Participation in Research Apprenticeship Program: Issues Related to Career Choice in STEM

Abstract

Research apprenticeship experiences provide a uniquely authentic context for deepening participants’ understanding of the nature of science and encouraging them to choose STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) studies and careers. This study evaluated a STEM program for high school students who engaged in science research with the mentoring support of academic and industrial experts. The goals were to explore how graduates perceived the program as a factor affecting their choice to specialize in a STEM career and whether the findings demonstrate gender differences. Using the sequential mixed method, 24 students were interviewed, and then, the findings were used to develop a questionnaire to which 116 program graduates responded. The responses revealed four main themes of contribution: development in science learning, development of self-efficacy, effect on students’ choice of specializing in science and technology in the future, and sense of belonging to the residential area. The results indicate a positive correlation between the attitudes of students participating in the program and their expectation to pursue a STEM-related career. Statistically significant differences were found between the attitudes of the young men and women. The study provides a deeper understanding of the gender gaps in science education.

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Correspondence to Irit Sasson.

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This work was supported by the Milgrom Foundation, University of Chicago.

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Sasson, I. Participation in Research Apprenticeship Program: Issues Related to Career Choice in STEM. Int J of Sci and Math Educ 17, 467–482 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-017-9873-8

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Keywords

  • Gender differences
  • Research apprenticeship program
  • Self-efficacy
  • STEM career