School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Kurt Michael


Gender Middle School Occupation, Protestant Education, STEM Attitude, STEM Career


Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Methods | Instructional Media Design | Science and Mathematics Education


Inspiring learners toward career options available in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is important not only for economic development but also for maintaining creative thinking and innovation. Limited amounts of research in STEM education have focused on the population of students enrolled in religious and parochial schools, and given the historic conflict between religion and science, this sector of American education is worthy of examination. The purpose of this quantitative study is to extend Gottfredson's (1981) Theory of Circumscription and Compromise as it relates to occupational aspirations. Bem's (1981) Gender Schema Theory is examined as it relates to the role of gender in career expectations, and Crenshaw's (1989) Intersectionality Theory is included as it pertains to religion as a group identifier. Six professionals in STEM career fields were video recorded while being interviewed about their skills and education as well as positive and negative aspects of their jobs. The interviews were compiled into a 25-minute video for the purpose of increasing understanding of STEM careers among middle school viewers. The research questions asked whether middle school students from conservative, Protestant Christian schools in a Midwest region increased in STEM-subject attitude and STEM-career interest as a result of viewing the video and whether gender interacted with exposure to the video. A quasi-experimental, nonequivalent control groups, pretest/posttest factorial design was employed to evaluate data collected from the STEM Semantic Survey. A Two-Way ANCOVA revealed no significant differences in dependent variables from pretest to posttest. Implications of the findings are examined and recommendations for future research are made.