Title of Work

I Didn't Know What Real Science Was or What It Could Be: Citizen Science and Interest in STEM Education and Careers

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Publication/Presentation Date


City of Publication or Presentation

Minneapolis, MN



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Using the lens of social cultural career theory (SCCT), the purpose of the present study was to assess the role participation in informal citizen science played in youth's STEM educational and career choices. We examined fourteen student responses to semi-structured interviews and survey instruments from eighteen students for evidence of the SCCT constructs self-efficacy, outcome expectations, personal goals, interest, and learning experiences. Findings from this descriptive study showed positive self-efficacy in STEM courses and careers for youth who participated in an informal citizen science project. Through participation in citizen science, students experienced the relevance of contributing to an authentic science investigation, the rigor of citizen science protocols, and relationships with teacher mentors. Overall, the findings underscore the role of teacher mentors and authentic engagement in science in changing students' perceptions of science. Educational implications are discussed.

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