Increasing Women’s Interest in STEM

During Grades 7-9, adolescents begin to form their adult identity and choose pursuits that fit their values and self-beliefs. Some girls never consider STEM careers because they see science and technology as a poor fit to their personal values. Others feel unwelcome by peers who fail to acknowledge, validate, or respect their abilities. Either obstacle can inhibit girls from developing STEM as a core identity and taking advanced math and science coursework. ​​​​​​​To combat obstacles girls may face in pursuing a STEM career, Project PRISM will test interventions that: (1) change boys’ beliefs about girls via implicit bias training and presenting real evidence that test scores underestimate girls’ abilities, (2) expose girls to successful role models who share their values and preferences, and (3) encourage girls to identify with STEM by recognizing that a STEM career can help them accomplish some of their most cherished goals. In partnership with Actua, a non-profit umbrella organization that supports summer science camps across Canada, Project PRISM will test the long-term benefits of interventions delivered to students in Grades 7-9 during a week-long science camp. Students in the PRISM workshops will be compared to other students who participate in the same camp programs during weeks without our interventions.