ASQ - Education Division

An Aviation-Themed STEPS Camp for Engaging 7th Grade Girls

Abstract: This conference paper is authored by Sara L. Maas, Charles R. Standridge and Paul D. Plotkowski of the Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at Grand Valley State University. It is part of the 2013 ASQ Advancing the STEM Agenda Conference.

The STEPS Camp for Girls at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is a four day introduction to science, technology, and engineering. The main objective of the camp is to increase the number of females, particularly those who are members of additional under-represented groups, entering the engineering profession through building self-esteem, confidence, and self-efficacy; increasing content knowledge and interest in engineering, science, and technology; and nurturing teamwork in each camper.

A 10-year tracking study on the impact of the camp showed that 47% of camp participants claim an interest in a science related career versus 18% of a comparable peer group. Most of the participants responded that STEPS showed them aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics which increased their interest in those fields. Furthermore, participants responded that STEPS helped narrow their focus on career options or introduced new career options.

Pre and post-tests showed improvement in content knowledge in aerodynamics, airplane parts and their functions, and process plans. The post camp student impressions survey, conducted one month after graduation, revealed that 20% of the campers learned something new about themselves. A parent impressions survey provided validation evidence that camp goals were met.

Keywords: STEM - Conference Proceedings - K-12 Outreach - Assessment/Surveys

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