Enhancing Science and Technology Education and Exploration Mentoring (ESTEEM)
Three hundred and thirty six middle school students (with a focus on girls) from 6 schools in the Baltimore, Maryland, area are engaged in IT learning experiences related to robotics, digital storytelling, animation, genealogy and nature.
UMBC's Center for Women and Information Technology, the Shriver Center, and the Chabot Space and Science Center have partnered to implement and beta test Chabot's TechBridge curriculum in six middle schools over three years to increase the number and diversity of students, and particularly girls, pursuing an interest in IT. Activities will include an after-school program, weekend fieldtrips, and a two two-week summer program. Over three years, Project ESTEEM will directly impact 336 7th and 8th grade students with each student receiving over 120 hours of program contact. The ESTEEM program will focus on encouraging girls' interest and involvement in elective information technology (IT) classes and support their pursuit of IT careers which will help address national and local workforce shortages. The project offers an after-school program with a high quality, proven curriculum to enhance students' understanding of how information technology concepts learned in the classroom connect to their every day lives, and to their future learning and career options; develops students' knowledge and abilities to use information technology applications for inquiry-based learning, employ innovative methods to access information relevant to an infinite number of topics, and work cooperatively with peers to pose and answer authentic questions about the use of technology and its applications in a broader world; develops students' awareness of the possibility of college and technology careers as viable life options through their interactions with positive role models and participation in college-based activities, and; develops continuing support among parents, teachers, college and middle school students and community organizations and their members to ensure all program activities are achieved and students feel fully supported. In addition to the impact in the participating students' lives, Project ESTEEM will implement the TechBridge curriculum in a new setting and explore related issues to prepare for wider dissemination of the curriculum.