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Enhancing Knowledge, Interest, and Self-Efficacy in STEM Through a Summer STEM Exploration Program

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Evaluation: Exploring the Impact of Summer Programs on K-12 Youth.

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.660.1 - 26.660.15



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Paper Authors


Christine Burwell-Woo Cañada College

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Chris Burwell-Woo joined The STEM Center at Cañada College in 2011 after 30 years in industry primarily focused in the area of program and client services management. She currently serves as the Program Coordinator for Math Jam a one-week intensive Math placement/course preparation program and the STEM Institute a summer STEM exploration program for high school students; in addition to her activities as a Retention Specialist in The STEM Center at Cañada College. Prior to her role with Math Jam and the STEM Institute Chris worked on a Veterans Employment Assistance Program grant connecting student veteran engineering majors with campus resources and provided student support for the campus MESA (Math, Science, Engineering Achievement) Program.

In addition to her work at Cañada College, Chris actively supports local education having acted as a board member for the Healthy Cities Tutoring Program, San Carlos Education Foundation, Sequoia High School Education Foundation, and the Sequoia High School AVID Advisory Committee.

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Ray Lapuz Canada College

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Ray Lapuz has been teaching math for 20 years. He coordinated the math department of the Academic Excellence Honors Program, a program for underrepresented students in the sciences at UC Santa Cruz. He also developed math curriculum and taught in the UCSC Summer Bridge through the Educational Opportunity Program for 5 years. In 2000, he began working at Cañada College as a math instructor and MESA Co-coordinator. He eventually transitioned into a full-time faculty position and has been involved in many academic initiatives such as Student Learning Outcomes, Basic Skills, Ethnic Studies Committee, Honors Program, and the Curriculum Committee. Most recently, he developed curriculum for a new Path to Statistics course designed to accelerate the math sequence for non-STEM majors. Additionally he serves as faculty advisor for the Cañada College robotics team and has also been instrumental in developing and designing ePortfolios for Cañada College students to help with their self-efficacy in STEM. One of the founding math faculty of the award-winning Cañada College Math Jam program, Ray has participated in Math Jam since its inception in 2009, and has taken a lead role in the development of upper level math curriculum for students pursuing STEM courses and majors. For the last 2 years Ray has taught the math module in the Summer STEM Institute program creating hands-on experiential math curriculum for high school students.

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Tracy Huang Cañada College

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Tracy Huang is an educational researcher in STEM at Cañada College. Her research interests include understanding how students become involved, stayed involved, and complete their major in engineering and STEM majors in general, particularly for students in underrepresented populations.

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Nicholas Langhoff Canada College

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Nick Rentsch is an adjunct professor of physics, engineering, and computer science at Cañada College, Skyline College, and San Francisco State University. He received his M.S. degree from San Francisco State University in embedded electrical engineering and computer systems. His educational research interests include technology-enhanced instruction and the development of novel instructional equipment and curricula for enhancing academic success in science and engineering.

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Enhancing Knowledge, Interest and Self-Efficacy in STEM through a Summer STEM Exploration ProgramMany researchers believe that career interests and career plans start developing as early asmiddle school. However, high school students often passively eliminate technical career optionswith course choices that do not meet the needs of a STEM academic path. Consequently,providing career exploration programs in the last two years of high school is often too late togive students time to adequately prepare for further study in STEM fields, which may potentiallyresult in depleting the ranks of future STEM majors especially in underrepresented populations.Researchers further believe that fostering an early interest in STEM, supporting student successand confidence in STEM, and providing an improved understanding of STEM career paths willencourage students to pursue STEM careers at a time when they can still make academic choicesthat will enhance their potential for future success.In an effort to increase subject matter knowledge, interest and self-efficacy in STEM, a federallydesignated Hispanic-serving community college in the San Francisco Bay Area developed theSTEM Institute, a three-week program for current high school freshmen and sophomoresinterested in exploring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The programintroduces STEM through experiential learning using hands-on/real-world projects,classroom/lab instruction, speakers, on-campus field trips and workshops in five STEM fields ofstudy.This paper describes the evolution of the STEM Institute, including challenges encountered andthe strategies employed to overcome those challenges. It also examines the effect that theprogram had on student interest and self-efficacy in STEM, employing non-parametric statisticaltests to compare repeated measurements of student interest and self-efficacy. Program impact onthe subject matter knowledge of student participants is also discussed. The paper furtherhighlights best practices that have been developed at the STEM Institute host college to assistother institutions in developing a similar program to increase subject matter knowledge as wellas interest and self-efficacy in STEM.

Burwell-Woo, C., & Lapuz, R., & Huang, T., & Langhoff, N. (2015, June), Enhancing Knowledge, Interest, and Self-Efficacy in STEM Through a Summer STEM Exploration Program Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23998

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