Education & Workforce Development

SIROW’s vision of a society in which the well-being of women and families is paramount, resulting in their equity, empowerment, and prosperity is not possible without more equitable inclusion of female-identified individuals and other historically-underrepresented groups in education and the workforce.

Current Projects

Arizona’s Science, Engineering, and Math Scholars (ASEMS) Program works to foster persistence and success among students from groups traditionally under-represented in STEM fields by providing a holistic suite of student services including: 1) culturally-responsive and asset-based advising and mentorship; 2) structured learning communities; 3) research and internship experiences; and 4) additional support services (e.g., scholarships, tutoring). ASEMS currently supports over 400 students annual through a number of different programs that serve particular populations of students (e.g., community college transfer, veterans, low-income, first generation college students, under-represented minorities) and that are funded through different funding mechanisms (e.g., short-term institutional funding; federal grants; private foundations; individual donors). Data indicate that ASEMS is highly successful at fostering student success, with ASEMS student persistence and graduation rates being significantly higher than their non-ASEMS participating comparison groups. This project aims to better understand ASEMS best practice; develop a strategy to scale these practices to serve more University of Arizona students; and evaluate the impact of these efforts. 

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

SIROW project team: Jill Williams, Stephanie Murphy

Project partners: Arizona’s Science, Engineering, and Math Scholars

Location: SIROW Main campus, 925 N Tyndall Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721

Solving environmental challenges relies heavily on computer science and statistical skills applied to large data sets. However, these knowledge, skills, and abilities are not evenly distributed across colleges, students, or faculty in the United States. This project works to transform environmental education by creating, implementing, and evaluating a data science training program for undergraduate students who are interested in conservation and management in urban and wild areas. Faculty from both the University of Arizona and Lewis and Clark College co-teach a foundational data science course that utilizes public data and addresses pressing environmental concerns relevant to student interests and identities. Exceptional students subsequently participate in a more focused cooperative course as data science interns for conservation stakeholders. Professional development workshops in data science education for instructional faculty, some of whom work in institutions serving primarily low-income students and students of color, prepare faculty to implement data science educational modules at their respective institutions. These critical resources and pathways allow broad communities to harness the data revolution. The workforce demand for data analysts and data scientists exceeds the current capacity for higher education to produce this skilled workforce. The overall goal of this project is development of scalable, portable data science education that can be readily incorporated into existing programs concentrating on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), with a focus on ecology, biodiversity, and conservation. The project achieves this goal by creating multiple curricular data science on-ramps for a broad range of students early in their undergraduate training, through general education courses and foundational major courses using inclusive and expansive pedagogy techniques more common in liberal arts education. WISE conducts process and outcomes evaluation for the project.

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

Location: SIROW Main campus, 925 N Tyndall Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721

The Computer Science Retention and Graduation Diagnostics project aims to better understand persistence and retention trends among female and under-represented minority students at the University of Arizona in order to inform the development of interventions capable of address these disparities.  Persistence and retention trends are analyzed across the three-course introductory sequence.  WISE supports the data collection and analysis components of the project.

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

SIROW project team: Jill Williams, Stephanie Murphy

Location: SIROW Main campus, 925 N Tyndall Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721

The Earth Conservation Internship (ECI) program is a collaboration between the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the National Forest Foundation. This program connects underserved high school students to the Sonoran desert ecosystem, exposes them to conservation-related career opportunities, helps them build outdoor leadership skills, and fosters a commitment to environmental stewardship. Evaluation of the ECI is conducted by WISE/SIROW. The program evaluation will use mixed quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the efficacy of the program in relation to specific program goals (e.g., increase knowledge and appreciation for National Forest and Sonoran desert) and goals common to environmental education programs more broadly (e.g., connection to place, environmental learning, self-efficacy, environmental stewardship) (see table below for full list of outcomes to be measured).

