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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Imprimir: 1072-8325
ISSN En Línea: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2019027238
pages 211-229

FASHION FUNDAMENTALS: FOSTERING EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL-PSYCHOLOGICAL GROWTH FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS THROUGH AN UNCONVENTIONAL STEM LEARNING PROGRAM

Jennifer Paff Ogle
Department of Design & Merchandising, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1574, USA
Karen H. Hyllegard
Department of Design & Merchandising, Colorado State University, 1574 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1574
Juyeon Park
Department of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

SINOPSIS

With this work, we explore outcomes of participation in Fashion FUNdamentals (FF), a STEM summer enrichment program designed exclusively for middle school girls which is grounded in worldview theory and research on the maker movement suggesting that adolescent girls' "passion for fashion" can be harnessed to build their interest and skills in the STEM disciplines and to nurture their self-confidence and self-esteem. Data were collected via focus groups with 69 girls who had participated in the program. Eight focus groups were conducted across three summers (2015–2017), and participants ranged in age from 10 to 13 (mean age = 11.3 years). The qualitative data were analyzed using constant comparison processes. Analyses revealed that girls perceived that participating in the STEM program shaped them in four primary ways: (a) expanding their understanding of the global textile and apparel industry as a STEM-based discipline, (b) enriching their understanding of conventional STEM disciplines, (c) building a foundation for personal/social-psychological well-being, and (d) building a foundation for academic and professional success. Additionally, because the focus group methodology is well-suited for delineating a diversity of participant experiences, we identified a fifth theme: (e) revealing trials encountered as a program participant and opportunities to strengthen the program. Taken together, the findings provide support for the central premise of worldview theory and findings from research on the maker movement, namely, that STEM learning can be fostered by linking educational content to subjects—such as art, craft, design, and fashion—that girls often find to be personally meaningful and engaging.

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