Date of Award:

8-2018

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Engineering Education

Advisor/Chair:

Kurt Becker

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to study the benefits of having middle school students attend a summer camp focused on the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). A lot of research funding is being used in such camps to help get more students into STEM fields as there is a lack of graduates in those fields. Therefore, it is important to understand the benefits and effectiveness of such camps.

Students, teachers and parents were involved in this research. Students and teachers attended a one-week engineering camp at Utah State University while parents were involved via a blog updated daily with a summary of the activities of the day, pictures, and quotes from the students.

The results show that those kinds of camps are effective at increasing students’ interest in STEM fields and in improving parents’ perceptions about those fields. Interestingly, students who started the camp with low interest in STEM fields gained a lot more from the camp than the other students. Similarly, female students also gained a lot more through the camp than male students. This leads us to believe that future camps should target students that stand to gain more from such camps.

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