This study explores the experiences that lead females to participate and succeed in STEM fields. The central research question of whether exposure to sustainability values during one’s childhood, educational, or professional settings broaden participation, increase retention, and/or create opportunities for contribution from females into STEM fields is investigated. The literature review examines historical perspectives of historically underrepresented groups in STEM, national demographic statistics, along with educational and social factors, which influence females in STEM. The intersectionality of African American females is highlighted as a unique group, which could benefit from more directed programming and further research. Mixed methods research and analyses applied in this study incorporates both quantitative and qualitative measures of assessment to better understand the relationship sustainability played in life experiences of females and how it influenced educational and professional outcomes. This study confirmed the body of research of best practices to increase diversity in the field. Additionally, since females have a greater social imperative associated with their career objectives, the inclusion of humanities and sustainability themes are measures, which can broaden participation in the STEM fields. Seeking to understand how affinity to nature affected these metrics, all participants understood and appreciated the correlation between nature and STEM. A curricular innovation model, STEAMS, is introduced to articulate a diverse transformative STEM pedagogy inclusive of liberal arts and sustainability themes. Exposure to sustainability education through the STEAMS curriculum model is presented as a means to broaden participation, increase retention, and create opportunities for females to contribute to the STEM fields.
|Commitee:||Cartwright, Kelly S., Marsteller, Pat, Hewitt, Cynthia|
|Department:||Education / Sustainability Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/9(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Sustainability, Science education, Womens studies, Curriculum development|
|Keywords:||Diversity, Retention, STEM fields, Female students, STEAMS|
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