University of Missouri - Saint Louis

The Graduate School


An oral examination in defense of the dissertation for the degree

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Rona Robinson-Hill
M. Ed., Gifted Curriculum and Instruction, Maryville University – St. Louis, 2001
B.S., Biology, University of Missouri – Kansas City, 1983

The Journey of a Science Teacher: Preparing Female Students in the Training Future Scientist After-school Program



What affect does female participation in the Training Future Scientist (TFS) program based on Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory have on achievement levels in science and their attitude toward science and interest in science-based careers ? The theoretical framework for this study was developed through a constructivist perspective, using dialogic engagement, coinciding with Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural learning theory. This action research project, using mixed methods research design, targeted urban adolescent females who were members of Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis after-school program. The data collection measures were three qualitative instruments (semi-structured interviews, reflective journal entries and attitudinal survey open-ended responses) and two quantitative instruments (pre and post content tests from the MO Buckle-down Curriculum and attitudinal survey scaled responses). The goal was to describe the impact this after-school program has on their science content knowledge, attitude toward choosing a science career, and self-perception in science. Through the TFS after-school program participants had access to secondary science teacher-researcher, peer leaders that were in the 9th - 12th grade, and STEM role models from Washington University Medical School Young Scientist Program. The program utilized the Buckle-down Curriculum as a guide, peer-led cooperative learning groups, hands-on labs and demonstrations facilitated by the researcher, trained peer leaders and/or role models that used constructivist science pedagogy to improve test-taking strategies. The results for the TFS study were an increase in science content knowledge, a positive trend in attitude change, and a negative trend in choosing a science career.


Date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Time: 10:00 am to 12 noon

Place: Monsanto Room TLC


Defense of Dissertation Committee


Charles Granger, Ph.D. (Co-chairperson)

Gayle Wilkinson, Ph. D (Co-chairperson)


Matthew Davis, Ph. D

Thomas Woolsey, M.D./Ph. D