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Inspiring students to pursue science: a program evaluation of Pitt summer science outreach

Fontelo, Marie (2014) Inspiring students to pursue science: a program evaluation of Pitt summer science outreach. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Elementary and middle school children in low-income communities often do not receive engaging science curriculum and also role models for careers in science, resulting in a lack of interest in science and lower rates of students who pursue scientific careers.
Pitt Summer Science Outreach is a summer camp that brings science education to students in grades 4 through 6 at various underserved YMCA/YWCA locations in the city of Pittsburgh. The camp is offered by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh and brings together scientists, college student mentors, and uses sustained experiments to provide a positive, engaging, and memorable experience with science. For 2013, the camp had two curricula: Science of Nutrition and Exercise and Laboratory in Your Bedroom. The goal of the summer program is to inspire a lifelong interest in science in the elementary school students who attend.
The program was evaluated using semi-structured interviews with all students who attended to measure participants’ comfort with science. In addition, the evaluation team used a social networking activity to measure with whom the participants were discussing camp, and an art activity inspired by the creative painting and writing “Visual Voices” methodology to assess participants’ favorite activities.
Several themes emerged from the evaluation. We documented that the students were engaged in camp activities, enjoyed hands-on learning, and desired to return to the camp the following year. The social networking activity showed that participants were discussing camp with family and friends who did not attend camp.
Finally, participants enthusiastically enjoyed the curricula as determined by the evaluation. A number of the students expressed that they felt more confident in their ability to do science and may have an interest in pursuing career in a scientific field.
The public health significance of Pitt Summer Science Outreach is its effect on the social determinants of health. By providing engaging science education in underserved communities, the program enables participants the means to improve their health outcomes and impact the conditions in which they live.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Fontelo, Mariemcf34@pitt.eduMCF34
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRicci, Edmund Memricci@pitt.eduEMRICCI
Committee MemberTrauth, Jeanette M.trauth@pitt.eduTRAUTH
Committee MemberCameron, Judyjcameron@pitt.eduJCAMERON
Date: 29 September 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 1 May 2014
Approval Date: 29 September 2014
Submission Date: 16 June 2014
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 58
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: program evaluation, public health, social determinants of health
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2014 21:20
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 05:15


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