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MATT WHITTAKER

University of Utah

ASSisT: Alliance to Strengthen the STEM Tapestry

NSF Awards: 1649161

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12, Undergraduate, Adult learners, Informal / multi-age

Our project focuses on the STEM-disenfranchised--those individuals who feel alienated, marginalized, or incapable of participating in STEM. Our alliance of organizations across the Salt Lake Valley and beyond will work with individuals at the University of Utah to provide STEM engagement opportunities to three distinct cohorts--previously incarcerated youth, previously incarcerated adults, and refugee youth. Through a series of novel interventions, we are attempting to measure individuals' shift in science-identity and self-efficacy. Our interventions are 1) ecological restoration, which will connect participants with science in a hands-on way; 2) devised theater, which will provide participants the opportunity to create an original, unscripted theater piece as it pertains to their science identity; and 3) self narrative--the process of self-reflection as it relates to previously engagement (or lack there of) with the scientific enterprise, either through the other interventions, or in their personal past. It is through these interventions will aim to measure and evaluate if a transformation in one's self-identity as it relates to science will occur, and how these participant's "see themselves" before, during, and after engaging with these innovative approaches to STEM.

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