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Understanding Context to Influence Women with Disabilities to Consider STEM Careers via Targeted Radio Programs. Action Research & Associates, Inc. Kris Juffer, Ph.D. “Access to Advancement” was developed by WAMC Northeast Public Radio under a grant from the

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    1. Understanding Context to Influence Women with Disabilities to Consider STEM Careers via Targeted Radio Programs Action Research & Associates, Inc. Kris Juffer, Ph.D. “Access to Advancement” was developed by WAMC Northeast Public Radio under a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Research on Disability Education (HRD-0833247).

    2. Access to Advancement (A2A) • NSF-RDE - Division of Research in Disabilities Education • WAMC Northeast Public Radio (NPR) • Access to Advancement - • 10 radio segments • 5 embedded in “The Best of Our Knowledge” • 5 in “51%” • Action Research & Associates, Inc.-Independent Evaluator

    3. Access to Advancement:Issues Addressed Talented women with disabilities need to be encouraged to enter the STEM field. Historically, the media's treatment of disability issues and individuals with disabilities has been strongly criticized by the disability community and others for its perpetuation of negative stereotypes.

    4. Purpose-A2A Radio Programs Effectively reach • Women with Disabilities (WWDs) • Gatekeepers: Parents, Educators, Counselors, Scientists, Employers • General Public • To disseminate key information • To support talented WWDs considering pursuing and entering STEM careers

    5. Broadcaster:WAMC Northeast Public Radio • 7 New England/Mid Atlantic states-21 freqs • 58 yrs - Producer of public-radio style prgrmg • 500+ radio stations nationwide, • on the Internet via audio on-demand • 177 countries via Armed Forces Radio • 6 NSF grants–2001-2009 - 5-GSE, 1-RDE • Awards - Gracie Awards-AWRT Foundation

    6. Original Context: WAMC-Public Radio Broadcasting • Highly skilled producers, writers, on-air • Informative, relevant, creative • Producing news/info stories • General audience • Previous 5 NSF grants - women in science • Not targeted to WWDs specifically • Broadcasting - 1-way communication

    7. WAMC  Programming  WWDs Usual Broadcasting Context 1-Way Communication

    8. NSF RDE GrantChanged Broadcasting Context NSF RDE Grant Funding Requirements Introduced • Focus on WWDs in STEM • A2A Advisory Committee • Independent Evaluator • NSF & Federal Program Evaluator • Media & Audience Research • WAMC added Disability & Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC) -Trainer/Consultant • Change Agents

    9. Change Agent 1: A2A Advisory Committee • No Advisory Committee-previous NSF projects • 10 Members–STEM, Education, Disabilities • M/F - with/without Disabilities • Scientists, Professors, Minority/Disability Advocates • Links-WWD community, programs, resources

    10. Change Agent 2:Disability & Business Training & Assistance Center (DBTAC) Disability Awareness Training/consultations • Invaluable resource • Helped eliminate stereotypes, inaccuracies • Raised comfort level-navigating relationships • Program - Balanced, accurate image of people with disabilities to national audiences • Evaluator - gather program evaluation data

    11. Examples - Courtesies • Visual • Don’t pet working dog/pet • Identify self first when speaking • When referring to graphic or physical object, provide short oral description before talking about it • Hearing • Talk directly to individual, not assistant or interpreter

    12. Change Agent 3:Program Evaluation Process Evaluator Proposed: • A2A Program Logic Model • Focus on Outcomes of their program • Formative – Focus Groups • Summative- A2A’s impact on WWDs • Surveys • Case studies – Control and Treatment

    13. Participants’ Interactive Context

    14. Implications of Responding to Contextual Factors To achieve goal- Effective radio programming To change WWDs’ interest in STEMfield We first had to change ourselves

    15. Context #1: Evaluation Design • Worked within WAMC’s media context • NSF’s education/program goals – increase STEM pool • Changed Evaluation Design • Multi-Theory • Communication Theory • Social Change Model • A2A Program Evaluation Logic Model – focused on Program’s Outcomes

    16. Multiple Theories:Communication TheoryIterative 2-Way Communication

    17. Multiple Theories:Social Change Model

    18. Multiple Theories:A2A Project Logic Model Inputs Intervention  Outputs Outcomes/Impacts

    19. Context #2Broadcast Staff Context • Audience research-historical concerns • Focus groups • Ultimately accepted/added to quality: • Provided direction to optimize • Structure • Content • Sequence • Built confidence • Assured positive impact and outcomes

    20. Context #3WWDs’ Context:Influenced Program Content & Design • DBTAC Training • FGs with WWDs • Findings–Verbatim Evidence – Recommendations • A2A Broadcast Team – very responsive • Changed both programs • Recs – addressed in Annual Report

    21. Context and Changes FGs on stories revealed A2A was • “Attention-getting, informative, enjoyable, inspiring” • Encouraged WWDs’ interest in STEM careers • Effective in interesting educators, counselors, parents

    22. Context #4Psychological Needs • WWDs’ Context – “Discouraged” • Needed to address psychological needs • Only I can put limits on myself. • I earned my degree and I deserve to be here. • Build self-confidence • Effective self-advocacy • Provide powerful WWD role models • Human interest stories

    23. Context #5Human interest • Universal audience appeal + WWDs’ interests • Used a “layered approach” to build “picture”

    24. Context #5Human interest • “Person First Approach” • Introduced personal aspects first • Personal interests–Ex: • Sports/Activities • Charity work • Career • Problem-solving • Disability a side issue

    25. Context #5Human interest • “I’d have to remind myself that she couldn’t see! She doesn’t let anything stand in her way!” • Not typical story format on TV/radio

    26. Context #6Informative Intros Ineffective • Written vs. Audio formats–different contexts! • Written Script – Intro re: STEM program • Audio – Nothing recalled • Audience recalled facts only after interviewee began to talk for herself • Audience needed a mental “picture“ of interviewee to start building a framework to understand programs and assistive devices, etc.

    27. Context #7Mentors • Lay public-confused different types-“mentors” • Lacked understanding of importance of professional scientist mentor vs. other mentors • Advisory Committee & experienced evaluator understood importance • A2A Team reworked issue • Made into an on-going program theme • Much clearer

    28. Lessons Learned • MANY interesting compelling stories about • WWDs’ STEM achievement • Opportunities in STEM

    29. Lessons Learned • Emerging issue: High school counselors appear to be frequently redirecting WWDs away from STEM careers • Emerging issue: Interesting relationship between gender vs. disability self-identities – changes with age

    30. Thank you! Kris Juffer, Ph.D. Action Research & Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 494 Ellicott City, MD 21041-0494 410-465-1299 drkjuffer@actionresearchinc.com