The Influence of Science Summer Camp on African-American High School Students' Career Choices

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Abstract

This study explored if a weeklong science camp changed Louisiana African-American high school students' perception of science. A semi-structured survey was used before and after the camp to determine the changes in science attitudes and career choices. Among the perceived benefits were parental involvement, increased science academic ability, and deepened scientific knowledge. These perceived benefits influenced the identities that students constructed for themselves in relation to science in their lives. Students who reported doing well in school science courses believed that science was more relevant to their lives. Female students who cited doing well in science reported less parental involvement in their schoolwork than males. This study draws attention to gender differences in science and to designing informal science learning experiences for African-American high school students that can change attitudes toward career choices in science-related fields.

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