The under-representation of minority females from low-income families in STEM-related educational programs is well documented. Many educators believe this problem begins at an early age and that disenfranchised students are not afforded the same educational opportunities as students from other demographic backgrounds. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the development and implementation of a series of STEM-focused after-school workshops at an inner-city Title 1 middle school.
Educators, politicians and industry professionals note that the number of opportunities for workers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields grow exponentially over time. Accordingly, emphasis is placed on our schools to produce graduates capable of filling these positions. While these efforts are promising, there is a notable absence of females and minorities in the STEM professions. In an attempt to understand the reasons for this disparity, many educators believe a lack of interest in the STEM field begins at an early age, and disenfranchised students are not afforded the opportunities given to students in more affluent areas of a school district, city or state. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the development and implementation of a series of STEM-focused after-school workshops at a Title 1 middle school in West Palm Beach, Florida. These workshops will be presented in conjunction with STEM professionals from the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, faculty from Nova Southeastern University’s College of Nursing and College of Engineering and Computing, local businesses and industry. Sixth-grade female students, primarily from an ethnic minority, low socio-economic background, will be recruited for these workshops, with their STEM awareness, interest, and knowledge tracked over the entirety of a school year. An evaluation of the program, after the first year, can be used to inform the modification and expansion of similar programs to other schools within the district. An increase in STEM awareness, interest and knowledge can contribute to a higher quality of life by opening educational and occupational opportunities previously unknown or misunderstood by the workshop participants, their families and communities.
Steven R Terrell, Deirdre Krause and Bruce Campbell. "Developing an After-School Program to Increase STEM Interest, Awareness and Knowledge of Young Hispanic Females in a Title I Middle School" (2018)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/steven-terrell/27/