Developing STEM Literacy and Career Paths through Inclusive Team Internships

Project Details


This project aims to serve the national interest by improving STEM literacy. To this end, the project will explore the effectiveness teaming up STEM and non-STEM majors in project-based summer internships hosted by companies and organizations. The internships will offer paid training to work on sustainability issues identified by the internship hosts. Important features of the internship program include intensive teamwork and mentoring relationships with strong STEM role models, including peers. To ensure that students maximize the impact of their internship, the project will provide concurrent training around STEM literacy and professional skills. The internship program will also enhance existing corporate-academic-community partnerships and build new ones. The variety of skills and perspectives represented in the internship teams will support creative solutions that use STEM to address sustainability issues. It is expected that this project will contribute to preparing both a diverse, highly capable STEM workforce and STEM-literate employees.

The goals of the project are to: 1) increase access to STEM-related internships for STEM and non-STEM majors; 2) investigate the internship program's impacts on science literacy and STEM-disposition of STEM and non-STEM majors; and 3) develop and improve the internship curriculum to offer instructional modules on science literacy and professional skills, preparing the curriculum for future replication and dissemination. STEM literacy skills will be examined through a validated instrument and embedded assessments of end-of-project talks, tests of scientific literacy skills, surveys, and focus groups. This information will generate knowledge about practices that help diverse students, including those from groups that are underrepresented in STEM, improve their science literacy, science disposition, and understanding of career choices, while developing a replicable model for implementation by other organizations. This project is supported by the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources. The IUSE: EHR program supports research and development projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM education for all students. This project is in the Engaged Student Learning track, through which the program supports the creation, exploration, and implementation of promising practices and tools.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date1/09/2031/08/23


  • National Science Foundation: $600,000.00


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