High School Students' Experience with Near-peer Mentorship and Laboratory-based Learning: In their own words
Keywords: internships, STEM, high school, qualitative,
AbstractDesigned to bring experiential learning and mentoring to middle and high school students from diverse populations in the MNOP area, the ABC program has provided thousands of community students a one-week internship in a fully equipped teaching laboratory at the XXX Institute. Pre-college ‘interns’ participate in laboratory-based scientific investigations and explore their unique interests through projects that mirror current research. The program is guided by near-peer mentors, college STEM majors in a combined laboratory and mentoring internship. This study examines the experiences of ABC students through their own words. Over three years, free-response surveys were administered to 222 ABC students in eleventh and twelfth grades. The research questions focused on: 1) how relationships with near-peer mentors’ impacted them; 2) their involvement with the inquiry-based approaches; and 3) any increased and/or continued interest in pursuing STEM as an extension of their experience. Students reported significant benefits from near-peer mentorship, particularly guidance in the areas of science learning, educational planning, and life lessons. Students indicated that the ABC program allowed them to learn important life skills and that they wanted to pursuit scientific education and careers.
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