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Harvard Brief Explores After-School STEM for Girls
Mary-Ellen Phelps Deily
Informal, out-of-school science and math programs offer great ways to engage girls in the subjects, but they need to be carefully planned and executed to make sure reluctant students want to sign up for them and stick with them, a new Research Update from the Harvard Family Research Project states.
It seems STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—initiatives are all the talk in education and policy circles these days. The trick is how to engage girls not typically drawn to such subjects, the Harvard researchers write. As you might expect, STEM initiatives tend to attract those students already interested in science and math.
So it's important to take an "inclusive approach to ensure that girls feel welcomed and comfortable with the materials." the researchers say. "Both boys and girls may see STEM activities as overly technical and intimidating, but girls often do not receive the same encouragement that boys do to get involved (or may need some extra encouragement)."