We will pursue two specific aims:
Specific Aim #1
- Improve understanding of how informal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiences with network science can increase STEM identities, STEM possible selves, and STEM career aspirations among youth from historically underrepresented groups. Youth will discover the role of network science in STEM disciplines at the center of health science research.
- If you are curious about STEM possible selves, you can read more about the topic in this publication from Worlds of Connections team members: “Science Possible Selves and the Desire to be a Scientist: Mindsets, Gender Bias, and Confidence during Early Adolescence.”
Specific Aim #2
- Create emerging media resources (e.g. augmented and virtual reality) to stimulate broad interest in and understanding of the role of network science in biomedical and public health research. We will leverage the framework of NE STEM 4U, a successful faculty-guided, near-peer-led, out-of-school program for underserved youth, to form a new cross-campus collaboration that adds network science activities to the existing set of STEM topics.
By increasing opportunities for underrepresented minority middle school youth in high poverty schools to engage with network science through activities and emerging media, this project will pave new paths towards health careers of the future. In doing so, we will also advance the public’s understanding of National Institutes of Health-funded research and the field of evidence-guided STEM learning by informing our understanding of how to effectively encourage youth to pursue careers in human health.