T9-D&BP1-4 - Impacting Teacher and Counselor Practices as They Support Traditionally Underrepresented Students to Pursue STEM Majors and Careers1. Innovative Practice Work In Progress
1 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
2 National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity
3 Loyola University Chicago
This Innovative Practice Work in Progress paper presents Catalyzing Inclusive STEM Experiences All Year Round (CISTEME365), a multi-year project funded by the National Science Foundation. We designed a networked community of middle/high school teachers, counselors, and administrators focused on improved understanding and promoting practices that increase students' motivations and capacities to pursue science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) careers. We also collaborated with them to implement out-of-school-time STEM clubs that provide engineering design, project-based, and other hands-on experiences to students throughout the school year. We investigated the experiences of K-12 students, educators, and administrators during a year-round engineering and technology-rich informal learning environment. Single-person interviews, focus groups, and surveys provided initial findings on how CISTEME365 programming influenced STEM content knowledge, career awareness, awareness of micro-messaging and equitable access, and persistence in STEM endeavors. School teachers, counselors, and administrators reported significant changes in their asset-based learning, self-efficacy knowledge, STEM career awareness, micro-messaging awareness, equitable access awareness, and culturally-responsive instruction. This study highlights the importance of establishing a networked community of school educators to better support and develop traditionally underrepresented students’ interest in STEM and, subsequently, improve the diversity of the technical workforce.