Educational and Social Psychological Outcomes of a STEM Program for Adolescent Girls
The purpose of this research was to explore how participation in Fashion FUNdamentals (FF) shaped girls' interest and confidence in the STEM disciplines, their STEM learning, and their feelings about themselves. FF is a two-week, no-cost, summer program (M-F, 9 am-5 pm) targeting underserved adolescent girls aged 10-13 years. Fashion FUNdamentals is a unique STEM program insomuch as it frames STEM learning within the context of fashion and includes both technical and social programming. FF has been offered three times (2015-2017) and has served 129 girls. At the conclusion of each year's program, the FF team conducted focus groups with participants. Analysis of focus group data revealed five themes. Findings demonstrate that participating in FF can support girls' STEM interest/confidence/comprehension as well as their self-confidence and educational and career preparedness, suggesting that adopting a lens of fashion to explore the STEM disciplines can promote girls' academic and personal development.