CAREER: Talking Science

Early STEM Identity Formation Through Everyday Science Talk

The overarching goals of CAREER: Talking Science: Early STEM Identity Formation Through Everyday Science Talk (Talking Science) are to 1) develop an understanding of the salient structures and context of conversations that support STEM identity development in both majority and Hispanic/Latino populations and 2) translate the research outcomes into informal STEM learning practices that contribute to young people's perception of themselves as STEM professionals (i.e., scientists, engineers, mathematicians). Recently Dou et al. (2019) explored a variety of early informal STEM learning experiences and found that even when controlling for parental support and education, talking with friends and family about science during a person’s formative years (i.e., 5 to 9 years old) predicted their STEM identity later in life, while activities like attending after school science programs, competitions, and tinkering with electronics did not.

Although this surprising finding expanded our understanding of the early contributors to STEM- career choice, the mechanisms by which “talking about science” promotes young people’s identification with STEM are not understood. Large gaps exist in the research literature that leave many questions about the content, context, and structure of effective “science talk” unanswered. Even less is understood about the extent to which these conversation features differ for Hispanic/Latino individuals.

  • Focus: Children ages 5 to 9
  • Funder: National Science Foundation
  • Team: Remy Dou (Principal Investigator)
  • Award Number: #1846167
  • Amount: $802,250.00
  • Contact:Remy Dou, STEM Transformation Institute