Changemakers: Influences on Engagement in STEM Curricula Among Underrepresented Youth

Lily Konowitz, Terese Lund*, Brenna Lincoln, Madeline Reed, Belle Liang, Mike Barnett, David Blustein
2022 European Journal of Psychology and Educational Research  
<p style="text-align: justify;">Despite the desirability of working in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Black and Latinx people are underrepresented in these fields. Sustaining engagement in STEM is central to addressing the representation gap. This qualitative study examined whether and how a STEM-based after-school program (Changemakers) impacted students' sense of engagement in STEM. Changemakers incorporates the basic tenets of STEM engagement and a purpose curriculum to
more » ... crease students' sense of engagement. Purpose is an aspiration towards future-oriented goals, active engagement with one's goals, and intention to contribute to the world. The sample was composed of students, ages 15-17 years old (N=10, 5=M; 5=F), from a public, low-income high school. Findings suggested that three elements helped engage participants with STEM material: challenging and novel curriculum, experiential learning, and supportive relationships. These findings underscore additional STEM programs can enhance their student's learning and connection to the field by ensuring that their program encapsulates these identified components.</p>
doi:10.12973/ejper.5.2.103 fatcat:apjmhknbrndovdaykn6psjh7eq