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Outreach Programs and Science Career Intentions (OPSCI)

Outreach Programs and Science Career Intentions (OPSCI)

With increased public concern over the economic impact of unfilled STEM job openings this three-year STEP Type 2 research project focuses on the impact of pre-college outreach activities undertaken by STEP programs on students' intent to pursue a STEM career. Using epidemiological-type methods, this retrospective cohort study examines the extent to which activities that target first-year students influence career aspirations. Activities under examination include STEP-supported science clubs, bridge programs, supplemental instruction, tutoring, internships, engineering competitions, and high school visits from students and faculty in STEM. This effort brings together researchers and practitioners in an effort to increase the use of research-based evidence in the implementation of effective practices focused on the transition from secondary to post-secondary education. The study examines factors that pre-dispose students to STEM with an emphasis on underrepresented minorities and young women. Controlling for background variables, SES, careers of parents and other adults familiar to students, standardized exam scores, and high school course-taking and grades, as well as self-reported career intentions at three earlier times (middle school, start of high school, end of high school) allows for the construction of predictive models that isolate the effects of pre-college STEP program exposure. Drawing on epidemiological-type methods to enable strong conclusions, the study includes students interested in STEM careers and those who are not. Findings from the study provide baseline information on students' interest in STEM at entrance to college and build a foundation for addressing issues associated with students' interest in and leaving STEM during their undergraduate studies.

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  • Status


  • Institution Type

    Doctoral Universities - Highest research activity

  • Full Name

    Outreach Programs and Science Career Intentions (OPSCI)

  • Award Number


  • Official Award Organization

    Harvard University

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