Promoting STEM Interests and Careers through Families and Museums Exploring
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. This ITEST project aims to research the STEM career interests of late elementary and middle-school students and, based on the results of that research, build an informal education program to involve families and community partners to enhance their science knowledge, attitudes, experiences, and resources. There is an emphasis on underrepresented and low income students and their families.
The project will research and test a new model to promote the development of positive attitudes toward STEM and to increase interest in STEM careers. Phase 1 of the project will include exploratory research examining science capital and habitus for a representative sample of youth at three age ranges: 8-9, 9-10 and 11-12 years. The project will measure the access that youth have to adults who engage in STEM careers and STEM leisure activities. In phase II the project will test a model with a control group and a treatment group to enhance science capital and habitus for youth.