Theses Doctoral

“I’m Ready for Scientifical Duty!” Young Museum Program Alumnus’ Orientations Towards Science

Horgan, Jacqueline

Science education has maintained a longstanding goal of enhancing societal interest, values, and understandings of science. Despite a series of public education reforms and efforts by scientific researchers, scientific literacy and passion remain sparse across the American public. In fact, many students demonstrate a lack of interest in the sciences as early as first grade, with major drop-offs occurring by the age of 14. This is further exacerbated for youth of color, as science is deeply rooted in pervasive and institutionalized racism. When accessible, out-of-school science experiences are uniquely positioned to promote youth agency, leverage students’ current values, and challenge structural inequities. Therefore, this work sought to highlight the narratives of three young science learners who identify as youth of color and graduated from an eight-year-long museum science program. A narrative inquiry was implemented, guided by Critical Race Theory and Cultural Learning Pathways as frameworks. Data from semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, and drawings provided insight into the students’ orientations towards science and the development of those orientations. The study took place during the Covid-19 outbreak. Implications of the pandemic on the study are discussed. Findings from the study suggest that students positively identify with science and feel at home in The Museum. It was also noticed, however, that the students maintained ideologies consistent with Western perspectives. Recommendations include creating homeplaces, making out-of-school learning more easily accessible, and creating justice-centered curricula.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Mensah, Felicia
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 3, 2021