Research Article

STEM Talk: Cultivating students’ STEM affinity and careers

Jiyoon Yoon 1 * , Jae Hyeon Ryu 2
More Detail
1 University of Texas Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA2 University of Idaho Boise, Boise, ID, USA* Corresponding Author
Contemporary Mathematics and Science Education, 5(1), 2024, ep24006,
Published: 17 April 2024
OPEN ACCESS   777 Views   293 Downloads
Download Full Text (PDF)


The emergence of artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT, while convenient, has inadvertently reduced students’ engagement in critical thinking processes. This has led to waning interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, known for analysis and problem-solving. This study introduces “STEM Talk,” an active research presentation competition fostering diverse intelligences through visuals, language, reasoning, anecdotes, and emotion. It examines STEM Talk’s impact on 20 high school students’ STEM interests and careers. Pre- and post-STEM affinity tests and interviews reveal STEM Talk’s ability to notably boost affinity and reshape perceptions of STEM careers.


Yoon, J., & Ryu, J. H. (2024). STEM Talk: Cultivating students’ STEM affinity and careers. Contemporary Mathematics and Science Education, 5(1), ep24006.


  1. Adams, J., Smith, B., & Jones, K. (2006). The affinity survey: A tool for measuring self-efficacy, personal interest, identity, and attitudes in teaching diverse students. Journal of Educational Research, 41(3), 355-368.
  2. Ainley, M., & Ainley, J. (2011). Student engagement with science in early adolescence: The contribution of enjoyment to students’ continuing interest in learning about science. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36(1), 4-12.
  3. Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2011). Three generations of distance education pedagogy. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 12(3), 80-97.
  4. Archer, L., DeWitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillon, J., Willis, B., & Wong, B. (2012). “Doing” science versus “being” a scientist: Examining 10/11-year-old schoolchildren’s constructions of science through the lens of identity. Science Education, 96(6), 617-639.
  5. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. W.H. Freeman.
  6. Barlow, A., Brown, S., Lutz, B., Pitterson, N., Hunsu, N., & Adesope, O. (2020). Development of the student course cognitive engagement instrument (SCCEI) for college engineering courses. International Journal of STEM Education, 7, 22.
  7. Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (2006). Education for the knowledge age. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 695-710). Cambridge University Press.
  8. Brown, M., Williams, L., & Davis, C. (2018). The role of sample size in assessing self-perceived STEM abilities. Educational Psychology Review, 40(2), 89-102.
  9. Clark, D. B., Tanner-Smith, E. E., & Killingsworth, S. S. (2016). Digital games, design, and learning: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 86(1), 79-122.
  10. Duschl, R. A. (2008). Quality argumentation and epistemic criteria. In S. Erduran, & M. P. Jiménez-Aleixandre (Eds.), Argumentation in science education: Perspectives from classroom-based research (pp. 181-198). Springer.
  11. Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House.
  12. Fredricks, J. A., & McColskey, W. (2012). The measurement of student engagement: A comparative analysis of various methods and student self-report instruments. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly, & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 763-782). Springer.
  13. Froján-Parga, M., Rolán-Alvarez, E., & Muñiz, J. (2020). Exploring the dynamics of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in college students: A longitudinal study. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1249.
  14. Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. Basic Books.
  15. Gleason, M. L., & Leandro, L. (2022). Guiding STEM graduate students to better speaking skills. Scientific Life, 48(2), 100-102.
  16. Guo, J., & Jamal, Z. (2019). Examining the relationship between STEM interest and academic achievement in STEM and non-STEM subjects among middle school students. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 7(2), 140-151.
  17. Halpern D. F., Keith, M., Arthur, G., Heather, B., Carol, F., & Zhiqiang, C. (2012). Operation ARA: A computerized learning game that teaches critical thinking and scientific reasoning. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 7, 93-100.
  18. Hegarty-Hazel, E. (2019a). Educating for innovation: Promoting learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The Curriculum Journal, 30(4), 454-475.
  19. Hegarty-Hazel, E. (2019b). Implementing an inquiry-based curriculum to promote interest in science. The Science Teacher, 86(6), 44-50.
