Cultivating Tomorrow’s Engineers through the Entertainment & Hospitality Landscape.

Informal STEM engagement and learning program for middle school students of grades 6, 7 and 8.

This ” Innovations in Development” project funded by NSF AISL- Advancing Informal STEM Learning program aims to foster the development of STEM identity among a diverse group of middle school students and, in turn, motivate them to pursue STEM interests and careers.

The Lab will run for three years (starting in Summer 2022) with cohorts of 40 students each (N=120) with the aim of iteratively improving its activities and outcomes from year to year. The local school district helps recruiting middle school students who have demonstrated low interest in STEM to participate in the Lab, ensuring that participants reflect the demographic makeup of the Las Vegas community in terms of race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender. Summer activities take students behind the scenes of the city’s major E&H venues; investigate the workings of large-scale displays, light shows, and “smart hospitality” systems; and then build their own smaller-scale engineering projects.

Investigators employ the Dynamic Systems Model of Role Identity (DSMRI) framework to study how intentionally designed Lab experiences shape students’ understanding of themselves, their future aspirations, and their grasp of the scientific enterprise. Summer activities are integrated into the online learning platform at the end of each year of Vegas STEM Lab, and in the final year of the project, workshops will train local educators to use the platform in either formal or informal learning settings

Materials and research findings produced through this work will be disseminated to middle school teachers and after-school care providers and shared with researchers through academic publications and conferences.

See year-to year progress of the project on the website pages.