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Engaging Rural Appalachian High School Girls in College Science Laboratories to Foster STEM-Related Career Interest

    Author: Karen L. Kelly1
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    Affiliations: 1: Biology and Occupational Therapy, Milligan College, Milligan College, TN 37682
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 01 March 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: Milligan College, PO Box 500, Milligan College, TN 37682. Phone: 423-461-8909. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2016 vol. 17 no. 1 77-80. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.996
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    Abstract:

    Setting students on a path to success in careers in science is a challenge in poor rural Appalachian public schools. Students face many socioeconomic obstacles. Their teachers are also limited by many factors including inadequate facilities, under-funding, geographical isolation of the schools, and state-testing constraints. Additionally, students and teachers lack the availability of outside science educational opportunities. In an effort to address this situation, 24 academically strong high school junior girls and their teachers from the Carter County School System in rural east Tennessee were invited for a laboratory day at Milligan College, a small liberal arts college in the heart of the county. Science faculty, female science majors, and admissions staff volunteered in service to the project. The event included three laboratory sessions, lunch in the college cafeteria, and campus tours. This successful example, as evidenced by positive evaluations by the invited girls and their teachers, of educational outreach by a local, small liberal arts college to a rural county school system provides a model for establishing a relationship between higher education institutions and these underprivileged schools, with the intention of drawing more of these poor, rural Appalachian students, particularly girls, into a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career path. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education

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References & Citations

1. Avery LA 2013 Rural science education: valuing local knowledge Theory Pract 52 28 35 10.1080/07351690.2013.743769 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07351690.2013.743769
2. Harmon HL, Smith KC 2012 Legacy of the rural systemic initiatives: innovation, leadership, teacher development and lessons learned Edvantia (NJ1) [Online.] http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED531890
3. Hass B 2 May 2014 In Carter County, fighting meth is a dirty and dangerous business The Tennessean [Online.] http://archive.tennessean.com/article/20140302/NEWS01/303030012/In-Carter-County-fighting-meth-dirty-dangerous-business
4. Hodges GW, Oliver JS, Tippins D 2013 A study of highly qualified science teachers’ career trajectory in the deep, rural south: examining a link between deprofessionalization and teacher dissatisfaction School Sci Math 113 6 263 274 10.1111/ssm.12026 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ssm.12026
5. Mountain States Health Alliance 2015 2015 Community health needs assessment [Online.] https://www.mountainstateshealth.com/sites/default/files/documents/FY2015CommunityHealthNeedsAssessmentSSH.pdf
6. United States Census Bureau 2015 State and county quick facts, Carter County, Tennessee [Online.] http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/47/47019.html Accessed 22 July 2015
7. United States Department of Health and Human Services Offices of Adolescent Health 2013 Trends in teen pregnancy and childbearing [Online.] http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/reproductive-health/teen-pregnancy/trends.html Accessed July 22, 2015
8. University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2014 County health rankings and roadmaps [Online.] http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/tennessee/2014/measure/factors/14/data?sort=sc-3 Accessed 22 July 2015
9. Wilder M, Otieno T 2010 Enhancing inquiry-based science and math in Appalachian middle schools: a model for community engagement Kentucky J Excellence Coll Teach Learn 8 9 19

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2016-03-01
2019-05-22

Abstract:

Setting students on a path to success in careers in science is a challenge in poor rural Appalachian public schools. Students face many socioeconomic obstacles. Their teachers are also limited by many factors including inadequate facilities, under-funding, geographical isolation of the schools, and state-testing constraints. Additionally, students and teachers lack the availability of outside science educational opportunities. In an effort to address this situation, 24 academically strong high school junior girls and their teachers from the Carter County School System in rural east Tennessee were invited for a laboratory day at Milligan College, a small liberal arts college in the heart of the county. Science faculty, female science majors, and admissions staff volunteered in service to the project. The event included three laboratory sessions, lunch in the college cafeteria, and campus tours. This successful example, as evidenced by positive evaluations by the invited girls and their teachers, of educational outreach by a local, small liberal arts college to a rural county school system provides a model for establishing a relationship between higher education institutions and these underprivileged schools, with the intention of drawing more of these poor, rural Appalachian students, particularly girls, into a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career path. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education

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