Explanation Illustration Intervention
General Middle School High School Undergraduate
Attitude about gender roles are widely thought to deter college-age women from pursuing STEM courses, majors, and subsequent careers paths. Researchers aim to challenge such attitudes through a “whole community” approach. They shape awareness, attitudes, and knowledge about gender issues in STEM before and during students’ freshman year by getting students, their parents, student advisors, and faculty advisors, and faculty involved. Activities take place in three overlapping spheres: families, peers, and university courses and programs. In the family context, as part of the two-day summer orientation sessions for all incoming freshmen and their parents, they host an orientation session with students and parents that addresses the importance of STEM education to all students, regardless of career plans. Undergraduate advisors also participate in a workshop. In the peer context, they form learning communities that nurture freshman women’s interest in STEM. Each learning community consists of up to 30 students (men and women), their instructor, a minimum of six STEM professionals on or off campus who serve as role models, and a student leader (a university junior or senior in one of the STEM fields) to help students see the applicability of STEM knowledge in a wide variety of fields and occupations.
CHANGING COLLEGE FRESHMEN’S ATTITUDES TOWARD WOMEN IN STEM
GRADE LEVEL: UNDERGRADUATE