Self-efficacy and science identify of second grade girls in STEM club
Shaw, Kathryn Elisa
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Second grade girls were invited to participate in an after-school STEM club. These students were identified because they would benefit from a STEM program, by both their teacher and our STEAM teacher. Girls in STEM fields are severely lacking in today's job market, and many programs target girls who are in upper elementary or middle school. This program was designed to catch girls at a younger age and give them exposure to science-based fields, so that positive experiences with science could keep them engaged throughout their elementary science career. This STEM club was jobs-based (and included jobs such as microbiologist, coder, aerospace engineer, forensic scientist, and geologist) and included mentors. Mentors were women, chosen from the community who had a specific interest in that science topic. Girls met the mentors and asked them about their jobs, hobbies, and goals. Girls came for one hour after school, two times a week. Girls were asked to be present for most, if not all, the STEM club dates. Students were assessed on their feelings of science identify and self-efficacy twice, once before the program began and once after the program had ended. These girls' scores were then compared to one another as well as the whole of second grade (both boys and girls), to determine importance. Girls in the STEM club were more likely to think of themselves as scientists, more likely to love science, more likely to have a belief that they can do any science and were more likely to believe that science came easy to them. Girls in the STEM club were also more likely to be familiar with science jobs and what they were more likely to believe that both boys and girls were good at science, or even that girls were better than boys at science. The girls in the STEM club were equally likely to want to be a scientist when they grew up as other second grade students.