Innovative Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Strategy Project (iSTEM)
Up to 100 rural and suburban underrepresented minority youth, grades 6-8, are engaged in structured, hands-on and innovative STEM activities in Atlanta, GA on Saturday's during the school year along with summer academy hands-on field experiences.
This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students' motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by engaging in hands-on field experience, laboratory/project-based entrepreneurship tasks and mentorship experiences.
The Innovative Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Strategies Project of Morehouse College is designed to provide underrepresented minority students with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) challenging technological learning experiences that will increase the students' exposure to innovation and creativity in the STEM disciplines. The project will explore the influence of these challenging opportunities on student's interest by 1) Increasing student awareness and knowledge of educational opportunities and careers in STEM disciplines; 2) Increasing student knowledge, skills and practices in STEM application; and 3) Increasing participation of underrepresented populations in STEM careers. This project will address these potential educational needs for minority students at a critical stage of their educational development by having students begin the program in grades 7-9 and supporting their development for a three (3) year period. The students will be engaged in a long-term (3 year) STEM technology program that will include a 4-week summer program, hands-on field experience, laboratory/project-based entrepreneurship tasks and mentorship, and parental involvement.
A mixed-methods approach to project evaluation will be applied using both quantitative and qualitative measures design for a panel of formative and summative assessment instruments including project implementation, content knowledge, process knowledge, and attitudes. Whenever feasible, baseline date will be included. A database will be developed for milestones including dissemination efforts. Evaluation of the program will include both descriptive statistics and outcome analysis. The research questions are: (1) What sets of experiences effectively and efficiently support student competency, motivation, and persistence for productive participation in the STEM and STEM cognate workforce in the future? (2) What roles might industry workforce members play in motivating students to become aware of, interested in, and prepared for careers in STEM and STEM cognate workforce? (3) What strategies might parents, caregivers, and mentors adopt in the modern digital and computer age that develop student understanding of and appreciation for the scientific, technical, mathematical, and engineering basis of technological developments? and (4) Given the shifting demographics reflected in our current classrooms and in our country, what are effective and productive ways to ensure broadening participation by engaging diverse underrepresented populations in STEM programs and careers?