Project Profile

A Government-University-Industry Partnership and STEM CareerBuilder for the R&D of an Innovative Computer Forensics Program & an Education-Career Pathway for Girls


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). The University of Central Oklahoma Strategies project ("STEM CareerBuilder") will engage with government, business, industry, and community partners to design, develop, implement, and evaluate an innovative summer program training girls in Computer Forensics (CF). The project aims to benefit society through the contributions to the future STEM workforce by better preparing today's digital learners with collaborative partnerships, innovative learning tools, career exploration opportunities, skill-acquisition venues, and education-workforce-development models. The project broadens the STEM participation by underserved population through strategic recruitment to target girls in Oklahoma where the highest representation of Native American tribes reside. Partnering with EPSCoR and TRiO-participating high schools will allow the project team to address the needs of girls from low-performing schools, low-income families, and underrepresented ethnic/racial groups.

The goal is to discover what strategic partnerships and innovative interventions can effectively interest, motivate, and support female high school juniors and seniors to pursue STEM degrees and careers. The objectives include implementing interventions, measuring learner outcomes, and assessing results. The project team will collaborate with IBM, the FBI, the Forensics Science Institute, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, technology centers, and women-owned businesses to support the CF Program. The CF Program will consist of a summer academy, job shadowing, mentoring, internships, and research fellowships. This project aims to contribute new knowledge to ITEST's comprehensive workforce model by extending STEM learning in simulated and virtual environments. As the learning space and workplace of the future evolve around emerging technologies, examining how girls learn, work, and solve problems via immersive human-computer simulation and information communication technology will offer insights on how to encourage STEM participation with innovative research that establish the efficacy of the interventions. Project findings will deepen the understanding of: (1) the role of business, government, and industry professionals in promoting student awareness of job opportunities and motivating students to pursue the STEM education career pathway; (2) effective ways to broaden STEM participation by recruiting and engaging girls in STEM programs and career-exploration; (3) engaging girls in STEM interventions with age-appropriate curriculum and multi-faceted support; and 4) cohesive sets of experiential learning experiences in the workplace that effectively and efficiently support skills development.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.


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Award Number
Project Duration
2018 - 2022
Project Work State
Target Gradespan(s)
High school (9-12)
Project Setting(s)
Informal Education
Geographic Location(s)
Project Status
Additional Disciplines
Bioscience - biotechnology
Additional Target Participants
Students eligible for Free/reduced price lunch
American Indian or Alaskan Native
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander