The STEPS Difference
Abstract: The Science, Technology, Engineering Preview Summer Program(STEPS) at the University of Wisconsin-Stout is a one-week experience initiated in 1997 that will celebrate its 16th anniversary during the summer of 2012. The main purpose of STEPS is to introduce girls and young women to the excitement of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics related fields through manufacturing experiences. A fundamental component of that goal is to inspire them to select the appropriate math and science courses in middle and high school prepare for these majors and these careers. A project-based experiential learning curriculum is used for the program which focuses on the manufacture and assembly of a radio-controlled device. For the first ten years of the program it was a model airplane, and the last five years a model boat. To date, approximately 2,400 girls have participated in STEPS for Girls at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and the program has also been replicated at other institutions. Survey data from these STEPS participants and alumnae have revealed that the program has had a significant impact on their perception of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as their career pursuits. This paper will present the experiential learning curriculum and projects that have been developed, and proven successful, for use in this program.
Keywords: STEM - Women and Girls in STEM - Higher Education Brief