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Debra C. Tyrrell


Enhancing students’ aspiration toward STEM-related careers is of a great importance for many communities that seeks the transformation to the knowledge-based economy. The problem this study explored was the literature gap in the relationship between Qatar students’ attendance in STEM-related extracurricular programs and their aspiration to pursue STEM-related specializations and careers. The purpose of this quantitative, pre-experimental study was to investigate the relationship between attending STEM extracurricular programs and change in students’ aspiration toward STEM careers. Additionally, the study aimed to investigate if the change in students’ aspiration depends on students’ gender and age group. Social cognitive career theory framed three research questions that examined 254 Qatari student aspirations toward STEM-related specializations and careers before and after attending STEM extracurricular programs in 36 schools. Students aspiration toward STEM careers was measured by the STEM Career Interest Survey (STEM-CIS). Repeated-measure ANOVAs were used to examine differences in students’ overall aspirations, males and female aspirations, and middle versus high school aspirations. Findings indicated that attending a 4-week STEM-related extracurricular program elicited a significant increase in students’ aspiration towards STEM-related careers and specializations. However, the change in students’ aspiration was not dependent on gender or age group. Findings may drive positive social change in Qatar STEM education by informing educators and policymakers regarding the benefits of STEM-related extracurricular programs in encouraging students to enroll in STEM- related degrees and pursue STEM careers.

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