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

Project partners: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the National Forest Foundation

Location: SIROW Main campus, 925 N Tyndall Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721

SIROW offers Project CHANGE to Arizona secondary schools in partnership with the ADE. The program provides gender equity and nontraditional (NT) career education workshops, training, and classes statewide to both secondary school educators and students. Services include: (1) providing Career and Technical Education (CTE) professional development opportunities and resources to secondary school educators in Arizona; (2) coordinating nontraditional events with other partners that provide opportunities for students to participate in nontraditional academic, technological, and vocational experiences; and (3) providing information and workshops to schools and students that will increase enrollment in CTE courses that lead to nontraditional careers.

The pedagogical techniques employed include: (1) administration of in-person NT CTE recruitment and retention workshops and seminars, and (2) administration of two online Distance-Learning courses that are entitled “ADE NT 101” and “ADE NT 102.” SIROW assists middle and high school teachers, counselors and CTE directors in increasing enrollment in NT CTE classes throughout the state. In conjunction with ADE requirements, SIROW serves as the statewide coordinator of information on both gender equity and NT CTE employment and training opportunities.

Contact: Corrie Brinley, cbrinley@arizona.edu

SIROW project team: Claudia Powell, Corrie Brinley, Tyler Le Peau, Tim Wernette

Location: SIROW Main campus, 925 N Tyndall Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721

This project began with a one-year Arizona Humanities Council and Stocker Foundation grant over a decade ago and has continued through self-support and minimal sponsorship from SIROW. Sowing the Seeds hosts monthly workshops and exchanges, an annual conference, and offers publication opportunities – with a focus on Hispanic/Latina women writers. Since original funding, Sowing the Seeds has published two edited volumes of women’s writing produced or elaborated through monthly meeting support and workshops that bring professional writers in to teach and facilitate the workshop activity.

Contact: Rosi Andrade, rosia@arizona.edu

Location: SIROW Central, 3776 N. 1st Ave., STE. 102, Tucson, AZ 85719

This project aims to provide evaluation support to projects awarded under this initiative. Grantees work with SIROW researchers on evaluation design and measuring outcomes of their projects.

Contact: Claudia Powell, claudiap@arizona.edu

SIROW project team: Claudia Powell, Stephanie Murphy

Project partners: University of Arizona Consortium on Gender-Based Violence

Location: SIROW Main campus, 925 N Tyndall Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721

We Bee Scientists will engage K-6 students in the Flowing Wells Unified School District in place- and project-based learning about bees, our most important group of pollinators. During this three-year effort, partners from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Flowing Wells Unified School District will co-create curriculum and activities aligned with the AZ Science Standards. The program will introduce students to real-world science and simultaneously benefit pollinators and the local communities that depend on them. WISE conducts outcome evaluation on the educator professional development and collaboration components of the project.

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

Project partners: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Flowing Wells Unified School District

Location: SIROW Main campus, 925 N Tyndall Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721

Completed Projects

Completed projects are listed in alphabetical order.

Contact: Jo Korchmaros, jkorch@email.arizona.edu
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); October 1, 2014–September 30, 2017

Developing a Sustainable Seafood Industry for Burma is a collaborative effort of multiple departments of the University of Arizona; Yangon University (YU) and Pathein University (PU) in Burma; the private and public sectors; and several non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The objective of this effort is to move Burma’s seafood sector towards an industry that mixes capture fisheries and aquaculture along with improved processing and marketing capabilities to meet global standards of sustainability, equitability, profitability, and food safety. Capacity building aspects will be directed to both the institutions of higher education and to the extension/training components of the Myanmar Department of Fisheries and the nine fishing, fish farming, and shrimp farming associations that together form the Myanmar Fisheries Federation. This project will place a special emphasis on reaching women with training and outreach programs, as much of the fish farming is conducted on small scale farms by women, as is much of the seafood processing. In addition, all project efforts will be gender-sensitive and build capacity for sustained integration of gender-responsive planning.

