Gagnon to Use NSF Grant to Engage Girls in Science, Tech

May 22, 2018

Girls’ interest in art and media design may be a means of engaging them in science and technology related to information and communication. At the same time, approaching science within the context of communication — rather than experiments and hard facts — may prompt more girls to follow career paths based on science.

WCER researcher David Gagnon will pursue these possibilities through a National Science Foundation grant for a project called Girl Augmented-Reality Toward Science. The study will help about 100 girls ages 15 to 18 living in rural areas to broaden their views of what science entails and how their interest in art can help scientists communicate about their work through augmented reality stories and games.

Gagnon will use the $100,827 grant to learn which experiences best support girls’ competency in information and communication technology. He also will explore what motivates girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and how to engage them and other underrepresented groups of people in those fields.

His grant is part of a larger $1 million project being carried out by the University of Maryland with the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and Oregon State University.