June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Community Engagement Division
St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy (SEBA) is an after-school and Saturday program that leverages partnerships between engineering and education faculty to provide STEM experiences to fourth and fifth grade boys and their fathers/role models from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM. Studies show that students, especially from underrepresented groups, lose interest in STEM at an early age. SEBA attempts to counteract declining STEM interest by exposing participants to hands-on, inquiry-based STEM activities and educating them about STEM pioneers with a particular emphasis on professionals who are also from underrepresented groups such as the academy’s namesake, Dr. Brady, the first African American to earn a PhD in chemistry in the United States (1916). Informed by an Integrated STEM Education Framework, SEBA seeks to investigate the following research questions: 1: How are students’ interests in and motivation towards STEM impacted by participation in SEBA? 2: What characteristics of SEBA support underrepresented boys’ development of a positive disposition toward STEM careers? Program evaluation utilized a mixed-methods approach including focus groups and surveys. Lessons learned from preliminary data, collected from 24 participants, revealed that after just 1 year, 23 students (95.8%) were more interested in science, 91.7% reported that they were more confident in their science and math classes, and 87.5% indicated that they participated more in their science and math classes. Twenty-two students (91.7%) reported that they enjoyed and learned from having fathers involved with the program. SEBA provides a valuable service to underrepresented students in the community by supporting their STEM learning, and has been well received by parents and administrators alike. The success of this program hinges on its ability to bridge the gap between universities and the community. There are plans in place to grow the program in terms of participants and expanding to additional schools and cities.
Henderson, J. A., & Greer, R. P., & Summers, R. G., & Morphew, J. W. (2017, June), Engagement in Practice: Successes Gleaned from the St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28237
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