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Gender Aspects of the Science Fair Experience

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.

The article has been published in "School Science and Mathematics," the international journal of the School Science and Mathematics Association.

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