Students who come from groups that are underrepresented STEM are more likely to feel like STEM is not “for” them. Groups of students who are less likely to feel engaged by STEM (generally) include girls, first-generation college students, rural students, and racially minoritized groups. Part of this detachment is that these groups of students are more likely to want to serve their community with their careers (altruistic career goals) and aren't as motivated by salary or prestige when choosing a career.
One way to demonstrate that STEM is "for" these students and serves the community is for students to see the STEM research going on in their own communities. Luckily, the University of Alabama has many researchers conducting research locally and addressing the challenges that students see in their own communities and family.
STEM researchers have the deep expertise in local STEM challenges and research, but not so much in K-12 teaching. That's where SciREN comes in. We will provide STEM researchers the foundational skills they need to translate their research passions into engaging and effective science, engineering, and other K-12 lessons. Participating researchers will learn about the essential of K-12 education, work with current K-12 teachers, and get feedback as they engage in the process.