1. Marilu Lopez Fretts
  2. Project Assistant
  4. Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  1. Makeda Cheatom
  2. http://www.worldbeatcenter.org
  3. Founder / Executive Director
  5. WorldBeat Cultural Center
  1. Karen Purcell
  2. http://celebrateurbanbirds.org/
  3. Project Director
  5. Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Examining Contextual Factors that Influence the Implementation of Projects De...

NSF Awards: 1422022, 1421788

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult learners, Informal / multi-age

Why have Informal Science Institutions not made significant advances in fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM?  Three years ago, 15 community leaders representing underserved communities throughout the U.S.A. set out to find some answers so we could better understand why implementing effective STEM programming in underserved communities remains fraught with challenges. We initiated community-based participatory research, using Grounded Theory approaches, and asked more than 30 community organizations to weigh in. We, as community researchers, participated in all phases of the research and collectively created a framework that highlights the following themes: 1) trust and transparency, 2) power and privilege, 3) commitment and collaboration, and 4) realities and relevance.

This work evolved from our NSF AISL grant project, Collaborative Research: Examining Contextual Factors that Influence the Implementation of Projects Designed to Improve Cultural Diversity in Informal STEM Programming. We call our group of community researchers “The ICBOs” (Independent Community-based Organizations). The ICBOs have collectively used our strengths and expertise to delve deeper and more meaningfully into community perspectives. We have led this exploration authentically and independently.
Sometimes research approaches themselves can be part of the problem when trying to understand equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM. For instance, even informed researchers may tend to use frameworks and literature that originate in the dominant culture to inform their research; ask questions that may not really get at the issues; and may leave underserved communities feeling as if they are being studied. These problems create an even greater sense of mistrust. Knowing this, the ICBOs wanted to lead research that would, instead, represent our communities’ perspectives.

In this video, the ICBOs discuss the preliminary results of our research.

Special thanks to the WorldBeat Center in San Diego, one of the community organizations leading this research, for producing our video.

For more information about our work visit: power30icbos.blogspot.com

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