Chief Science Officers: A Strategy for Student Awareness and Industry Engagement
This Innovative Technology Experience for Teachers and Students project provides an innovative new model for increasing student interest in STEM careers and active engagement of business and industry partners with grade 6-12 aged youth in Arizona. The Chief Science Officers (CSO) program expands on the student government model to select one or several youth at each participating middle or high school who would champion campus-wide interest, engagement and communication in STEM. On campus, CSOs would identify opportunities for speakers, field trips, and science nights. Off campus, CSOs would participate in community forums and function as the point person for community initiatives in STEM. Key deliverables include CSO training, on-going mentoring, media materials/guides, and on-going community programming. Approximately 100 schools and 200 CSOs will be involved each year of the 3-year project. Numerous businesses will participate in mentoring and community events.
The research would provide insights into how the investment in a small and select group of youth can achieve measurable results for a much larger population of students and communities. Key research questions are: Does the presence of a CSO within a school significantly raise interest in STEM among the general student body? Does the active cohort of CSOs within a community increase participation of businesses and industries? Outcomes will be measured using a quasi-experimental, pre-post design with a treatment group of 4000 participants and a control group of 1000.