My Daughter the Scientist? Mothers’ Perceptions of the Shift in Their Daughter’s Personal Science Identities

Donna Farland-Smith


This study reports on the perspective of mothers whose daughters underwent an extensive inquiry-focused interactive one-week science camp, which involved female middle school students and university scientists. This study focused on nine mother’s perceptions of the impact the camp had on their daughter’s science identities. Following the camp, parents were interviewed and reported that, among other things, their daughters had shifted to a much keener appreciation for science as a discipline, had a greater awareness of who scientists are, where their work, and what they do, as well as a broadened and more focused interest in science careers. Key to this paper is the profound ripple effect that these experiences with scientists had on the girls’ science identities once returning to a school setting. Based on data collected, these experiences with scientists prompted students to participate more in school science and express more interest in science for as much as a year following the camp. The reflections shared by parents following their daughters’ camp participation provide important insight for parents, teachers and informal educators in terms of how girls internalize these experiences in a way that effects their own perceptions of scientists and becomes incorporated into their individual science identities.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Donna Farland-Smith

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Journal of Educational Issues  ISSN 2377-2263


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