STEM for All (2017-2018)

A student’s self-efficacy, or the feeling that one can succeed in a task or major, is found to play an important role in the retention of under-represented groups in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors. Studies suggest that the use of active-learning techniques in the classroom can foster students’ self-efficacy.

This team examined the role of self-efficacy and active learning in improving retention rates of women and minorities in STEM majors. Building on research by previous versions of this team, the 2017-2018 team focused on active-learning techniques centered around the individual student, as opposed to group/peer methods, and considered the roles of race and ethnicity in the retention rates of undergraduate STEM majors.

Using previously collected quantitative and qualitative data, the team found that women have lower confidence/self-efficacy beliefs regarding their abilities to succeed in STEM. This was especially true for women in engineering as opposed to those in arts and sciences majors.

The team also found that there was no significantly different effect of teaching styles on women's and men's self-efficacy, but that women's self-efficacy (which started at lower levels) was improved by both lecture and active-learning teaching techniques. The team hypothesized that learning new material may help to equalize the confidence levels of women to levels comparative to men's.

The team also participated in Lilly Conference on Evidence-based Teaching and Learning in Asheville, North Carolina, in August 2018.


Summer 2017 – Summer 2018

Team Outcomes

STEM for All (talk by Aarthi Sridhar and Kameron Sedigh), EHDx, April 19, 2018

STEM for All (poster by Brigid Burroughs, Jennifer Ling, Kameron Sedigh, Emily Phillips Longley, Gauri Kamat, Katharyn Loweth, Aarthi Sridhar, Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel, Genna Miller, Dylan Liu), presented at EHDx, April 19, 2018


Jennifer Ling

Katharyn Loweth

This Team in the News

Meet the Members of the 2018-19 Student Advisory Council

Duke Seniors Share What Was Most Meaningful about Their Bass Connections Experiences

This project team was originally part of the Education & Human Development theme of Bass Connections, which ended in 2022. See earlier related team, STEM for All (2016-2017).

Bass Connections team member.

Team Leaders

  • Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel, Arts & Sciences-Statistical Science
  • Genna Miller, Arts & Sciences-Economics

/graduate Team Members

  • Gauri Kamat, Statistical Science - MS
  • Qi Liu, Statistical Science - MS
  • Emily Phillips Longley, Physics-PHD, Physics-AM
  • Aarthi Sridhar, Civil & Environmental Engg-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Brigid Burroughs, Psychology (AB)
  • Jennifer Ling, Evolutionary Anthropology (BS)
  • Katharyn Loweth, Int Comparative Studies (AB)
  • Kameron Sedigh, Political Science (AB)