Associate Dean and Professor Connie Flanagan has been awarded a $1.19M 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s ITEST (Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers) program. As the Principal Investigator for this project, “Strategies: Urban STEM Stewards: Expanding Career Interests through Citizen‐Science with Community Partners” Flanagan will assess the effectiveness of a community environmental science model in increasing interest in STEM learning and careers among middle- and high-school students from racial/ethnic minority groups who are underrepresented in STEM fields.
“We are thrilled to be documenting what students learn about STEM,” stated Flanagan. “Engaging with their teachers and community partners in improving the natural environments in their communities allows students to be responsive to the local
In the projects Flanagan and her colleagues will follow, students collaborate with teachers and STEM professionals, applying what they learn in science, math, and technology to address environmental issues in their local communities. The projects are unique in several ways. First, they focus on human impact on nature and natural resources in urban ecologies. Second, young people contribute to their communities by applying their learning to address an environmental problem. Finally, students partner with STEM professionals on an equal plane – as fellow citizens of urban communities.
Flanagan and her team will assess whether “doing STEM” in this way expands students’ beliefs in their capacities and interest in STEM career pathways. By linking students’ STEM learning with their civic contributions, the project offers a unique approach to STEM career pathways for students from groups who are underrepresented in STEM fields.
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