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Project Descriptions

Project RESET: Refugee Youth Engaging in Critical STEM Literacy and Learning

September 15, 2016 - August 31, 2018

This project is funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning program, which seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understandings of, the design and development of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning in informal environments. Roughly one million refugees resettled in the United States in the past decade, many of whom are school-aged youth. During secondary school, resettled refugee youth are often still developing English language literacy and STEM skills needed for successful postsecondary experiences in the United States. At the same time, these youth bring rich cultural and linguistic resources that they can use as an asset as they grow their STEM skill sets, prepare for future success, and make positive impacts on U.S. society. To promote these assets and engage youth in developing STEM literacy, this after-school program engages these youth in critical STEM literacy development. The project focuses on STEM learning, specifically the relationship between human life and climate, as well as developing youths' STEM identities and agency.

The project will develop and implement a community-based afterschool program that provides resettled Burmese refugee youth with STEM learning experiences. By drawing upon youths' experiences, the program will engage youth in learning about climate science and developing digital stories to communicate with broader audiences. To do so, the team will implement a program that builds on principles of responsive teaching, funds of knowledge, and English literacy development in authentic meaning-making contexts. The project will examine how youth expand their STEM knowledge, develop STEM identities and agency, and develop their expertise in communicating about STEM within and beyond their participation in the after-school program. The research team will explore existing and innovative data collection and analysis methods by drawing on principles of ethnography, video ethnography, mediated discourse analysis, and phenomenological and ethnomethodological analysis of interviews. These analyses will document learning over time in informal STEM learning settings. As there is very little prior research on STEM learning in this population, this project will generate knowledge about how to support STEM sense-making and critical STEM literacy. Furthermore, by testing the designed curriculum and building a partnership with a local community organization, the project will build capacity for broadening participation in informal STEM learning practices.


Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1612688
Funding Amount: $304,814.00


  • REVISE logo
    Principal Investigator
    Purdue University
  • Shannon Mary Daniel
    Co-Principal Investigator
    Vanderbilt University
  • Discipline: Climate | General STEM | Literacy
    Audience: Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals
    Environment Type: Public Programs | Afterschool Programs
    Access and Inclusion: Ethnic/Racial | Asian Communities | Immigrant Communities | English Language Learners

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