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ERIC Number: EJ992152
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Beyond the Pipeline: STEM Pathways for Youth Development
Lyon, Gabrielle H.; Jafri, Jameela; St. Louis, Kathleen
Afterschool Matters, n16 p48-57 Fall 2012
As framed by national education policy priorities, the dominant metaphor describing participation and achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a "pipeline." The STEM workforce requires a "pipeline" of future scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. This pipeline begins in childhood and carries students through high school, college, and master's degrees, ending with a doctorate and a career in a STEM discipline. In this metaphor, students have a single path: they must develop an interest in STEM by middle school, choose particular courses in high school, and continue consistently and progressively with STEM study in college in order to end with a degree and career in STEM. The disproportionate exit from participation in STEM by minorities and girls throughout school and college, resulting in their underrepresentation in STEM careers, is referred to as the "leaky pipeline." Empowering underrepresented groups to pursue STEM interests is less a matter of repairing a "leaky pipeline" than of building pathways for meaningful participation. Moving beyond the pipeline is not only necessary for program design; it is an imperative for educational equity. Changing the metaphor from a pipeline to pathway transforms the purpose of the educational effort: rather than an endeavor in which students' experiences support STEM academic and workforce outcomes, STEM experiences are put to work in the service of youth development. (Contains 2 figures and 2 tables.)
National Institute on Out-of-School Time. Wellesley Centers for Women, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481. Tel: 781-283-2547; Fax: 781-283-3657; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois