Females Excelling more in math, engineering, and science (femmes): An after-school STEM program for girls that FOSTERS hands-on learning and Female-to-Female mentorship
The gender disparities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields can be improved through the use of outreach programs. As early as middle school, girls begin to lose interest in science and math, reducing the likelihood of ever pursuing a career path in STEM fields. To address this problem, we developed an after-school outreach curriculum as part of the Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science (FEMMES) program at Duke University [see companion paper in this issue (Shuen et al., J. Women Minor. Sci. Eng., vol. 17, no. 4, p. 295-313, 2011)]. The goal of the FEMMES after-school program is to inspire 4th-6th grade girls in science, math, and engineering through hands-on activities with female undergraduate and graduate student volunteers. We examined the interest, knowledge, and confidence in STEM fields measured through pre- and post-test surveys given to 100 girls who participated in the FEMMES after-school program. A mixed ANOVA (analysis of variance between groups) revealed a significant increase in the girls' interest in science and engineering, knowledge in science, and confidence in math and science. Students (almost unanimously) gave high ratings to the seven STEM activities included in the after-school program. Although the study was small, the results are encouraging and we continue to assess the impact of this engaging program. © 2011 by Begell House, Inc.
Chen, C-FJ; Jiang, A; Litkowski, E; Elia, AR; Shuen, JA; Xu, K; Bonhivert, A; Hsu-Kim, H; Schwartz-Bloom, RD
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