STEM Career Clubs: Enhancing the Potential of Underrepresented Students in STEM Careers through a Strategic Teaming Model
STEM Career Clubs builds on a successful and research-based Strategic Teaming Model to increase the likelihood that participating students will pursue STEM majors and careers. The project is driven by three key objectives: 1) Facilitate students' and parents' identification with the STEM community by increasing their awareness of, interest in, and positive perceptions of STEM fields and careers; 2) Increase students' and teachers' STEM content knowledge and skills; and 3) Enhance the impact of the Strategic Teaming Model on leader, teacher, parent, & student perceptions of STEM Career Clubs innovation. STEM Career Clubs is a partnership between North Carolina State University's College of Sciences (The Science House), the Departments of Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) Education, and Curriculum, Instruction, & Counselor Education (CICE) in the College of Education, and four high poverty school districts in northeast North Carolina: Northampton, Vance, Nash-Rocky Mount and Warren Counties.
STEM Career Clubs will allow students to explore project-based learning activities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and entrepreneurship that will extend the curriculum taught in the classroom and build student competency in STEM workforce skills, tools, and technology. In the Strategic Teaming Model, school administrators and teacher-coaches will work in teams and will attend professional development to collaboratively develop plans to support and sustain the innovation of the STEM Career Clubs. University team members will engage Club student teams with STEM professionals, mentoring opportunities, and activities emphasizing STEM workforce-relevant experience. The researchers will employ a mixed-methods approach to address eight research questions, exploring whether student participation in STEM Career Clubs enhances student (1) awareness of, interest in, positive perceptions of, and identification with STEM careers; (2) learning in mathematics and science; and (3) enrollment in advanced courses. The project will contribute to fundamental research in STEM education by highlighting individual and joint effects of peers, parents, teachers, and university partners on students' motivation and performance in STEM areas, using potentially transformative social media component (i.e., Twitter), project-based learning, a residential university experience, and explicit career links. STEM Career Clubs will directly serve 120 or more student Club members and their parents, 24 STEM Teacher-Coaches, and 40 leadership personnel in 4 middle schools in 4 school districts, each academic year.