Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 46–55 | Cite as

Bringing Up Girls in Science (BUGS): The Effectiveness of an Afterschool Environmental Science Program for Increasing Female Students’ Interest in Science Careers

  • Tandra Tyler-WoodEmail author
  • Amber Ellison
  • Okyoung Lim
  • Sita Periathiruvadi


Bringing Up Girls in Science (BUGS) was an afterschool program for 4th and 5th grade girls that provided authentic learning experiences in environmental science as well as valuable female mentoring opportunities in an effort to increase participants’ academic achievement in science. BUGS participants demonstrated significantly greater amounts of gain in science knowledge as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills in Science (ITBS-S). The original BUGS participants and contrasts have now completed high school and entered college, allowing researchers to assess the long-term impact of the BUGS program. Fourteen former BUGS participants completed two instruments to assess their perceptions of science and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Their results were compared to four contrast groups composed entirely of females: 12 former BUGS contrasts, 10 college science majors, 10 non-science majors, and 9 current STEM professionals. Results indicate that BUGS participants have higher perceptions of science careers than BUGS contrasts. There were no significant differences between BUGS participants, Science Majors, and STEM professionals in their perceptions of science and STEM careers, whereas the BUGS contrast group was significantly lower than BUGS participants, Science Majors, and STEM Professionals. Additional results and implications are discussed within.


Gender equity STEM Interest Female student perceptions of science 



BUGS is a gender equity grant funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF 0114917). We appreciate all participants: local elementary schools, parents, mentors, the Elm Fork Education Center, a public education branch of the University of North Texas’ Environmental Science Department.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tandra Tyler-Wood
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amber Ellison
    • 1
  • Okyoung Lim
    • 1
  • Sita Periathiruvadi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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