Ongoing since 2015
Principal Investigator and Project Director: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.
Funded by: American Museum of Natural History

National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) is serving as the research and evaluation study partner to BridgeUP: STEM an initiative of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in Manhattan, New York. BridgeUP: STEM is a portfolio of educational and public programs focused on teaching computer science through the lens of science. Funded by a generous 5-year, $7.5M gift from the Helen Gurley Brown Trust, these programs are focused on changing the ratio of women and minorities in STEM.

In January 2015, BridgeUP: STEM launched the Brown Scholars Program, an intensive experience for cohorts of 9th and 10th grade girls, that uses science and scientific data sets to instill fluency in computer science and technology through the context of life sciences. Cohorts of New York City high school girls, known as Brown Scholars, are selected based on competitive application to the program. The BridgeUP: STEM program coursework was designed to introduce participants to the basics of computational science, and, in particular, how data is used, analyzed, and visualized in the natural sciences. The BridgeUP: STEM program content for both cohorts included coursework in Python programming language, group projects, mentorship, field trips, and presentations by Museum curators and researchers. In addition there is a Middle School one-week intensive program.

Since the BridgeUP: STEM program commenced NIOST has been investigating impact at the participant level for both high school and middle school. We are examining change in attitude and interest about STEM/CS/Technology, engagement in STEM/CS/Technology pathways, expansion of content knowledge, interest in STEM/CS/Technology career connections, and aspirations. The research team expects the information collected, shared, and translated from this study and consultation to be informative to BridgeUP: STEM and enhance the quality of the initiative’s experiences for participating youth, families, and Museum staff.

NIOST is the research and evaluation study partner to BridgeUP: STEM, an initiative of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York. BridgeUP: STEM is a portfolio of educational and public programs focused on teaching computer science through the lens of science. Funded by a gift from the Helen Gurley Brown Trust, these programs are focused on increasing the ratio of women and minorities in STEM fields.

BridgeUP: STEM launched the Brown Scholars Program, an intensive experience for cohorts of 9th and 10th grade girls that uses science and scientific data sets to instill fluency in computer science and technology through the context of life sciences. Cohorts of New York City high school girls are selected through a competitive application to the program. The BridgeUP: STEM program coursework was designed to introduce participants to the basics of computational science, and, in particular, how data is used, analyzed, and visualized in the natural sciences. The program content included coursework in Python programming language, group projects, mentorship, field trips, and presentations by Museum curators and researchers. In addition there is a middle school one-week intensive program.

NIOST has been investigating impact at the participant level for both high school and middle school since the program commenced. We are examining change in attitude and interest about STEM/CS/Technology, engagement in STEM/CS/Technology pathways, expansion of content knowledge, interest in STEM/CS/Technology career connections, and related aspirations. The information collected, shared, and translated from this study and consultation will be informative to AMNH and the BridgeUP: STEM program, and will enhance the quality of the experiences for participating youth, their families, and Museum staff.

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