A five-year longitudinal study funded by the National Science Foundation that explored the impact of
Through Be A Scientist, young engineers and engineering students developed communication skills and administered Family Science programs to families in New York and Los Angeles. Parents and families learned alongside their children through building hands-on projects together.
Be A Scientist set out to address three challenges of informal science education:
- Identifying scalable methods of engaging minority audiences in STEM
- Identifying sustainable methods of supporting long-term learning
- Enabling families to develop deep content knowledge
The primary deliverable of the project was a five-year longitudinal evaluation designed to assess the impact of intensive training for engineering professionals delivering science curriculum and activities in community settings and families’ interest in and understanding of science.
Annual and summative evaluations addressed the following questions:
- Are activities such as recruitment, training, and Family Science workshops aligned with the project’s goals?
- What is the impact on families’ interest in and understanding of science?
- What is the impact on engineers’ communication skills and perspectives about their work?
- Is the project scalable and able to produce effective technology tools and develop long-term partnerships with schools?
Through hands-on, engineering-based curricula, we have grown our reach to make STEM accessible and approachable in underserved communities worldwide.
Impact on Students
- 94% of students are more excited about doing challenging activities
- 90% of the students understood science and engineering better.
- 88% of students had a better understanding of what jobs are available in those fields.
- 89% of students were more persistent
Impact on Parents
- 91% of parents said they would encourage their child to pursue a STEM education or career.
- 94% of parents did more hands-on science projects with their children at home
- 92% of parents understand science and engineering better