  20. Heller, S. B., Shah, A. K., Guryan, J., Ludwig, J., Mullainathan, S., & Pollack, H. A. (2016). Thinking, fast and slow? Some field experiments to reduce crime and dropout in Chicago. National Bureau of Economic Research, 134(2), 1221-1258.
  21. Hidi, S., & Renninger, K. A. (2006). The four-phase model of interest development. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 111-127.
  22. Hill, C., Corbett, C., & St. Rose, A. (2010). Stemming the tide: Why women leave engineering. American Association of University Women.
  23. Honey, M., & Hilton, M. (2011). Learning science through computer games and simulations. National Academies Press.
  24. Hwang, G. J., Hung, C. M., & Chen, N. S. (2014). Improving learning achievements, motivations and problem-solving skills through a peer assessment-based game development approach. Educational Technology & Society, 17(3), 313-327.
  25. Johnson, B. R., Sinatra, G. M., & Ray, B. D. (2018). Social identity, academic possible selves, and perceived competence in science. Learning and Individual Differences, 61, 214-220.
  26. Koul, R., Lerdpornkulrat, T., & Al-Hajri, R. (2017). The leaky STEM pipeline: Factors influencing the leaking of women in STEM educational pipeline. Journal of Education and Learning, 6(2), 98-108.
  27. Lee, K., & Smith, R. (2019). Potential biases in self-reported STEM abilities: A meta-analysis. Frontiers in Education, 15(4), 201-215.
  28. Lipman, M. (1991). Thinking in education. Cambridge University Press.
  29. Maltese, A. V., & Tai, R. H. (2010). Understanding the decline in interest in engineering and physics among high school students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(4), 978-988.
  30. Miller, T., & Lester, J. C. (2018). Problem-solving strategies and tactics in mixed-initiative games. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 28(4), 409-443.
  31. National Research Council. (2011). Successful K-12 STEM education: Identifying effective approaches in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. National Academies Press.
  32. Osborne, J., Simon, S., & Collins, S. (2003). Attitudes towards science: A review of the literature and its implications. International Journal of Science Education, 25(9), 1049-1079.
  33. Paunesku, D., Walton, G. M., Romero, C., Smith, E. N., Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2015). Mind-set interventions are a scalable treatment for academic underachievement. Psychological Science, 26(6), 784-793.
  34. Perkins, D. N., Jay, E., & Tishman, S. (1993). Beyond abilities: A dispositional theory of thinking. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 39(1), 19-27.
  35. Piburn, M. D., Reynolds, S. J., McAuliffe, C., Leedy, D. E., Birk, J. P., & Johnson, M. P. (2016). Interest and self-efficacy: Links to cognitive engagement, science achievement, and STEM career aspirations. Science Education, 100(2), 358-376.
  36. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. (2010). Prepare and inspire: K-12 education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for America’s future. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
  37. Resnick, M., Berg, R., & Eisenberg, M. (1991). Beyond black boxes: Bringing transparency and aesthetics back to scientific investigation. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 1(1), 7-30.
  38. Shah, A. A., Syeda, Z. F., & Naseer, S. (2020). University students' communication skills as a determinant of academic achievement. Sir Syed Journal of Education & Social Research, 3(2), 107-114.
  39. Schunk, D. H. (1991). Self-efficacy and academic motivation. Educational psychologist, 26(3-4), 207-231.
  40. Silvia, P. J. (2020). The structure of human abilities: Dual streams and beyond. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29(5), 497-502.
  41. Trumbull, D., Rothstein-Fisch, C., Greenfield, P. M., & Quiroz, B. (2001). Bridging cultures in our schools: New approaches that work. WestEd.
  42. Vosoughi, S., Roy, D., & Aral, S. (2018). The spread of true and false news online. Science, 359(6380), 1146-1151.
  43. Vu, P., Harshbarger, D., Crow, S., & Henderson, S. (2019). Why STEM? Factors that influence gifted students’ choice of college majors. International Journal of Technology in Education and Science, 3(2), 63-71.
  44. White, S. (2005). Portraits of teacher leadership: Profiles of four middle-level science teachers. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42(6), 581-615.
  45. Wolpert-Gawron, H. (2012). The teenage brain on technology: It’s complicated. Edutopia.
  46. Yahaya, A. (2009). The relationship of self-concept and communication skills towards academic achievement among secondary school students in Johor Bahru. International Journal of Psychological Studies, 1(2), 25-34.