Strengthening the STEM Pipeline for Elementary School African Americans, Hispanics, and Girls by Scaling Up Summer Engineering Experiences
With the rapid growth of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs in the
United States, stakeholders are investing more resources to expand participation in these fields in terms of overall numbers as well as representation across demographics. Although there has been a steady stream of federal and corporate investments in STEM programs, reaching and engaging youth from underrepresented communities remains a challenge. Attempting to disrupt this trend, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is leveraging over ten years of experience to further develop and expand the nation-wide Summer Engineering Experiences for Kids (SEEK) program. In partnership with education researchers from Virginia Tech and Purdue University, NSBE aims to expand participation in SEEK using the research-to-practice cycle to identify and develop best practices moving forward. This paper summarizes preliminary results from the first year of the three-year project, Strengthening the STEM Pipeline for Elementary School African Americans, Hispanics, and Girls by Scaling Up Summer Engineering Experiences. Findings from this research suggest that over the course of the SEEK program students showed increases in their conceptual knowledge (i.e., math, science, and engineering) as well as their attitudes towards these disciplines and their overall perceptions of engineering, but there is certainly room for improvement from this baseline year as the research begins to inform practice.
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