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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Place-based consciousness and social transformation: Perspectives from Flagstaff, Arizona's STEM City
by Hunt, B. Joby, M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2015, 142; 1594170
Abstract (Summary)

Since WWII, the United States has experienced unprecedented economic growth and global expansion through the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Today, STEM technological innovations permeate many aspects of the social experience, from education to career to home-life, contributing to a pervasive technocratic ideology emphasizing global U.S. economic and political superiority. Many sectors of American society now tout STEM initiatives as a premium for U.S. education, contributing to the neoliberal model of producing effective, efficient, and skilled laborers. But, does STEM necessarily contribute to those social forces that routinely devalue the principles of a liberal, democratic educational ideal?

In 2014, I investigated new forms of collaboration between the commercial sector and education system in Flagstaff, AZ. The STEM City Center is a non-profit organization that seeks to bridge the gap between community and schools by identifying local assets and sponsoring integrated STEM experiences for students. Using STEM as a conceptual tool to support interdisciplinary approaches to education, participants of this project revealed the core values that motivate social transformation in a town that borders multiple ethnic and cultural realities recognized as under assault by increasingly globalized markets. STEM City's model emphasizes increased critical thinking, collaborative learning, creativity, and effective communication and supports an implicit goal of encouraging a critically engaged, politically aware, and socially conscious society.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vasquez, Miguel
Commitee: Hardy, Lisa J., Smiley, Francis E., IV
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 54/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Pedagogy, Social studies education, Science education
Keywords: Place-based consciousness, Radical pedagogy, STEM education
Publication Number: 1594170
ISBN: 978-1-321-90973-9
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