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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
EVALUATING AND EXPLORING A PROFESSIONAL CONFERENCE FOR UNDERGRADUATE WOMEN IN PHYSICS: CAN ONE WEEKEND MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Gayle A. Buck
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Indiana University, W.W. Wright Education Building, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana 47404, USA
STEM Transformation Institute, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199, USA
Elementary/Bilingual Education Department, California State University San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California 92407, USA
Female under-representation in science has been a topic of discussion and research within the science education community for several decades. Despite this, females continue to be underrepresented in physics education and careers. Although women opt out of physics at every stage of the professional ladder, one area of particular concern is the undergraduate years. The fraction of women who choose to study physics at the university level declines from freshmen to senior levels. A group of faculty from across the United States has sought to address this concern, in part, by organizing an annual conference for undergraduate women in physics. Pre-/post-questionnaires and focus group interviews were used to gather the experiences of 363 of the conference participants (56% response rate) to determine the impact of such an experience, as well as how the various aspects of the experience fostered or hindered this impact. The findings demonstrate that such an experience can make a positive impact, as well as provide facilitators of similar professional meetings with understandings on how to design women in science experiences. In addition, the voices of these young women offer insights into the contemporary needs of female undergraduates in physics.
Ключевые слова: physics, astronomy, minority women, science, STEM, undergraduate education, conferences
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