Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership



First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Joseph Jesunathadas


The United States has examined the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education since before the turn of the century. STEM educators are still having the conversation around why more women are not joining STEM pathways. Girls and boys as early as birth are curious about the world; through their own lens they learn about gravity from dropping spaghetti on the floor or seeing a small insect on the wall. As children get older they are influenced by the perceptions of their parents and peers.

This study looked at the perception and career interests of girls in STEM and non-STEM schools. Student surveys included the Career Interest Questionnaire (CIQ) and the Semantics survey. The CIQ asked participants about their interests in STEM careers and college, and the Survey items were designed to measure understanding how girls feel about STEM. The participants in the study were from the same school district. One group of participants was from a non-STEM school (i.e., an art magnet school), and the other group was from a STEM magnet school. All participants were females from grades 4 or 5. The STEM group of participants in the study had access to Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Launch curriculum designed for kindergarten through 5th grade. The STEM students had access to PLTW Launch curriculum beginning in kindergarten, and the other group in the study did not have access to PLTW Launch or other STEM curriculum.