1. Rita Karl
  2. http://national.tpt.org/about/who-we-are/
  3. Managing Director of STEM Media & Education
  5. Twin Cities Public Television
  1. Leah Defenbaugh
  2. SciGirls Outreach Manager
  4. Twin Cities Public Television

SciGirls Strategies

NSF Awards: 1513060

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Informal / multi-age

SciGirls Strategies: Gender Equitable Teaching Practices in Career and Technical Education Pathways for High School Girls empowers career and technical education (CTE) educators and guidance counselors to recruit and retain girls in non-traditionally female CTE/STEM studies and careers. The project acknowledges common barriers girls face when pursuing STEM pathways, including limited exposure to female STEM role models; stereotypes about girls’ lack of STEM ability and about STEM fields being “unfeminine;” girls’ low self-esteem around STEM abilities; lack of knowledge and/or misunderstanding of STEM fields; and a disproportionate number of male students and educators in CTE. Minority girls face the additional barrier of limited exposure to STEM role models who look like them. This lack makes it difficult for diverse learners to identify with STEM fields, even if they do well in and enjoy STEM studies. To address these obstacles, TPT produced a short-course for CTE/STEM educators and a series of video profiles featuring diverse female professional role models. Research shows that connecting girls to female role models encourages them develop STEM interest, and helps to dismantle the stereotype that STEM professionals are typically male, white and middle-class. This is particularly critical when some STEM fields (such as physics, mechanical and computer engineering) attract significantly more men than women, adding to the broader socio-historical perception of STEM fields as predominantly masculine. SciGirls Strategies videos work to change this narrative, lifting up the research indicating that role models improve students’ STEM identity by increasing attitude change, interest, and self-efficacy in STEM fields.


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