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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

Increasing the Confidence of Student Scientists Through Academic Interventions at Minority-Serving Institutions

Abstract

According to the U. S. Department of Education, there will be a need for 1 million more STEM professionals by 2022 (2016). Science and engineering careers, therefore, are jeopardized by the this threat of fewer prepared adolescents in the United States STEM workforce (NSB, 2003). Studies have shown that interest in science and later confidence as a scientist declines from Elementary to adolescence (Valenti, Masnick, Cox, & Osman, 2016). The literature references common themes related to motivation become a scientist and their overall confidence as a scientist. These themes include: 1) authentic and meaningful educational experiences/activities, 2) mentorship from professional scientist (someone other than the traditional classroom teacher), representation (as it relates to girls and underrepresented students in the STEM field) and 3) hands-on activities. The current paper investigates how academic interventions contribute to adolescents’ interest in STEM and confidence as a scientist. We collected Fall 2018 survey data from undergraduate students (n=1500) across 11 minority-serving colleges & universities to understand their interest, identity, and confidence in STEM. Quantitative findings will be reported. The preliminary results of this study reveal academic interventions should include hands on activities where students are partnered with a science professional from the field. There is evidence that strategic scientific mentorship promotes confidence as a scientist. Therefore, future studies will consider partnering students with a role-model in STEM

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