MSSEF board member and award-winning meteorologist Mish Michaels collaborated with Gerhard Sonnert and Philip Sadler, both of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, on an article that explores the relationship between gender and the science fair experience. Entitled, “Gender Aspects of Participation, Support, and Success in a State Science Fair,” the paper considers data from student participation in the 2009 Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair, investigating the role that gender played in students’ participation, choice of science field, award of prizes, and mentioning inspiring teachers.
Among the findings:
- Rather than being under-represented at this science fair, girls were were slightly overrepresented, making up 62% of 2009′s Massachusetts state high school fair participants.
- Girls exhibited a strong preference for the life sciences.
- A gender-matched student–teacher pair held no advantage when it came to outcomes.