Kam Hung Yee

Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Space Studies

First Advisor

James Casler


Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields struggle to increase recruitment and retention of girls of color. The dominant framework in STEM education is the pipeline which assumes girls in general lack motivation and interest to persist in STEM fields. Recent public discourse shifts to address institutionalized discrimination and systemic barriers in STEM culture that filter out underrepresented populations.

Informal education or complementary learning STEM programs offer alternative opportunities for students to explore outside of rigid school academic and social systems. Few articles look specifically at STEM complementary learning programs, and even fewer focus on the effects on girls of color. This research is a quantitative study to categorize existing mission statements and training behind organizations that provide STEM programs. The results will provide a better understanding of the relationship between practices of STEM education organizations and the programs they create. Diversity training and inclusive language in mission statements had weak correlations with increased cultural responsiveness in the program offerings. The results suggest organizations must be more intentional and explicit when implementing diversity goals.