Contact: Rosi Andrade, rosia@email.arizona.edu

To offer and evaluate the affects of reading groups on women with a history of drug involvement.

Contact: Sally Stevens, sstevens@email.arizona.edu
August 2015 – May 2016

The Hogar de Esperanza y Paz (HEPAC) support project is a project that organizes and oversees University of Arizona (UA) undergraduate interns to provide support services for Hogar de Esperanza y Paz (HEPAC). HEPAC is a community center whose mission is to support charitable and educational programs for residents of underprivileged communities in Nogales, Mexico. In response to community members’ needs, HEPAC launched a Pre-K program for children ages 0-5 years old.  The UA interns who participate in this project are responsible for researching educational standards and observing pedagogical practices implemented in Pre-K programs throughout Sonora, Mexico.  Based on this research, interns are involved in creating an appropriate educational curriculum for HEPAC’s Pre-K initiative.

Contact: Sally Stevens, PhD, sstevens@email.arizona.edu
Collaborators: StrengthBuilding Partners, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Lawrence Intermediate and Hohokam Middle Schools (Tucson, AZ)

The overarching goal of the project is to broaden and diversify the STEM workforce. To achieve this goal, the i-STEM project will develop, implement, and evaluate a culturally-driven strategic hybrid program that combines a in-school mentoring program with informal out-of-school science education experiences. Sixty Native American (NA) and Hispanic mentees will be paired with 60 mentors: 30 mentees at Lawrence Intermediate School (3rd-5th grade; 50.6% Native American, 42.9% Hispanic), and 30 mentees at Hohokam Middle School (6th-8th grade; 29.4% Native American, 60.3% Hispanic). Mentors will include STEM professionals (n=15), Pascua Yaqui community and tribal members (n=30), and UA College of Science and College of Engineering undergraduate students (n=15). Mentor/mentees will meet twice monthly (individually or in small groups) and engage in a minimum of five out-of-school informal science experiences over a one year period. The i-STEM program activities will be guided by a culturally-relevant theoretical framework, Funds of Knowledge (González, Moll, & Amanti, 2005). The program activities will be based on the four Grand Challenges for Engineering themes: (1) Energy and Environment, (2) Health, (3) Security, and (4) Learning and Computation.

Visit the iSTEM website for more information about this project.

Contact: Rosi Andrade, rosia@email.arizona.edu

Managing Tough Times: Women Living in Economic Uncertainty was a collaboration between the Pima County/Tucson’s Women Commission and UA-SIROW. The study team held focus groups with low-income women and interviewed service agency personnel knowledgeable about women who struggle financially. Many challenges were voiced including finding employment, food insecurities, unstable housing, safe and affordable childcare, violence, and transportation issues. These and other challenges were discussed in the findings report “How Women Manage in Tough Economic Times: Coping with Hardship in Southern Arizona” along with recommendations for addressing these issues at both the policy and practice levels. Ongoing advocacy is currently underway with elected officials and others to highlight the findings and promote action to address the issues illuminated in the report

To view the 2014 report (How Women Manage in Tough Economic Times: Coping with Hardship in Southern Arizona), click HERE.

Dr. Rosi Andrade publishes In Mexico, Domestic Workers' Story is Rags to Rags, discussing one of Mexico's most often overlooked populations.

Contact: Rosi Andrade, rosiandrade@email.arizona.edu

The Reading Our World program was an innovative after-school program that includes coordinated literature study groups and field trips to expand literacy through reading, discussion, and relevant social experiences for children K-5.  Reading Our World was premised on theories that reading experiences that are coupled with other relevant experiences such as field trips and discussions afford the learner opportunities to apply and expand meaning.  For example, included in the Reading Our World program is 1) the reading and discussion of a book about the Pima Air Museum, which was then followed by a trip to the Pima Air Museum and 2) the reading and discussion of a book on desert flora and fauna was followed by a trip to the Sahuaro National Park West.  Reading Our World was especially relevant given financial constraints on education; school districts that once allowed for one or two fieldtrips during the school year are no longer able to provide these types of field trip experiences.  The field trip experiences were great equalizers for children whose family’s finances did not allow for this type of learning and literacy exposure.  Reading Our World was funded by the Stocker Foundation.

