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Research specifically targeted at youth participation in STEM highlights the importance of community engagements outside of school to bolster interest in STEM. We ask the research questions: (1) How do girls who engage with a day-long STEM event at UNLV perceive hands-on science activities? (2) How did girls’ enjoyment of science activities shift their interest in science topics? The purpose of this study is to identify factors that influence middle school girls’ interests in STEM fields through a day-long STEM event. This research was conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2020 called Girls in STEM Day that hosts middle school girls in local minority populations (n=93). Participants attended two workshops, one that was Biology and Chemistry based, and one Physics and Astronomy based. Students’ interests in the respective science fields were assessed through exit tickets, free response questions answered on notecards. Of the students who attended the Biology and Chemistry, then Physics and Astronomy workshops, 79.7% and 91.2% respectively indicated an increased interest in STEM-based on the hands-on workshop activity and knowledge learned. The authors of this study contribute specific examples indicating middle school girls’ interests in STEM-based on experiences in a day-long STEM event.

Publication Date

Spring 2021




STEM; Middle school girls; Science event; Workshops


Gender Equity in Education | Science and Mathematics Education

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1974 KB


Faculty Mentor: Tina Vo, Ph.D.

Girls in STEM Day: From Space to DNA, An Analysis of Middle School Girls' Interests in STEM Fields