Project Spotlight: Strengthening the STEM Pipeline for Elementary School African Americans, Hispanics, and Girls by Scaling Up Summer Engineering Experiences
As part of our series exploring what ITEST projects have been up to in the summer of 2017, we learned about the work of Strengthening the STEM Pipeline for Elementary School African Americans, Hispanics, and Girls by Scaling Up Summer Engineering Experiences led by Principal Investigator Karl Reid of the National Society of Black Engineers.
How did your ITEST project impact youth this summer?
Our ITEST grant provides research funding to scale up our Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) program, a free three-week STEM immersion program for 3rd-5th grade students, from 14 programs in 2016, to 31 programs by 2019. In partnership with researchers at Virginia Tech and Purdue University, the grant has also enabled us to research the contextual factors that are associated with conceptual knowledge (math, science, and engineering process), motivation, interest in engineering, and the formation of an engineering identity. In addition, ITEST provided us with the tools to improve the quality of our STEM-based curriculum by aligning it to national science and math standards.
What strategy did you find most effective for engaging youth in a summer program?
We looked to create learning experiences that allowed students to actively connect core engineering concepts and principles to the world around them. This strategy allowed students to leave with a stronger understanding and a genuine interest in the engineering concepts we presented.
What lesson have you learned through your work with youth this summer? Any tips you can share with other ITEST projects?
Planning is so crucial to successfully running a quality STEM based program. Developing timelines, mapping out the details and staff needed to accurately satisfy all aspects of a project, truly does help prepare for program execution. In addition, ensuring that all partners and stakeholders involved clearly understand their roles and responsibilities within the project. This helped us with key project tasks like data collection.
What excites you the about the work you do every day?
Providing deserving students and families with meaningful STEM experiences and opportunities. By exposing more students of color to STEM, we help our organization reach our goal of graduating 10,000 black engineers a year by 2025. That is what drives NSBE.
To learn more about NSBE’s “Be 1 of 10,000” visit: https://connect.nsbe.org/campaign/graduate10k/