New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
A Summer STEM Camp for High School Female Students (Research-to-Practice, Strand 4)
U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey indicates that females are significantly underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) areas. Specifically, only 13 percent of engineers are women, and women constitute only a quarter of the workforce in computer and mathematical sciences. In order to address this deficiency, several universities had successfully initiated pilot programs for middle school and high school female students, such as “C-STEM Girl Camp” at University of California at Davis, “Programming4Girls” at Carnegie Mellon University, and “Robocamp” at University of North Texas.
In the summer of 2015, a Summer STEM Camp was organized at _____________ University with the objective of inspiring female high school students’ interest in STEM disciplines and encouraging them to choose STEM as their college major. Twenty-four (24) female high school students participated in the Summer STEM Camp. During the five-day camp, they learned about fundamental knowledge of science and engineering, were exposed to cutting-edge technologies, and conducted multiple mini-projects. The participating female high school students stayed on university campus during the Summer STEM Camp. They had extensive interactions with female college students, female professors, and female professionals (invited as guest speakers). They also met Ms. ______________ (President of _____________ University), Ms. ___________________ (Science Coordinator of Office of Secondary Learning, ___________ Department of Education), and Ms. _____________ (President of ____________ Inc, primary sponsor of the camp), who shared their personal stories about how females excel in STEM fields with the participants.
Contents and format of the Summer STEM Camp was particularly tailored for girl participants. For instance, after learning the biomechanics of human foot, the participating girls were asked to design a shoe that would be comfortable, practical, as well as fashionable. As another example, in the chemistry class, the girls made cosmetics for their own use. Moreover, parents were invited to attend a picnic and the girls’ presentations on the last day of the camp. A range of information related to STEM majors (such as job opportunities and availability of scholarships) was provided to the parents and the parents are expected to play a more constructive role when their daughters choose college majors.
Assessment was conducted primarily via a series of surveys before and after the camp, to the participating high school girls as well as their parents. Comparison between the pre-camp and post-camp survey data reveals increase in the participating girls’ interest in taking STEM as their college major. Our collected data reveals that only 26% of the parents are in STEM fields. Surveys collected after the camp reveal that the camp was well received by the participating girls and their parents. As an example, one girl said she had originally planned to attend a co-ed STEM Camp, but changed her mind when she heard about this camp for girls. “In engineering and science fields you’re always going to be outnumbered by guys, so I liked how it focused more on the impact that women can have and the job opportunities women have,” she commented.
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