Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mathematical Sciences

First Advisor

Samantha R. Fowler

Second Advisor

Kastro M. Hamed

Third Advisor

Joo Young Park

Fourth Advisor

Keith Brian Gallagher


Young women may not realize that many of their cell phones, computers, TVs, cars, airplanes, and the technology around them, for the most part, have been designed by men. Men have been fundamental in designing these devices because women only account for a quarter of the workers in STEAM jobs. Because many women choose jobs and careers unrelated to STEAM, they are not part of the inclusive design and Engineering efforts that go into today’s products and technology. Given the underrepresentation of women as part of the design phase of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics, society is missing out on critical input, thoughts, and ideas that come from women. For these reasons, the purpose of this study was to immerse young women into a STEAM workbook to capture their emergent ideas and thoughts about STEAM. In order to gain more insight as to why fewer women choose STEAM careers, this study aimed to answer the following research questions: (1) How do thoughts and ideas about STEAM change in young women by their participation in a STEAM workbook workshop? (2) What thoughts and ideas emerge from young women who participate in a themed STEAM workbook project? and (3) How does working on the STEAM workbook help young women understand or see potential career opportunities that they might not have known about? This qualitative study examined 11 female teenagers' experiences as they created a workbook about a STEAM topic of their choice. The young women created an exploratory workbook that explained the research topic they chose and how it relates to STEAM. Participants were interviewed at the beginning, middle, and end of their workbook creation. With the results of the young women’s interactions, one peeled back the onion and found ground truth utilizing coding techniques to understand and extract abstract themes about the young women's interest in STEAM. Emergent themes from the data include design, relate, educate, social media, scrapbooking, forward, options, and role models. The theoretical framework: DRESS FOR STEAM, was created due to these findings. In addition, the framework yields guidance for future studies to consider for creating projects that motivate young women. Limitations of the study include reduced ability to have group settings and group interactions. Hands-on learning and in-person interaction were highly degraded due to COVID. In conclusion, the study revealed that young women are excited about STEAM. However, they may not know what Engineering is and that a new framework, DRESS FOR STEAM, can create future engaging studies.


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