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Developing YOUth! Project

Measuring the long-term impact of a STEM-based out-of-school time program

December 21, 2017

Halfway Point Research Updates

Posted by Alison Mroczkowski on December 21, 2017.

Happy holidays! We are now halfway through the Developing YOUth! Project, and we have some exciting research updates that we would like to share. We have now collected survey and interview data from two cohorts of participants. Cohort 1 consists of former Achievers who graduated from the program in June, 2016 and a control group of similar teens who are similar to the Achievers, but who did not participate in the Science Minors and Achievers (SMA) program. In cohort 2, we have a group of former Achievers who graduated from the program in June, 2017 and a control group of similar teens who did not participate in the SMA Program. We also have interview data from a sample of cohort 1 participants and a sample of cohort 2 participants. Now that we have a sufficient amount of data, we have begun to analyze our data and explore our research questions.

Our team recently submitted two research proposals based on the Developing YOUth! Project to a conference that will take place in London in June, 2018. In a poster submission led by Dr. Price, we analyzed the survey data to explore the impact of the SMA program on the STEM career interests of program alumni. In a paper submission led by Dr. Mroczkowski, we analyzed interview data from cohort 2 participants with the goal of better understanding the role of facilitations in program participants’ development. Interviewees shared that conducting science presentations for guests was related to the development and improvement of presentation and communication skills, increased science content knowledge, increased confidence, and the development of teamwork skills.

Next steps for the Developing YOUth! Project include additional data collection and the publication of our research findings in empirical journals. We will be asking cohort 1 and cohort 2 participants to complete follow-up surveys in spring, 2018, and we will begin the data collection process with cohort 3 participants when they graduate from the SMA program in June, 2018. We will also be conducting another round of interviews with a small group of program alumni in summer, 2018. We will contact participants in May or June with an invitation to complete a follow-up survey, so please keep an eye out for an email from us around that time if you are a participant in our study. Also, if you are a participant in our study and your contact information has changed, please email Dr. Mroczkowski at alison.mroczkowski@msichicago.org with your updated information.

We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season!