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STEM Education & Training TIG Week: Decreasing Intersectional Barriers in Youth Interventions by Shetay Ashford-Hanserd and Kathy Haynie

It’s me again, AEA365. Today’s is another that comes from the AEA365 archives, this time originally posted in 2020. This post is full of resources for conducting culturally responsive evaluations. Perhaps you’ll find something new for your evaluator toolkit.

Hi, we are Shetay Ashford-Hanserd and Kathy Haynie, and we had a panel discussion at AEA 2019 entitled, “Intersectionality, Equity, and Evaluation: Decreasing Intersectional Barriers in NSF-Funded Youth Interventions”. In our discussion, we shared our experiences with three projects addressing equity issues faced by Black and Latino youth pursuing STEM degrees, Indigenous youth engaged in STEM education, and Black young women entering computer science study.  Each program has distinct intervention and evaluation strategies developed to capture the intervention’s success given the set of barriers experienced by participants. 

Shetay Ashford-Hanserd and Rosio Pedroso discussed how ACCEYSS (Association of Collaborative Communities Equipping Youth for STEM Success) is engaging with a myriad of organizations to collectively impact Black and Latino youth in attaining STEM degrees.  Nichole Bowman discussed culturally responsive STEM evaluation within and across Tribal/First Nations communities. Kathy Haynie and Martha Escobar shared culturally responsive teaching approaches utilized for the LEGACY project which prepares black young women from Alabama for AP CS Principles. We invite you to join this imperative conversation.

Hot Tip: 

Use an intersectionality framework that involves not only unique circumstances and identity, but also possible discrimination/isms/attitudes that impact identity and social and cultural structures that reinforce exclusion. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, intersectionality is defined as “the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect.”

Where possible, structure learning environments where students from one intersectional category can experience themselves as a majority. For example, young black girls may face the same challenges as other people of color, other young people, and other females. However, the challenges they encounter as young black women are unique to the intersection of their age, race, and gender. The opportunity to get to know, for example, many other young black women can be incredibly affirming of their emerging identities. 

Lesson Learned: 

  • Multiple sources of inequity have an interactive effect, which allows for more adequate research and evaluation designs that view participants holistically.
  • Ignoring intersectionality when conducting an evaluation can gloss over unique challenges to equity experienced at the intersection of a person’s circumstances.

Rad Resources:

The American Evaluation Association is hosting STEM Education and Training TIG Week with our colleagues in the STEM Education and Training Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from our STEM TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this AEA365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the AEA365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an AEA365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to AEA365@eval.org. AEA365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

1 thought on “STEM Education & Training TIG Week: Decreasing Intersectional Barriers in Youth Interventions by Shetay Ashford-Hanserd and Kathy Haynie”

  1. Hi Shetay and Kathy,
    My name is Charlotte and I am a student in the Professional Masters of Education at Queens University and a primary grades educator in British Columbia. One of our assignments is to connect with an article that we found interesting, and I was very intrigued by yours.
    As a member of a minority, I am always at least somewhat aware of how I am being perceived and which aspects of my identity others are responding to. As an educator, it is important to me to ensure that my students don’t feel limited or judged by their own identities but see themselves as capable and worthy of whatever path they choose. However, as you mention, oftentimes there are many obstacles and challenges that minorities, like Black, Latino, and Indigenous individuals, might face in accessing fields such as STEM. However, your suggestion of creating situations where students can experience being in the majority is incredibly powerful. In my own experiences, this allows these students to feel seen as unique individuals without having to explain themselves. Within this group, individuals can thrive and challenge each other in their learning because they already come from a common place. Outside of this group, these individuals are able to offer suggestions or provide context of their unique situations. In this way, they are the experts who are providing valuable information, a situation that some students might not have experienced before.
    As a primary grade classroom teacher, I try to regularly incorporate STEM projects into my class. Are there any significant strategies that can be incorporated from the intersectionality framework beyond STEM? As well, are there any strategies you have found to be unique to this context?

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