Developing mentors: Adult participation, practices, and learning in an out-of-school time STEM program
Scipio, Déana Aeolani
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This dissertation examines learning within an out-of-school time (OST) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) broadening participation program. The dissertation includes an introduction, three empirical chapters (written as individual articles), and a conclusion. The dissertation context is a chemical oceanography OST program for middle school students called Project COOL—Chemical Oceanography Outside the Lab. The program was a collaboration between middle school OST programming, a learning sciences research laboratory, and a chemical oceanography laboratory. Both labs were located at a research-based university in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Participants include 34 youth, 12 undergraduates, and five professional scientists. The dissertation data corpus includes six years of ethnographic field notes across three field sites, 400 hours of video and audio recordings, 40 hours of semi-structured interviews, and more than 100 participant generated artifacts. Analysis methods include comparative case analysis, cognitive mapping, semiotic cluster analysis, video interaction analysis, and discourse analysis. The first empirical article focuses on synthesizing productive programmatic features from four years of design-based research.. The second article is a comparative case study of three STEM mentors from non-dominant communities in the 2011 COOL OST Program. The third article is a comparative case study of undergraduates learning to be mentors in the 2014 COOL OST Program. Findings introduce Deep Hanging as a theory of learning in practice. Deep Hanging entails authentic tasks in rich contexts, providing access, capitalizing on opportunity, and building interpersonal relationships. Taken together, these three chapters illuminate the process of designing a rich OST learning environment and the kinds of learning in practice that occurred for adult learners learning to be mentors through their participation in the COOL OST program. In the conclusion, I offer a set of design principles for mentor learning gleaned from empirical findings from the last two empirical chapters on how mentors can productively support the science learning of youth. The findings from this dissertation offer implications for designers of learning environments seeking to leverage experts for mentoring while engaging youth in contemporary science practices in order to broaden participation for youth and adult participants from non-dominant communities in STEM disciplines.
- Education - Seattle