The STEM Effect

Developing a Research Action Agenda for Assessing the Long-Term Impacts of STEM Programs for Girls


The STEM Effect project is a collaborative effort led by the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the Education Development Center (EDC), and the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), to engage cultural organizations around the U.S. in developing a Collaborative Action Agenda for better understanding the mid- and long-term impacts of informal STEM programs for girls.

The project team has engaged with these institutions to synthesize their experiences and approaches with the existing research literature on girls in STEM, identify and refine a set of research and programming guidelines and best practices, examine the roadblocks to research, and find opportunities and capacities for gathering and analyzing data needed to understand mid- and long-term impact. A national webinar, hosted by the National Girls Collaborative Project, presented a draft Action Agenda to 245 registrants. The project team was gratified at the responses from the webinar attendees. 83% found the generalized logic model very or extremely relevant to their work. The five priority areas for research identified by the team were interesting to the respondents, especially the priority area which proposed an approach for building knowledge around how to design programs that support girls from non-dominant racial or ethnic groups in their STEM participation (more than 75% were very or extremely interested in further research in this area). 68% of respondents felt the critical junctures model was very or extremely helpful to understanding points where girls’ interest and engagement in STEM may need more support. Respondents were asked if they would consider using the action agenda in their future work. 57% responded that they probably or definitely would with another 39% responding that they possibly would be using it. We invite you to explore the action agenda below. We hope it will spark thought and provide a frame for future research!


The STEM Effect Action Agenda.pdf

Project Team

  • Dr. Lynda Kennedy, vice president for education and evaluation, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: Principal Investigator

  • Dr. Babette Moeller, distinguished scholar for EDC/Center for Children and Technology: Co-Principal Investigator

  • Dr. Alicia Santiago, cultural diversity consultant, National Girls Collaborative Project: Co-Principal Investigator

  • Sheri Levinsky-Raskin, MAT, assistant vice president for research and evaluation, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: Project Coordinator

  • Dr. Wendy Martin, EDC/Center for Children and Technology

  • Karen Peterson, M.Ed, founder and chief executive officer, National Girls Collaborative Project

Communication and Digital Engagement: Nancy Coddington, Director of Science Content, WSKG Public Media and New York

Project Evaluator: Colleen Manning, Director of research, Goodman Research Group

Advisory Board

  • Dr. Jennifer Adams, professor of science education

  • Dr. Quincy Brown, program director for STEM Education Research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

  • Dr. Lynn Dierking, professor in Free-Choice STEM Learning at the College of Science and interim associate dean at the College of Education at Oregon State University

  • Dr. John Easton, vice president of programs at the Spencer Foundation

  • Dr. Roxanne Hughes, director of the Center for Integrating Research and Learning at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Core Project Group

  • California Girls in STEM Network

  • Montana Girls STEM Collaborative Project

  • New York STEAM Girls Collaborative

  • Pennsylvania STEM Girls Collaborative Project

  • Texas Girls Collaborative Project

Join the conversation and get involved by following us on social media.


Sugary snack of the twitter chat

Thank you for joining our Twitter chat on January 16th where we discussed challenges of, promising practices, and assessing medium and long-term outcomes of informal STEM programs for middle and high-school aged girls.

We were joined by guest tweeters Dr. Linda Kekelis, Advisor STEM Next Opportunity Fund and Dr. Dale McCreedy, Vice President of Audience and Community Engagement at the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring.

Over 72 participants shared close to 450 tweets discussing this important topic. We had over a million impressions thanks to your involvement! You shared how crucial role models are to encouraging girls in STEM careers and that tracking girls through programs has its challenges.

You can follow the archived conversation using #STEMEffect on twitter and continue to offer your perspective.