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Going Virtual: Successes and Shortcomings of a Synchronous STEM Outreach Event

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-13, 16:15 authored by Paige Prizlow, Madelyn Quirk, Kylie J. Schache, Sonia Bhakkad, Emily C. Laub, Emily L. Xu, Sophie Hill
Gender disparities in STEM fields emerge starting in the fourth grade, when girls are less likely than boys to express interest in STEM fields. Outreach events targeted to girls during this crucial developmental period can foster a sense of belonging in STEM. Women+ Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and the Sciences (F.E.M.M.E.S.) is a student-run organization at the University of Michigan that organizes STEM outreach events for children in the fourth grade and older. During the COVID-19 pandemic, F.E.M.M.E.S. transitioned events to a virtual setting. This manuscript describes the design of the virtual program, which included hands-on activities, live virtual demonstrations, and engaged role models. This manuscript also presents survey results from participants and volunteers to demonstrate the overall success of the virtual program and areas for improvement.