Employing YPAR to Reflect on the Past, Present, and Future Promotes Black Girls to Learn about STEM Fields and Research.
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Keywords

youth participatory action research
Black girls
STEM education
youth development
group work
social work

How to Cite

Davis, S. (2021) “Employing YPAR to Reflect on the Past, Present, and Future Promotes Black Girls to Learn about STEM Fields and Research. : STEM Fields and Research”, Journal of African American Women and Girls in Education, 1(2), pp. 60–93. doi: 10.21423/jaawge-v1i2a87.

Abstract

The existent research seeking to explain why Black girls are less likely to participate in specialized pathways towards STEM fields suggests individual and systemic factors are the cause (Buck et al., 2009; Catsambis; 1994;  Hanson, 2004; O'Brien, 2015;  Perna, 2009). This study of six Black girls' participation in a 12-week Youth Participatory Action Research Project (YPAR) sought to extend this inquiry by prompting Black girls to examine the underlying causes for the low number of Black girls who participate in STEM courses at their school. The study also aimed to examine their knowledge of the growing concern related to the inequitable educational pathways to STEM fields. Qualitative data, including focus groups, field notes, documents, and observations, revealed that the girls knew that technology dominated society, but they were deeply concerned about young people being exposed to danger when using technology. We discovered their views were perpetuated by learned experiences in their households and by the media they consumed.  The participants also recognized how their school environment influenced their perception of and ability to navigate their educational pathways. After participating in weekly workshops, the girls developed an interest in STEM activities and wrote an action plan to increase girls' engagement in school and STEM activities. The study findings also reveal how YPAR can promote girls to conduct a critical analysis of educational experiences, transform their perception of STEM education, and engage them in research. 

https://doi.org/10.21423/jaawge-v1i2a87
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