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Ninth-grade biology students create cell models using clay.

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Broadening Participation in STEM Broadening Participation in STEM

Pipelines to Pathways: Humanizing Diversity in STEM Conference 2022

Effective Years: 2022-2023

Pipelines to Pathways: Humanizing Diversity in STEM, is proposed to improve mentorship and training in emerging research designed to improve STEM student outcomes, particularly for those students coming from underserved and underrepresented populations in STEM. This two-day workshop is designed to attract STEM faculty, both K-12 and post-secondary, and research scholars in STEM teaching and student learning to present and learn about evidence-based practices and methodology design to implement and effectively evaluate research driven STEM education practices. Following the workshop, further evaluation of what will be learned and subsequently implemented, including identifying organizational barriers to change, will be obtained through surveys of conference participants. Materials shared during the workshop will be made publicly available for use.

The workshop, Pipelines to Pathways: Humanizing Diversity in STEM, will have an Implementation, Research, and Evaluation focus designed specifically at improving the educational pathway of students currently underserved and underrepresented in STEM. Implementation sessions will focus on theoretically driven, classroom-based practices geared toward humanization of broadening participation in STEM, and mentorship practices designed to address socio-emotional development as a means towards broadening participation. Research sessions will include emerging theoretical and philosophical work that has potential to yield the formation of evidenced-based/research-based practices for broadening participation in STEM. Evaluation sessions will involve the examination of the current state of evaluation and what needs to be directly addressed to move forward with sustainable changes. Pipeline to Pathways will have subtopics in the following major areas: (1) Theory Driven Mentoring Practices, (2) Identifying and Mitigating Bias, (3) Evidenced-Based Models for Broadening Participation in STEM education, (4) Humanizing Research Methods (qualitative, intersectionality approaches, etc.), and (5) Assessment/Evaluation innovation for broadening participation in STEM. Through these efforts, the project hopes to shift the thinking associated within the use of commoditized language specific to STEM broadening participation efforts, and in doing so, shift how individual scholars and their institutions approach this topic. The commoditization of students limits the STEM field’s ability to humanize the student experience which inadvertently creates barriers to effective mentorship adoption, treating students as metrics/numbers, potentially impeding authentic meaningful inclusivity into STEM disciplines. A new language can contribute to students being able to actualize and enhance their professional future “sense of self.” This conference has the potential to contribute to new knowledge in stimulating conversations from an interdisciplinary approach to STEM education issues related to broadening participation by actively training individuals in humanization techniques—cultural competence, cultural awareness, mentorship effectiveness, and methodology that better aligns with such practices.

This project is supported by NSF's EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field. Investments are made in critical areas that are essential, broad and enduring: STEM learning and STEM learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development. The program supports the accumulation of robust evidence to inform efforts to understand, build theory to explain, and suggest intervention and innovations to address persistent challenges in education.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.