Discipline: Science and Mathematics Education
Room: Park Tower 8228
Stephanie Santos-Diaz - Purdue University
Co-Author(s): Marcy H. Towns, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Outreach initiatives are typically framed as informal learning environments (Ryu, Tuvilla, & Wright, 2019; Stocklmayer, Rennie, & Gilbert, 2010) that provide an opportunity to increase the participants’ interest in science (Levine & DiScenza, 2018; Levine, Serio, Radaram, Chaudhuri, & Talbert, 2015). Previous work on chemistry outreach has focused on designing and implementing demonstrations for outreach events. Although recent studies have reported on student organizations’ outreach practices and conceptual understanding of the demonstrations (Pratt & Yezierski, 2018a, 2018b), more research is needed regarding the experiences of facilitators leading outreach events. We can better structure chemistry outreach initiatives by understanding the facilitators’ motivation to participate in outreach, what they are gaining from participating, etc. In this study, communities of practice (CoP) is used as a framework (Wenger, 2000) to describe the learning environment that is student organizations participating in chemistry outreach. This work is part of a larger study that explores the relationship between leadership in student organizations and chemistry outreach events. Using a case study approach, we collected multiple sources of data, including: the organization’s outreach practices, a self-assessment on leadership style, observations, and semi-structured interviews. Here, we present the role of diversity in chemistry outreach, as informed by the interviews of five female graduate students who actively participated in outreach. The findings suggest diversity and inclusion is an important aspect of leadership. Student’s prior experiences related to gender, race/ethnicity, educational background and other outreach events play a role in their purpose for doing outreach and their outreach practices. The insights shared by the participants of this study can be used by leaders of student organizations to inform how to design and plan outreach events. In addition, the findings should serve as evidence for faculty in higher education to drive forward a change in culture in academia. A culture in which faculty consider professional development of their students, through informal learning environments, equally important as academic development. While the participants for this study included students who self-identified as underrepresented minorities, the participants did not include representation from African American or LGBTQIA+ populations. Future research aims to study experiences of facilitators from these populations, and to address the question: what role do challenges rela
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. DGE-1333468. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Faculty Advisor: Marcy H. Towns, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: Design of the study, data collection and data analysis.