June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Women in Engineering
13.488.1 - 13.488.13
Empowering Girls: Measuring the Impact of Science Technology and Engineering Preview Summer Camps (STEPS) Abstract
STEPS camps were designed to address the critical shortage of women in science, mathematics, and engineering related careers by providing girls with positive exposure to the exciting opportunities in these fields. Through a variety of workshops, lessons, and hands on activities, the girls gain a better understanding of many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related concepts, culminating with the construction and flight of their own remote controlled aircraft. While influencing long term educational goals is a primary focus of the STEPS camps, the experiences and activities are also designed to promote self esteem, self confidence, and demonstrate the benefits of teamwork and collaboration. Based upon this positive message, Grand Valley State University began offering STEPS camps in the summer of 2002, and the popularity has ensured full capacity participation every year thereafter.
Pre and post assessments measuring content knowledge, self efficacy about success in mathematics and science, and the likelihood of pursuing STEM related fields are used to evaluate the camps yearly. Results indicate that increase in content knowledge among girls in the 2007 program increased from 10.5% to 71% with an average of 41 % from pre-post results. The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Community Research Institute (CRI) at Grand Valley State University is tracking the long term educational choices of girls from the first three years using follow up assessments in 10th and 12th grades, and two years after graduation. Results from the first year are encouraging, with 65% of the participants demonstrating an interest in studying more science, mathematics and technology, and an impressive 50% intending to major in a STEM related field. A limitation of our work is that these students may have pre-selected themselves which may skew our data.
This paper presents preliminary findings which include the campers’ perspectives on women working in STEM fields and their own success and interest in pursuing a STEM career. Our initial results suggest the STEPS camps show promise in addressing this critical national shortage crisis. A National Dilemma
For the past 50 years, the United States of America has made monumental contributions in science and mathematics achievements, but today, workforce issues are challenging America’s manufacturing industry. Employment in traditional manufacturing goods sectors will decline overall by 1.5 million jobs, which is half of the 3 million manufacturing jobs lost in the previous decade (1996-2006).1 Industries with the largest projected wage and salary employment declines are in the traditional manufacturing sector.
Plotkowski, P., & Sheline, M. A., & Dill, M., & Noble, J. (2008, June), Empowering Girls: Measuring The Impact Of Science Technology And Engineering Preview Summer Camps (Steps) Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3567
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