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Fostering aGIRLculture: STEM camp solving the grand challenges of the 21st century
Denita Hadziabdic: University of Tennessee; Lori Duncan: University of Tennessee; Andrea Ludwig: University of Tennessee; Annette Wszelaki: University of Tennessee; Bonnie Ownley: University of Tennessee, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology; Bonnie Ownley: University of Tennessee; Christine Buschermohle: University of Tennessee; Kimberly Gwinn: University of Tennessee, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology; Natalie Bumgarner: University of Tennessee; Faith Critzer: University of Tennessee; Lannett Edwards: University of Tennessee; Lisa Muller: University of Tennessee; Carrie Stephens: University of Tennessee; Margarita Velandia: University of Tennessee; Jennifer DeBruyn: University of Tennessee; Elizabeth Gall: University of Tennessee; Joanne Logan: University of Tennessee; Rebecca Trout Fryxell: University of Tennessee; Heather Kelly: University of Tennessee; Karen Lewis: University of Tennessee; Sharon Jean-Philippe: University of Tennessee; Karen Jones: University of Tennessee; Doris D'Souza: University of Tennessee, Food Science Dep
<div>To meet the demands of increased world population and expectations of feeding approximately 9.7 billion people by 2050, there is a critical need for expanding post-secondary education focused on science, technology, mathematics and engineering<i> </i>(STEM) disciplines. Current college participation rates for rural Tennessee, U.S., are low compared to national standards and students are unaware of professional career opportunities in STEM areas. Although the majority of students that enroll in colleges are female, they are not pursuing STEM disciplines. Recent findings indicated that having a female professor as a guide and role model from a female student’s perspective was linked to increased implicit science identity and decreased implicit gender stereotyping. Hence, a team of 24 female faculty members from the University of Tennessee developed and implemented a 3-day summer camp titled ‘Cultivating aGIRLculture’. The project objectives were 1)<b> </b>to<b> </b>recruit high school female students from rural communities and expose them to higher education and careers in STEM disciplines, 2) to<b> </b>cultivate a climate that is free of gender biases and stereotypes in STEM careers, and 3)<b> </b>to<b> </b>enhance female faculty collaboration across different disciplines to further improve educational, research, and outreach efforts. Data included pre- and post-surveys to evaluate attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge of camp participants, undergraduate chaperones, and faculty collaborators. <p><b> </b></div>

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