*WINNER* SMARTS - STEM, Multiculturalism, and the Arts: A framework for the integration of cultural inclusivity in educational outreach utilizing the Renaissance Foundry Model
Research suggests integrating the arts into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum is essential in the recruitment of an interdisciplinary workforce necessary to meet the challenges of the modern world. However, this initiative fails to acknowledge cultural and historical narratives and considerations within academia, a field primarily dominated by interests of atypical western norms with only 22 percent of minority groups represented in the post-secondary setting. Furthermore, to address this representation issue, the intentional integration of multiculturalism is essential. The work presented offers insight into the preliminary stages of a service-learning project born from the STEM Foundry Heritage Fellows program at Tennessee Technological University.
By using the Renaissance Foundry Model, a team of students worked in community and program planning to establish a framework for including multiculturalism into STEM entitled SMARTS: STEM, Multiculturalism, and the Arts. The purpose of this work is to provide an analysis of how the Foundry offered a platform to help the team form this concept. Data from assignments, reflections, and planning will form the basis of this analysis. Understanding how the Foundry can transform student learning to help identify and address complex issues like the lack of multiculturalism in STEM is vital to transforming the landscape in these fields. This study will provide recommendations for other community-based learning projects that are geared toward integrating diversity and inclusion into vital conversations surrounding outreach, community interactions, and inclusion in STEM education.