A Collaborative STEMM Project to Inspire Gen Z
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees began working independently from remote locations. This shift in work dynamics requires employees to have distinct skills, such as self-motivation and self-discipline. Furthermore, employees must be adaptable and creative to succeed in today’s ever-changing world. The education that students receive prior to entering this workforce, must develop these crucial skills. Employees today must be equipped with technology literacy, productivity, and flexibility skills, and they can attain many of such skills through Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, [and Medicine] (STEMM) education1.
This middle school STEMM program is a hands-on adventure into the worlds of allied health/medical professions and simulation based education. Students met at a simulation center once a month for eight months where they participated in a variety of activities, conversed with guest speakers from STEMM fields, and built their own simulation project. The curriculum challenged students to think critically and innovatively. These technical challenges likely inspired their learning, ignited their interest in STEMM careers, and cultivated lifelong skills, such as problem solving, creativity, decision making, and acceptance of failure. Program effectiveness was assessed through a STEMM interest scale before and after the education, and formative and summative evaluations.
Thirteen students attended the pilot program. Over 75% of them reported that the program inspired them to work hard at their dreams. Over 90% of students reported the program was fun, they liked attending, and they would recommend the program to a friend. Students most often reported the hands-on activities were the best part and when asked what they would change about the program, most often the students reported they would change the program’s cadence to multiple times a month. There was no significant change in STEMM interest before and after the program.
This STEMM program was a fun and engaging way to introduce middle school students to healthcare careers. It was well received by the students and school administration.
The students were chosen because of their academic excellence and already had high interest levels in STEMM careers before the program, which likely contributed to the non-significant STEMM interest findings. Future classes will be selected from a more heterogenous population.
FULFILLMENT OF PRIORITY CRITERIA:
This poster will describe the academic-community partnership between a clinical/academic simulation center and a middle school needed for the implementation of the program. This partnership that will be displayed fosters the development of future workforce generations.