In an attempt to increase opportunities for females in STEM education, both federal and foundation funders have announced programs that will increase scholarship and internship opportunities for young women in STEM fields.
Males are more likely than females to be named by peers as being knowledgeable about the course content, according to a recent study from the University of Wisconsin – Males Under-Estimate Academic Performance of Their Female Peers in Undergraduate Biology Classrooms. The authors contend that this gender bias influences female students’ self-confidence and thus persistence in this STEM discipline.
In another study, Rachel Robnett found that women who encountered gender bias in STEM education had lower self-confidence than participants who did not. In both studies, the authors contend that positive peer connections may be a valuable resource for girls and women in the STEM pipeline.
At a recent conference hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), researchers and other experts highlighted the importance of role models and mentors for females in STEM disciplines.
The conference included a discussion by Becky Wai-Ling Packard, professor of Psychology and Education at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
Packard recently released Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students—an evidence-based guide for faculty and administrators to develop new initiatives to broaden access and improve persistence and graduation of their students. She contends that mentors must provide candid feedback to students for mentoring to be effective.
To address both of these issues, federal agencies and foundations are looking toward increasing opportunities for young women in STEM education through scholarships and internship opportunities.
These programs are intended to increase the number of women in STEM to help increase the number of women selecting majors in STEM fields and increasing their likelihood of achieving a graduate degree in a STEM field.
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