ProjectPRISM

Promoting rising inclusion and STEM motivation

How can we make STEM a more attractive and meaningful option for adolescent girls and boys alike? Project PRISM will establish best practices for boosting girls’ belonging in STEM, while bolstering boys’ respect for girls’ abilities.

Stage

High School

Key Obstacle

Lack of Perceived Fit

Goals

Change boy’s biases and girls’ perceived fit into STEM to change behaviour.

The Problem

During Grades 7-9, adolescents begin to form their adult identity and choose pursuits that fit their values and self-beliefs. Some girls never consider STEM careers because they see science and technology as a poor fit to their personal values. Others feel unwelcome by peers who fail to acknowledge, validate, or respect their abilities. Either obstacle can inhibit girls from developing STEM as a core identity and taking advanced math and science coursework.

Our Approach / Goals

​​​​​​​To combat obstacles girls may face in pursuing a STEM career, Project PRISM will test interventions that: (1) change boys’ beliefs about girls via implicit bias training and presenting real evidence that test scores underestimate girls’ abilities, (2) expose girls to successful role models who share their values and preferences, and (3) encourage girls to identify with STEM by recognizing that a STEM career can help them accomplish some of their most cherished goals.

 

In partnership with Actua, a non-profit umbrella organization that supports summer science camps across Canada, Project PRISM will test the long-term benefits of interventions delivered to students in Grades 7-9 during a week-long science camp. Students in the PRISM workshops will be compared to other students who participate in the same camp programs during weeks without our interventions.

Photo Credit: Geering Up

Key Leaders

Steve Spencer PhD

Professor of Psychology, University of Waterloo; Robert K. and Dale J. Weary Chair in Social Psychology, Ohio State UniversityRead Bio

Mary Wells PhD

Associate Dean of Outreach in the Faculty of Engineering; Professor of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, University of WaterlooRead Bio

The Team

The Project PRISM team combines expertise in the science of implicit gender bias, bias reduction, intergroup contact, and STEM outreach.

Andrew Baron PhD

Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of British ColumbiaRead Bio

Hilary Bergsieker PhD

Assistant Professor of Social Psychology, University of WaterlooRead Bio

Stephen Wright PhD

Canada Research Chair in Social Psychology, Simon Fraser UniversityRead Bio

Lesley Shannon PhD

NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (BC/Yukon); Associate Professor, School of Engineering Sciences, Simon Fraser UniversityRead Bio

Sheryl Staub-French PhD

Goldcorp Professor for Women in Engineering; Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, University of British ColumbiaRead Bio

Project Partners

Project PRISM proudly partners with University of Waterloo, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the Ontario Network for Women in Engineering (ONWiE), Engineering Science Quest (ESQ), Geering UP, Actua, Science World, Engineers Canada, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC), PCL Construction, Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM), the Engineering Change Lab, the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST), and the National Network of NSERC Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering.

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