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  1. The goal of Project STEMulate, a National Science Foundation ITEST study (DRL 1657625), was to develop, implement, and evaluate a program that fosters success in STEM for underserved and underrepresented high school students. The project was implemented at three sites of the Department of Education Upward Bound Program in Hawaiˋi. Project STEMulate delivered teacher training on Problem-Based Learning curriculum to ensure students were motivated and empowered, and to support STEM- related postsecondary educational success of Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students. A critical design goal of the program was to introduce teaching and learning strategies and processes that were more relevant to underrepresented youth populations than those offered in typical high schools to provide opportunities and to increase participation in the STEM study and career trajectory, something all too often out of mind and scope of these students. This study reports on three years of mixed methods summer academy data on both student and teacher learning outcomes. Teacher dispositions, evidenced through data from interviews, observations, and multi-point surveys improved in a majority of the dimensions, including teaching inquiry-based approaches, integrating technology, and STEM career knowledge and awareness. Student motivation, Science self-efficacy, and STEM career interest, evidenced from similar data sources, increasedmore »as well. Finally, we discuss the larger implications of extending this work to impact similar populations elsewhere of isolated, under- resourced and under-exposed youth with these proven strategies.« less
  2. Understanding high school students’ perceptions and dispositions toward STEM, and the role science and math self-efficacy play in establishing STEM career aspirations is imperative to preparing the STEM workforce of the future. Project STEMulate is an industry-aligned and technology-rich Problem-based Learning (PBL) model. The goal of this NSF ITEST grant-funded study (2018-2020) was to improve students’ attitudes towards STEM. Project STEMulate focuses on Upward Bound students in Hawaiˋi and was implemented at three sites: Maui, Hilo, and Oahu. The participants voluntarily selected to participate in this program. The current study reviews year one data collected on the impact of Project STEMulate on low-income and underrepresented and/or native Hawaiian students' STEM career interest, and their science self-efficacy. Students’ reactions to the STEM learning experience were extremely positive. 80% of students expressed a desire to pursue a career in STEM at the post test. High school students who listed their plan to pursue a career in STEM also showed a higher self-efficacy and motivation. Analysis of the results demonstrates this program was effective in empowering students with insights into careers, enhancing knowledge that would serve them in pursuit of a career in STEM. In addition, the project fostered a can-do attitude andmore »increased students’ science self- efficacy.« less