Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Jingchun Li

Abstract

This study evaluated student leadership behavior in an STEM education career pathways program called Nature Kids Jovenes de Naturaleza, an 8-week experiential education immersion camp based out of Boulder, Colorado. The goal of the program is to stimulate interest in environmental education and STEM careers for under-represented high-school students by positioning them in hands-on leadership roles. Student evaluations on leadership behavior and follow-up interviews were done on student cohorts over two different cohort years. Pre and post assessment data was collected and analyzed for significant change in participant knowledge and identity post-programming. Additionally, based on evaluation data that showed a positive correlation between curriculums that facilitated student agency and consequential positive emotions, a curriculum intervention of implementing agency into a section of the program where there was previously none was developed, executed, and analyzed. Results from the implementation showed an increase in positive emotions in students favoring the experience more when student agency was added into the curriculum. It is suggested that designing opportunities for student agency be added into program curriculum development. Future longitudinal studies are recommended to better understand the lasting effects of agency on student interest in STEM careers.

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