STEM & STEAM

Increasing the inclusion of female-identified individuals and members of other underrepresented populations, such as racial and ethnic minority populations, in STEM and STEAM is critical to addressing inequities in education and the workforce.

STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEAM incorporates arts into STEM. SIROW’s work in these areas includes SIROW’s Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) program aimed at increasing the involvement of underrepresented groups in STEM and STEAM as well as the evaluation of programs to assess program impact on addressing social inequities.

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

The Bio/Diversity Project: Fostering Interest and Diversity in Environmental Science through the Lens of Biodiversity, is a collaboration between the UA Women in Science and Engineering Program (a program of SIROW), the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and Friends of Saguaro National Park. This project aims to increase the diversity of voices included in discussions of environmental issues and the development of solutions to address them by fostering the entry and success of under-represented populations (e.g., women, Native Americans, and Latinos) in environmental science disciplines along the K-16+ educational pipeline and into the environmental science workforce. In order to do so, partner organizations will implement a multi-pronged strategy that increases K-12 student access to culturally-relevant and place-based environmental science curriculum focused on the topic of biodiversity and provides targeted training and mentorship opportunities for university students to expose them to environmental science careers. In doing so, this project leverages the power of university-community partnerships and the unique expertise of partner organizations in order to increase participant knowledge of the importance of biodiversity, foster a sense of environmental responsibility to create ecosystems that enable a diverse range of living things to live and thrive, and strengthen opportunities for environmental science-related educational and work opportunities for youth from populations under-represented in environmental science fields and careers. Program evaluation will assess the impact programming has on science motivation, self-efficacy, and identity among participants.

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

CREATES Literacy is a collaboration between The Bio/Diversity Project (housed in the Women in Science and Engineering Program) and Recharge the Rain (housed in Project WET). This program aims to increase access to engaging, hands-on educational programming that links science, literacy, and creative communication by piloting an educator professional development and curricular development program with 3rd-8th grade teachers in the Tucson metro area. 

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

Project partners: Recharge the Rain

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

The NSF Convergence Accelerator supports use-inspired, team-based, multidisciplinary efforts that address challenges of national importance and will produce deliverables of value to society in the near future. The broader impact and potential societal benefit of this Convergence Accelerator Phase I project is to utilize artificial intelligence methods such as machine learning (ML) to achieve better water management outcomes that directly benefit society by developing the ability to better plan for and manage extreme events through improved hydrologic forecasting. HydroFrame-ML is motivated by, and structured around, applied solutions for water management planning and decision making. This project brings together the most physically rigorous national scale groundwater simulations developed through HydroFrame with national leaders in Earth Systems Modeling and water management. By providing end-to-end workflows combining state of groundwater science with operational management tools, HydroFrame-ML will advance both large-scale water management as well as our understanding of how human operations and groundwater interact in extreme events. WISE/SIROW supports the education and broadening participation components of this project, which focus on increasing engagement with Machine Learning and supporting the adoption of the developed technology among groups traditionally marginalized in computer science and geosciences.

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

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

The Imagine Your STEM Future (IYSF) program aims to increase interest, engagement, and persistence in STEM fields among girls and young women by providing hands-on engagement and mentoring to girls at Desert View High School. Mentors from the University of Arizona and Raytheon are trained to engage and support students in hands-on STEM activities and reflections and discussions surrounding STEM pathways and personal development.  WISE oversees program implementation and evaluation. 

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

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

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WISE team
Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) team

The Launching Your Career Symposium is an annual professional development and networking event targeted women in STEM students and early career professionals. Through a series of interactive workshops and panels, participants gain the skills and relationships that will help them successfully persist through their STEM journeys and into the workforce. WISE oversees all aspects of the program

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

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

WISE.jpg

WISE team
Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) team

The Women in STEM Mentorship Program provides University of Arizona graduate and undergraduate STEM students an opportunity to learn from the valuable experiences and wisdom of STEM professionals, faculty, and staff.  The program takes a holistic approach to the mentorship process valuing not only a student’s STEM experiences, but also their entire background and identity as a whole.  This program aims to create diverse, inclusive, and supportive mentoring relationships that foster the retention and success of women in STEM. University of Arizona graduate and undergraduate student (mentees) are matched with faculty, staff, and industry associates (mentors) based on their goals, career interests, and background.  The mentor/mentee pairs meet once a month at their convenience to have conversations regarding their STEM trajectory.  These conversations could include discussions about research, coursework, life post-graduation, how to navigate their respective fields, as well as looking for opportunities for career development.  The program provides a platform for networking and fostering community between women in STEM at the University of Arizona. Mentors and mentees are provided with training in order to help foster the development of meaningful and impactful mentor/mentee relationships.  WISE oversees all aspects of the program.

