Month/Year of Graduation

5-2021

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Biomedical Biology (BTCHBS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dana Richter-Egger

Abstract

Service-learning has been shown to enhance academic and leadership skills while promoting community engagement and exposing students to different career opportunities (Esson et al., 2005). While the benefits of service-learning courses are clear, few STEM courses include service-learning components (Esson et al., 2005). Here, students in a totally online 2nd semester UNO chemistry course completed a service-learning project where they remotely led a live, inquiry-based STEM activity for Girl Scouts. To quantify the impact of service-learning on professional development, future career plans, and future volunteerism, a series of pre and post surveys were administered. Paired-sample t-tests revealed a statistically significant increase in the development of leadership and communication skills, as well as the likelihood of future community engagement following completion of the service-learning experience. While not significantly altered, future career plans may have been reinforced rather than changed. Additionally, because the nature of the service-learning experience was an informal science education activity, a statistically highly significant increase in the confidence at explaining complex scientific topics to younger audiences resulted. Such beneficial outcomes provide considerable support for the importance of including service-learning in STEM courses throughout undergraduate education as the beneficial outcomes are vital for preparation for further professional school as well as entrance into the workforce.

Available for download on Tuesday, May 03, 2022

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