Effectiveness of enrichment programs in cultivating STEM interest in year nine female students

Stephanie Mayes, Maria Parappilly


With women underrepresented in STEM disciplines, due to the perception that STEM careers are challenging (Kier et al, 2013), there is a focus on encouraging females to pursue STEM (Marginson et al, 2013). Research suggests that enrichment programs enhance interest in gaining a STEM career (Merolla & Serpe, 2013), however knowledge on the most effective enrichment method is limited.

The aim of this project is to investigate the effectiveness of two enrichment methods on female year nine students’ interest in STEM.

The project involves two enrichment programs run through Flinders University; Real Science Enrichment Days and Design & Technology Enrichment Series. The effectiveness of enrichment on student attitudes towards STEM was evaluated by experiment using modified validated pre- and post- surveys (Tyler-Wood et al, 2010).

Findings show that both enrichment methods take the negativity out of students, who found Science less challenging after either enrichment. After the Enrichment Series, there was a decrease in the percentage of students who found Science boring. We seek to present the usefulness of such programs and the measurable outcomes achieved so far.

These findings will be beneficial in designing more efficient enrichment programs to inspire girls about STEM careers.


STEM, enrichment, women, career

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