Rural Girls Engaged in Math and Science Plus Technology
One hundred twenty junior and senior high school girls from three Mississippi rural counties will participate in a summer apprenticeship program and other activities to increase their awareness about STEM and computer science educational/career pathways.
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 Hinds Community College project will involve junior and senior high school girls from four high schools from three Mississippi rural counties--Copiah, Claiborne, and Hinds--to participate in a summer apprenticeship program and other activities to increase their awareness about STEM and academic preparedness for a pathway to STEM related careers. The program will last three years and will engage up to 120 rising high school junior and senior female students intensively and introduce up to 300 female students to STEM education and careers. During the three year grant period, the project will implement the following activities: a four-week summer apprenticeship with a near-peer mentoring program; host an annual STEM Girls Rock Convocation; offer Spring Break STEM Tours for apprentices, their parents/caregivers and mentors, and Hinds Community College STEM instructors; offer after-school and Saturday science fair project assistance; and collaborate with the Shodor Foundation, a nonprofit research and education organization and a national resource for computational science education, to offer workshops for high school teachers, counselors and administrators.
The primary focus of the proposed project is to grow the pipeline of female students who are aware of STEM and computer science educational pathways and career opportunities. The goals of the project are to: 1) Provide evidence of engaging minority females in hands-on experiences in STEM-related technologies and practices; 2) Document evidence of advancing knowledge on how best to prepare minority females for STEM-related occupations; and 3) Build and expand the research foundation on STEM learning and learning environments, workforce development, and broadening participation in STEM. The project includes an infrastructure mechanism for teachers and administrators within the high school to support students by providing them opportunities to build their academic skills while participating in the project. A concurrent mixed methods research design will be used that combines quantitative and qualitative approaches to assess the latent variables.