Asee peer logo

Engagement in Practice: Unlocking STEM as a Career Choice for Middle School Females in a Rural School District

Download Paper |

Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--28241

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28241

Download Count

186

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Nirmala Prakash Florida Atlantic University

visit author page

Nirmala Prakash (Ramlakhan), Ph.D.
Professional Preparation
University of Central Florida, Bachelor of Science in Biology B.S. 2002
University of Central Florida, Masters of Science in Health Science M.S. 2005
University of Central Florida, Doctorate in Science Education Ph.D. 2012

Appointments/Professional Experience
2015-present: Associate Research Professor of Clinical Biomedical Science: Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University
2014-present: Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion: Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University
2010-2012 Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Research: Workforce Central Florida/USDOL
2008-2010 Director or STEM and New and Emerging Industries Special Projects: Workforce Central Florida/USDOL
2007-2008 Education Special Project Manager: Workforce Central Florida/USDOL
2005-2007 Science Department Chairperson: Orange County Public Schools; Orlando Florida
2002-2007 Physics and Biology Teacher: Orange County Public Schools; Orlando Florida

Selected Publications
2013 American Society of Engineering Education. Dagley, M., Ramlakhan,N., Georgiopoulos, M., Young, C. “Establishing a Women’s Mentorship Network in a STEM Learning Community.”

Dieker, L., Grillo, K., & Ramlakhan, N. (2012). The use of virtual and simulated teaching and learning environments: Inviting gifted students into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers (STEM) through summer partnerships. Gifted Education International, 28(1), 96-106.

Ramlakhan, N., (2012). A comparative investigation of career readiness
and decidedness in first year STEM majoring students participating in a stem mentoring program imbedded in a living-learning community with focused data on female STEM students. (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database.

Selected Papers/Presentations
Conference paper & presentation: Ramlakhan, N., American Educational Research Association. “A comparative investigation of career readiness and decidedness in first year STEM majoring students participating in a stem mentoring program imbedded in a living-learning community with focused data on female STEM students.” 2014

Conference organizer, paper & presentation: Ramlakhan, N., National Science Foundation STEPWork Conference Organizer and Presenter: “Achieving STEM Sustainability through USDOL Partnerships” 2014

Conference paper & presentation: Association of Science Teachers Conference Paper: Ramlakhan, N., “Girls Excelling in Math and Science: Using STEM Mentorship to Increase Female Retention” (pilot data) 2011

Conference paper & presentation: National Science Foundation Conference Paper: Ramlakhan, N., “Sustainability and Institutionalization of Undergraduate Research Experiences” 2011

Conference paper & presentation: National Science Teachers Association National Conference. Ramlakhan, N.,“Using Industry Partnership to Increase STEM Initiative Success” 2010

Synergistic Activities
• Member(2012-present): National Science Teachers Association, Association of Science Teacher Educators, Florida Chamber, STEMflorida, Palm Beach STEM Council; Industry Advisory Council Member 2010-2013: Digital Media, STEM for Orange County Public Schools, Career and Technical Education and Seminole College
• Collaborative Projects (2007-2013) – Orange, Lake, Sumter, Seminole and Osceola County Public Schools, Lockheed Martin, Electronic Arts, Girl Scouts, Junior Achievement, Prism, Orlando Science Center, University of Central Florida, Valencia, Seminole and Lake Sumter Colleges
• Coordinator of Industry Expert Review Committee: 2008 Math Sunshine State Standards
• Member of the Strategic Planning Committee (2011-2012) - Florida Center for Research in Math and Science Education
• Medical Scholars Program (2014-present) – Florida A&M University, MCAT prep curriculum developer

Collaborators (11)

Andrew Daire University of Texas; Melissa Dagley, University of Central Florida; Lisa Dieker, University of Central Florida; Michael Georgiopoulos University of Central Florida; Kelly Grillo, University of Central Florida; Bobbi Jeanpierre, University of Central Florida; Leslie Hielema, Florida Institute of Technology; Nancy Romance, Florida Atlantic University; Julie Servoss, Florida Atlantic University; Michael Smith, Florida A&M University; Cynthia Young, University of Central Florida;

visit author page

biography

Rachel Tobillo Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University

visit author page

Rachel Tobillo is a 2nd year medical student at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Florida. She currently serves as the Health Careers Outreach Program (HCOP) Student Leader and as the Vice President of the Competency in Medical Spanish organization on campus. She is also the co-founder of a new initiative at FAU that aims to integrates the arts into medicine and patient care.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Engagement in Practice: Unlocking STEM as a Career Choice for Middle School Females in a Rural School District

ABSTRACT: The Girls Exploring Math and Science (GEMS) partnership is committed to removing STEM educational access barriers for middle school females. The partnership is comprised of researchers from a large urban university, two private foundations, a high-tech medical simulation center, and a rural school district. GEMS serves 150 diverse and economically disadvantaged female eighth grade students annually and aims to reduce dysfunctional career thinking in STEM and unlock STEM as a career choice. The goal of GEMS is to provide students with resources and tools so they can individually understand and plan: 1) STEM career and certification options in high school, 2) the path to college and the differences between technical and professional careers in STEM, and 3) entry and exit points on a STEM career ladder over their lifetime. The intervention lasted seven months and consisted of career exploration activities within science classrooms, a STEM career conference led by female executives, and experiential activities on the college campus. Career thinking constructs were assessed pre and post via two surveys. Preliminary data showed no significant change in students’ career indecision and a significant decrease in their career certainty. These findings, specifically the decrease in career certainty, may align with the goal of GEMS to generate female interest in a previously inaccessible, unknown, and unattainable STEM career. Lessons learned include the need for more individual mentorship to elucidate abstract details about job functions and lifestyles in STEM professions and the need to educate economically disadvantaged male students as well. Sparse research into STEM career thinking and preliminary findings from this intervention call for the need to implement STEM career development programs with support and tracking throughout high school. These interventions should not only spark interest in the sciences, but also impart a sense of self efficacy, motivation, and empowerment to females.

Prakash, N., & Tobillo, R. (2017, June), Engagement in Practice: Unlocking STEM as a Career Choice for Middle School Females in a Rural School District Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28241

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015