How to Motivate STEM Students

Written by Shannon Palka, CSU STEM VISTA Leader 2015-16 Center for Community Engagement

During the second week in November, the CSU STEM VISTA team at the Chancellor’s Office traveled to Seattle for the AAC&U conference, Crossing Boundaries: Transforming STEM Education. There were many talks and sessions that we found interesting and applicable to our work, but for me, one session stood out. The take-away is transferable beyond the university setting, beyond STEM, and beyond education.

Kenneth E. Barron of James Madison University gave an engaging talk about motivation. He presented a formula for motivation, summarized below. You can read more of his research here.

motivation infographic

To apply this to the CSU STEM VISTA program, we need to help our students believe that they can succeed in STEM disciplines, help them see the point of studying STEM, and remove as many barriers as possible to their success.


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