative accomplish mission-driven priorities, goals, and strategies.
Nearly one year after joining forces with Southeast Service Cooperative, RAMSP changed its name to STEM Forward effective July 1, 2018. As STEM Forward was growing in geographic reach and partners were increasing participation in use of programs, feedback and evidence supported further exploration of a name that better described the updated the mission and reach of the program.