Engaging Youth in Expanded STEM Career Pathways through Clean Energy Literacy Development
Over 300 students per year in urban East Bay communities, grades 9 and 10, are engaged in bridging clean energy science investigations within their community with development programming skills.
The University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Hall of Science plans a five-year project to investigate the capacity of a previously developed clean energy-focused intervention model to affect positive learning outcomes and greater career awareness among a broader audience of under-represented group students aged 14-16. Students (approximately 975) at 12 school sites located in East San Francisco Bay Area urban communities with large underrepresented group populations will participate in opportunities to learn and apply STEM content and information and communication technology (ICT) skills in the context of investigating energy and its usage. These opportunities will be presented in school day courses and in after school programs. Project participants will: learn clean energy-related and NGSS-aligned content; conduct research on related topics that generates scientifically accurate information valuable to local communities; and make links between particular content areas and a range of career pathway options. Students also will also make public information sessions aimed at increasing community awareness of clean/green energy related topics. This proposal builds on a prior project by studying the capacity of the intervention to affect student career and academic choices and determining what modifications will support effective broad-scale implementation.
The project will investigate the impact of its activities on participant development of functional identity (i.e., the disposition, skills and knowledge necessary for effectively pursuing and maintaining STEM-related educational and career-related trajectories in the future). It will address several key research questions: (1) How successful the intervention model is in fostering NGSS mastery, in impacting how students value the application of science, in affecting course taking choices, and career interest with a group currently not in the traditional STEM pipeline; (2) How the experience of the intervention model differs for participants who are recruited through different strategies, i.e. self-selected vs. assigned; and (3) Does the project have an effect at the school level related to student preparation and career trajectory as a result of the implementation of the model. Successful implementation of the project will result in an effective, scalable intervention model that can be used in a variety of settings for the purpose of preparing youth to participate in clean energy/STEM related careers.