Determining Quantity and Strength of Relationships between STEM Camp Participants and the Math Student Camp Leaders

Tracie Evans Reding, Amelia Squires, Neal Grandgenett, Sydney Keller, Hannah Grandgenett, Angie Hodge, Christina Argo, Katrina Jacobberger

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Abstract


There is a global issue concerning the disparity in educational achievement associated with the socioeconomic status of students, known in the U.S. as the Achievement Gap. This Achievement Gap highly correlates with what has been called the Opportunity Gap for professional careers. This paper discusses this Opportunity Gap and how the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) is addressing the gap at a local level through summer STEM camps. Specifically, this paper looks at the increase of social capital of the participants of the UNO and Girls Inc. Eureka-STEM! summer camp through the development of instructional relationships between underserved girls ages 12-14 and UNO’s Institutional Agents, namely the Mathematics student camp leaders who were also pursuing teacher certification. A new assessment approach through the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA) was used to determine the quantity and strength of supportive ties formed. Results suggest this assessment method is very promising and that supportive ties are indeed formed. Discussions concerning the importance of social capital for underserved girls are included.

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