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

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

The Tucson Bee Collaborative is a partnership effort to increase awareness of Tucson’s exceptional bee diversity, and to empower future scientists by engaging them in research activities. Researchers, faculty, and staff from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Pima Community College, the University of Arizona, Flowing Wells High School, and Sunnyside High School work with citizens and students to collect and document bee species from the region. This enables researchers and conservationists to monitor and address population changes.  Educators are further working to build robust educational curriculum that will train and empower future scientists through course-based research experiences at both the high school and undergraduate levels.  WISE conducts process and outcomes evaluation related to the educational aspects of the effort.

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

Project partners: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Pima Community College, the University of Arizona, Flowing Wells High School, Sunnyside High school

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

The University of Arizona Girls Who Code Club aims to foster skill development and interest among girls in computer science and technology while addressing the gender gap in computer science and technology by providing targeted programming for 8th-12th grade girls. This club meets once a week for two hours on the University of Arizona campus. Club meetings combing skills-building and relationship-building activities. Participants learn core computer science skills, as well as building relationships with each other and the program facilitators (UA undergraduate students). Club members work collaboratively to design and carry out a community impact project using the skills they have developed. This club is a collaboration with the UA Libraries and utilizes the curriculum and program structure of the national organization, Girls Who Code.  

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

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

The Women in STEM Mentorship Program provides University of Arizona graduate and undergraduate STEM students an opportunity to learn from the valuable experiences and wisdom of STEM professionals, faculty, and staff.  The program takes a holistic approach to the mentorship process valuing not only a student’s STEM experiences, but also their entire background and identity as a whole.  This program aims to create diverse, inclusive, and supportive mentoring relationships that foster the retention and success of women in STEM. University of Arizona graduate and undergraduate student (mentees) are matched with faculty, staff, and industry associates (mentors) based on their goals, career interests, and background.  The mentor/mentee pairs meet once a month at their convenience to have conversations regarding their STEM trajectory.  These conversations could include discussions about research, coursework, life post-graduation, how to navigate their respective fields, as well as looking for opportunities for career development.  The program provides a platform for networking and fostering community between women in STEM at the University of Arizona. Mentors and mentees are provided with training in order to help foster the development of meaningful and impactful mentor/mentee relationships. 

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

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

Completed Projects

Completed projects are listed in alphabetical order.

Contacts: Sally Stevens, sstevens@email.arizona.edu & Rosi Andrade, rosia@email.arizona.edu

Funder: National Science Foundation

PIs: Sally Stevens & Rosi Andrade, University of Arizona

SIROW Collaborators: Strengthbuilding Partners; Hohokam Middle School; Lawrence Intermediate School; Pascua Yaqui Tribe

SIROW and its partners are currently working with over 30, 3rd-8th grade students in a program that combines one-on-one mentoring with science and engineering exploration in two Tucson area schools. In the summer of 2012, the NSF funded, i-STEM Project, was launched with the goal of designing, implementing and evaluating an innovative model for engaging underrepresented students, specifically Native Americans and Hispanic youth, in science, technology, engineering and math. Undergraduate and graduate UA students, including GWS grad students are volunteering as mentors to Yaqui youth as they work on hands on inquiry-based science related activities. The experiences, products, and information that will emerge from the i-STEM project will yield new avenues for community partnerships and suggest new strategies for increasing and diversifying STEM participation in our community, specifically among underrepresented groups. Throughout all of the phases of the project new information will be shared with participants, educators, scholars and anyone interested in creating meaningful, engaging science experiences and programs for underrepresented youth, specifically Native American and Hispanic youth. Please check the SIROW website (sirow.arizona.edu) for updates, products, curriculum and other information.

To view the iSTEM Mentoring Manual click HERE.
Visit the iSTEM website for more information about this project.

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

Project FUTUREBOUND: Identification Of Effective Strategies To Increase Placement And Success Of Women In Science And Engineering (Special Focus: Minority Women), was a collaborative project involving SIROW and Pima Community College (PCC). FUTUREBOUND aimed to significantly increase the enrollment, retention, and success rate of women, particularly of minority women, who initiate their studies at PCC and transfer to the UA in tracks leading to a Bachelors of Science degree or a graduate degree in astronomy, non-health related biosciences, chemistry, physics, technology and engineering-related fields.  Mexican American and American Indian students made up a substantial portion of the target population.  The joint PCC/UA program offered career workshops at PCC and a year-long research internship after transferring to the UA.  Upon transfer to the UA as a junior, the student had a choice of diverse research experiences from laboratory work on genetics to fieldwork in local desert habitats.  A research seminar course taught students to present scientific research in oral and poster format, and provided an opportunity to share their research experience with other transfer students in the program.  Workshop, mentoring and career seminars helped to guide participants towards a successful transfer experience at the UA.  In addition, participants gained the experience needed to apply for other in-depth research programs at the UA as well as graduate programs in the sciences and engineering.  Futurebound convened a conference entitled Shared Journeys: Empowering Futurebound Communities, Past, Present, and Future at the UA for university and community college representatives and for Futurebound alumnae.  Futurebound was funded by the National Science Foundation.

The Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) program aimed at increasing the involvement of underrepresented groups in STEM and STEAM.