Contact: Sally Stevens, sstevens@email.arizona.edu

The mission of WREN was to assist public schools in identifying equity issues in the areas of race, gender and national origin to promote equal educational opportunities.  SIROW collaborated with WREN to evaluate the programs and services that the Center provides to public schools in its region (Arizona, California, and Nevada).  The three states in this region are characterized by major demographic changes resulting from immigration.  This region has a large and growing percentage of English Language Learners in schools; has the largest number of charter schools in the country; and has diverse populations with large Native American and rural populations in addition to urban districts.  The resources employed by the Center are nationally significant and aligned with the goals and requirements of “No Child Left Behind.”  WREN was funded by the United States Department of Education through the UA College of Education.

Contact: Sally Stevens, sstevens@email.arizona.edu
Funded by Arizona Department of Transportation; April 30, 2016-April 29, 2018

This evaluation will help address gaps in knowledge with regard to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) workforce and inform on potential strategies for addressing the underrepresentation of women in this workforce. The primary purpose of this project is to understand the existing and future workforce and the high priority issues specific to women in the ADOT workforce including: (1) understanding the issues that are of high importance to women with regard to recruitment, retention, and job satisfaction in the transportation industry, (2) informing on potential program strategies that ADOT may utilize to address these issues, and (3) assisting ADOT’s efforts to comply with federal requirements to build and maintain a diverse workforce. The evaluation will conduct five tasks including (1) conducting a comprehensive literature review regarding women in Arizona’s transportation industry, (2) reviewing existing policies and practices at ADOT, 5 to 8 State Department of Transportations in comparable states, 5 to 8 private industry transportation agencies, (3) investigating the experiences of women and men employed in the Arizona’s transportation industry, (4) analyzing and reporting on the findings from the research conducted, and (5) preparing and delivering presentations highlighting the outcomes and recommendations derived from the research study.

Contact: Rosi Andrade, rosia@email.arizona.edu

In collaboration with Sowing the Seeds, this project focused on building women's leadership capacity.

Contact: Sally Stevens, sstevens@email.arizona.edu

This was a collaborative project between six universities; two universities in Mexico; two in the United States and two in Canada.  The purpose of the project was to support student exchanges and two summer institutes.  The exchanges occurred during the fall and spring semesters with students from all three countries participating.  The summer institutes were co-taught by faculty from the six institutions during the summer of 2006 (in Canada) and in 2007 (Mexico) with students from all three countries.  This project was funded by the University of Cincinnati through The Improvement of Post-Secondary Education. 

Contact: Corey Knox, cknox@email.arizona.edu

The goal of the UA-ADVANCED Program was to increase the participation of women in the scientific and engineering workforce through the increased representation and advancement of women in academic scientific and engineering careers.  The award allowed the UA to build on more than a decade of intensive work at the UA to identify and address equity issues for faculty.  UA-ADVANCED had three major themes: (1) fostering the scientific and leadership careers of women, (2) promoting responsibility for equity among faculty and administrators, and (3) equipping the institution for sustainable transformation.  The program, focused in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) areas, initiated a series of activities including distinguished lectureships, interdisciplinary grant competitions, education on the role that subtle discrimination and unconscious bias plays in the hiring, promotion, and retention of tenure-track faculty, and developed a unique software program to promote more equitable decision-making in the university environment.  In addition to these activities, UA-ADVANCED has a significant research component focused on the issue of gender equity in the academy.  While each of the three Workgroups included in UA-ADVANCED have an internal evaluation component, SIROW served as the “external evaluator” complimenting the evaluations conducted by the workgroups.