Tomorrow’s STEM Leaders: Enacting STEM Education in Rural Schools and Maintaining Momentum
Abstract: This study is a continuation of our focus on rural elementary STEM teachers, and explores how individual community needs influenced their choice in study topic, their understanding of STEM, and how this will assist as they emerge as STEM leaders in their communities. This qualitative study explored the STEM topics researched by 13 rural elementary teachers who completed a Master’s degree. Through analysis of their thesis documents and interview transcripts, our initial findings show how connected each rural STEM teacher is to the community, and the students in the school. Each discussed the success of their STEM initiative project and are eager to transition into the next phase which will them move into the role of STEM leader for their communities. Our cohort looks forward to gaining leadership skills through professional development opportunities, as well as venues for sharing their work with other STEM and non-STEM teachers, administrators, and communities.