Black and Latinx people are underrepresented in the STEM workforce. This project examines how curricula and practices in a culturally situated, community-based youth development program nurture and support the STEM engagement of Black and Latinx boys and girls. Often research supporting out-of-school-time (OST) activities in STEM and traditionally underrepresented youth takes place in newly created learning environments. However, this program goes to where the youth are already, the Downtown Boxing Gym. Building knowledge and understandings on the inclusion of arts into gender-based STEM research could have implications for the future of OST research and programming. The project will explore how out of school learning spaces can broaden participation of Black and Latinx youth in STEM focused learning opportunities. Participants in this project are 170-250 youth, ages 8-18, who are involved in the Downtown Boxing Gym in Detroit, Michigan.
This project utilizes a mixed methods approach to collecting and analyzing survey data, interview data, and video data using thematic and interaction analyses. The goals of the project are to: (1) examine how youth learn STEM in informal environments; (2) advance the knowledge base of informal STEM learning, and (3) increase belongingness, broaden participation, and support learners' participation in and understanding of STEM practices utilizing a student- and practitioner- driven approach. During the school year, the program is offered twice a day, five days each week, for one hour, and during the summer five days a week, four hours a day. The program curriculum is collaboratively created by staff and students and may include topics and activities such as: 3D modeling, video game coding, environmental analysis of wildlife, chemistry, artificial intelligence/facial scanning, and robotics programing/construction.
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