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Examining high school students’ scientific identity and interest in stem careers after participating in an afterschool bioscience course

Rains, Stephanie Lauren (2018) Examining high school students’ scientific identity and interest in stem careers after participating in an afterschool bioscience course. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Identity and self-efficacy play a role in understanding how students commit to entering science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. Since there is such a small percentage of underrepresented students in STEM fields, a shift needs to occur in order to encourage and motivate underrepresented students to commit to STEM. The purpose of this study was to observe two male students from differing cultural backgrounds in a bioscience class, and how their scientific identity and self-efficacy determined career goals. Through non-traditional classrooms such as project-based learning (PBL) classes, students are able to gain a better understanding of science. PBL classes, such as the bioscience class these students participated in, immerse students in research, foster relationships with professionals and peers, and provide a community to students that cannot be given elsewhere. As a result, the Caucasian student, with a strong STEM background and interest in going into a STEM field, displayed little to no further formation of scientific identity. The Native American student, however, entered the class interested in a STEM field, yet was given the opportunity to experience and observe a variety of STEM fields, forming a scientific identity, therefore causing him to pursue more STEM opportunities and fields. Because of the rigorous, student-centered environment this bioscience class provides, along with the community partnerships and mentorships, helps students develop a positive STEM identity and increased STEM self-efficacy, which motivates students to pursue STEM related fields.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Community partnerships; Identity; Project-based learning; Self-efficacy; STEM; Underrepresented
Subjects: Q Science > QK Botany
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences > Center for Science Teaching and Learning
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2021 17:31
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5473

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