Archived Programs

Previous GEM-SET Community Outreach Programs

    GEM-SET Mentoring For Success

    • GEM-SET Mentoring for Success, a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education Women’s Educational Equity Act (WEEA) ProgramSupport for the WEEA project is provided by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The contents of all GEM-SET Mentoring for Success publications and web sites do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal GovernmentProject Goal: The overall goal of this mentoring program was to increase the number of low-income, female students in Chicago Public Schools who pursue and excel in Advanced Placement or college level courses in mathematics, science, and computer science. This goal will be achieved through two main objectives including:

      1) connecting high school students to positive role models at UIC with a special emphasis on undergraduate women students with similar ethnic/racial backgrounds,

      2) increasing the access to college level (AP) courses within the high school and as part of the City Colleges of Chicago “College Excel Program for High School Students.”

      Conceptual Background: There is clearly a gender gap when comparing the number of female and males taking AP courses in the science, technology, and math (NSF, 1999). Research shows that the gender gap is slight up to about 6th grade, then in junior high and senior high the gap widens and differences in achievement levels increase each year (Metz & Staffin 1996). The reasons for the leak in the pipeline have been explained in a variety of ways including a pedagogy that favors male learning styles (AAUW, 2000), a geek mythology that steers girls into other academic pursuits (Margolis and Fisher, 2002), and gender-based societal stereotyping that clusters career choices based on gender (Thom, 2001). Research also shows that quality mentoring can have an impact on decisions such as course selection and career goals ( Rhodes, 2002). The GEM-SET Mentoring for Success program will add to the body of literature that shows how mentoring can positively impact high school students’ academic pursuits.

      Research Question: Does mentoring have an impact on Advance Placement and college level course selection in science, technology, and math?

      Study Design: UIC undergraduate students will be selected to mentor high school students in Chicago Public Schools over a four year period of time. Participants in the Chicago-area Girls’ Electronic Mentoring for Science, Engineering, and Technology (GEM-SET) will be offered the opportunity for intensive mentoring as part of the GEM-SET Mentoring for Success after school program. The students who receive this intensive AP course coaching will be expected to choose AP courses in higher numbers and to receive better grades than the group that does not receive the GEM-SET Mentoring for Success after school program. The program aims to recruit at minimum 6 undergraduate mentors, and 60 high school students who will be tracked over 4 years. The researchers will compare the outcomes of the 60 mentored students to 60 non-mentored students from the same schools, with similar race/ethnicity and SES backgrounds. The outcome variables that will be tracked are retention in the program, number of AP and/or college level courses selected, and grade result in the selected courses.

    WISE Neighbors

    The goal of the WISE Neighbors Grant program was to assist k-12 students and teachers in the Chicago area to encourage and support young women interested in pursuing a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degrees at the university level. Grants are currently being accepted on a rolling submission basis in the following areas: nanoscience and nanotechnology. 2005-2010 Grantee Listing.

    WISE Transition

    • The goal of WISE Transitions was to increase the participation of young women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education through improved outreach to potential STEM students. Project objectives were as follows:1) Establish a WISE Transitions advisory council with representatives from each institution that will build on an established mentoring program for female students at the junior high, senior high, and community college level. The council members will share resources to improve communication and therefore improve services to the target population;2) Increase target students’ awareness of STEM career options and their benefits;3) Improve the retention rate for female students from community colleges who transfer to UIC STEM departments by providing ongoing mentoring and community building.4) Direct students to STEM-oriented scholarships and internships.