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Impact of Materials Science and Engineering Clubs on Student’s perceptions and aspirations towards STEM

  • C. Pomales-García (a1), Z.A. Reyes-Rivera (a1), J. Mercado-Colón (a1), A.M. Padovani (a2), O.M. Suarez (a2) and J.E. Álvarez (a3)...

Abstract

This research evidences the impact of Materials Science and Engineering Clubs as an outreach effort to expand the education and training required for a competitive Nanotechnology workforce beyond traditional STEM areas. An engineering perception questionnaire was implemented as a pre-test/post-test to track student perceptions and goals throughout the academic year to identify trends amongst gender and school level groups. Findings (107 students) show a perceived increase in student knowledge and interest for different fields of study, based on pre/post-test responses, with differences amongst gender and school level groups (middle school and high school). Also, significant differences in students’ aspirations for higher education degree were found among school level and gender. Results show that over 20% of participants increased their aspirations to higher education degrees and their interests in pursuing STEM degrees at end of the academic year. Specific findings on engineering perceptions and perceived level of knowledge and interest in science, engineering, materials, and nanotechnology as a result of club participation and student’s educational aspirations, expectations and future study plans are discussed along with implications for future STEM education.

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