The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Twin Cities Public Television's (TPT) National Productions Department a $1.5 million grant for a three-year professional development and research initiative, "SciGirls Strategies: Gender Equitable Teaching Practices in Career and Technical Education Pathways for High School Girls."
The program will be under the direction of Principal Investigator Rita Karl. Co-Principal Investigators are Brenda Britsch from the National Girls Collaborative (NGC) and Associate Professor Siri Anderson, program director of Online Learning in the Education Department, St. Catherine University. In addition, Associate Professor of Social Work Lisa Kiesel will serve on the advisory board for the program.
The project is funded by the NSF Interactive Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program and is designed to help Twin Cities' career and technical education (CTE) educators and guidance counselors recruit and retain more high school girls from diverse backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) pathways.
In addition to St. Catherine and NGC, TPT will partner with STEM and gender equity researchers from the University of Colorado-Boulder, the Minnesota Department of Education, and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. The goal of the partnership is to develop instructional modules and media-based online resources for high school career and technical education (CTE) programs in the Twin Cities and pilot them in districts with strong community college and industry partnerships.
"This NSF grant work is a wonderful opportunity to extend St. Catherine University's reach and our learning to support young women forge new pathways into engineering and computer science," says Anderson. "One of the core elements of our work will be around mentoring relationships — both virtual and real — between women in these fields and young women in related career and technical education courses."
Anderson said St. Kate's alumnae in STEM fields, especially those in computer science and engineering fields, are encouraged to call the University's Alumnae Relations Office to express their interest.
The grant will address the current climate where women and girls comprise fewer than one in four students in high school-level STEM career and technical education programs, fewer than one in six students in manufacturing and construction-related CTE programs, and fewer than one in 10 students in transportation and logistics CTE programs.
The new programming will be based on SciGirls. This TPT Emmy award-winning television program and outreach program draws on cutting-edge research about what engages girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning and careers.