Women and Girls in STEM Cher C. Hendricks, Ph.D. Center for Education Integrating Science, Math, & Computing Georgia Institute of Technology A Presentation Prepared for the CoCoSTEM Kickoff November 28, 2012 Denver, Colorado
Source: Iowa Public Television Classroom Connection Website What do we know about girls and the STEM pipeline?
In elementary school, about an equal number of girls (66%) and boys (68%) have positive attitudes about science. Source: The Herald Sun (North Carolina) But even as early as 2nd grade, when kids are asked to draw a scientist, they almost always draw a white male in a lab coat. Source: Finson, Beaver, & Cramond, 1995.
By 8th grade, twice as many boys than girls are interested in a STEM-related career. And though about equal numbers of boys and girls take advanced high school math and science courses, fewer girls pursue STEM majors in college. Source: Villanova College of Engineering Website Women who do earn a STEM degree and go into a STEM career are twice as likely than men to leave their career.
Source: AAUW’s 2010 report: Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and mathematics.
Girls Competing at a VEX Robotics Competition. Source: The Indianapolis Star What influences girls to choose a STEM path?
Interest & Motivation Students who are interested in math or science in middle school are twice as likely to be interested in a STEM career while in college. The Gulfport Climate Changers Science Club. Source: The Nature Conservancy website. • Implications for • Working with Girls: • To increase girls’ interest & engagement, make a clear how STEM is used to solve real-world problems and provide opportunities for girls to engage in these types of activities. Students interested in both math and science during middle school are 3.5 times more likely to be interested in a STEM career.
Participation in Out-of-School STEM College students who participated in out-of-school science activities at least a few times per year prior to college were 1.5 times more likely to be interested in a STEM career. Source: Education Week College students who were interested in math and science in MS and participated in out-of-school activities were 7 times more likely to be interested in a STEM career. Implications: Provide opportunities for girls to engage in STEM clubs and competitions. Include activities from science, math, engineering, and computer science.
Success in Math and Science Students who have high math grades in middle school are more likely to be interested in a STEM career during college. Academic success in STEM and STEM self-efficacy are interdependent. High self-efficacy increases persistence in the face of challenges. • Implications: • Provide meaningful, challenging work in school-based STEM classes. • Set high, achievable goals for all students. • Supplement formal, school-based STEM with informal STEM activities. Source: Saints Robotics Team 1899 Website
Career Awareness Students at the middle and high school levels have limited knowledge about STEM careers or how to prepare for them. Source: eGfi website • Implications: • Beginning in middle school, teach students about STEM career options. • Connect STEM careers to students’ interests and demonstrate their relevance in society. • Advise students interested in STEM careers how to prepare academically. • Use role models and mentors to break STEM stereotypes. Girls, as well as boys, are more attracted to STEM careers when they clearly understand their relevance to society.
Identifying with a STEM Career Girls’ interest in STEM careers is related to how much they identify with STEM careers or see themselves as scientists, engineers, computer scientists, or mathematicians. • Implications: • Provide girls with relatable role models from STEM professions. • Connect the work of STEM professions with girls’ lives and goals.
Family Involvement and Support Girls are more likely to take STEM courses and pursue STEM fields if they are encouraged by their family. Career goals are influenced by cultural values and expectations. Girls who know people in STEM professions are more likely to be interested in STEM careers. • Implications: • Educate parents about STEM careers; focus on ways STEM careers connect to cultural values. • Educate parents about how to help their children prepare for college and/or their career. • Expose students and their parents to STEM professionals. Mother and daughter build a rocket at HESTEC Latina Day (UTEP). Source: University of Texas Pan American website.
Source: Go-STEM Facebook Page What I’ve learned in my work with girls and other underrepresented students.
Students, regardless of gender, do not have a clear picture of the STEM careers available to them. Near-age role models are more effective than older role models. Girls prefer helping careers, and often their parents prefer these kinds of careers for them. Parents are swayed by salaries, students are swayed by interest.
Particularly at the middle school level, kids aspire to be what they see in the media.
Sources Brickhouse, N.W., Lowery, P., & Schultz, K. (2000). What kind of girl does science? The construction of school science identities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(5), 441-458. Dabney, K.P., Hai, R.T., Almadore, J.T., Miller-Friedmann, G. S., Sadler, P.M., & Hazari, Z. (2011). Out-of-school time science activities and their association with career interest in STEM. International Journal of Science Education, Part B,1-17. DOI:10.1081/21548455.2011.629455 Dorsen, J., Carlson, B., & Goodyear, L. (2006). Connecting information STEM experiences to career choices: Identifying the pathway. Report prepared for the ITEST Learning Resource Center. Girl Scout Research Institute (2012). Generation STEM: What girls say about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. New York: Author. Hughes, R.M., & Molyneaux, K. (2011 April). Middle school students’ identity negotiations regarding science and engineering. Paper presented at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, . Kozoll, R.H., & Osborne, M.D. (2004). Finding meaning in science: Lifeworld, identity, and self. Science Education, 88(2), 157-181. National Science Board (2012). Science and engineering indicators 2012. Arlington VA: National Science Foundation (NSB 12-01). National Science Foundation (2007). Back to school: 5 myths about girls and science. Press Release 07-108. Available online at http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=109939. Tai, R., Liu, C., Maltese, A.V., & Fan, X. (2006). Planning early for careers in science. Science, 312, 1143-1144.