Date of Completion
STEM Identity, Informal Science Education, intergenerational Learning
Field of Study
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
The problem this research addresses is the lack of opportunities for many people to develop positive identification with STEM fields (i.e., science, technology, engineering and math). This multiple case study will investigate STEM identity authoring in three intergenerational collaborative learning partnerships in an informal STEM program. Adults and high school teens were paired in two-day workshops to learn conservation science and geospatial technologies with the goal of designing and implementing community conservation projects and further developing their identification with STEM. This research examined how the design and implementation of intergenerational projects provided opportunities for: (1) adults and teens to demonstrate competence in STEM knowledge and understandings, (2) adults and teens to participate in the performances of STEM practices, and (3) adults and teens to be recognized for their competence in knowledge and performances of STEM fields. The study also examined how underlying social structures (e.g., race, gender, age, socioeconomic status) may have promoted or inhibited identification with STEM. Qualitative methods were used throughout. Data consisted of field observations of intergenerational teams followed by separate semi-structured interviews with each participant. Artifacts such as presentation posters, online maps and websites, educational materials (e.g., pamphlets and booklets) email and forum posts were used as secondary data sources. Findings inform how formal and informal STEM education programs can foster positive identification with STEM fields and lead to increased participation in STEM pursuits throughout the lifespan.
Rodriguez, Laura, "STEM Identity Authoring: Intergenerational Collaborative Learning in Informal STEM Programs" (2020). Doctoral Dissertations. 2534.