Students’ Perceptions of a Special Program for Developing Exceptional Talent in STEM

I. Chen Wu, Randal Pease, C. June Maker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This investigation was to explore perceptions of students who participated in the Cultivating Diverse Talents in STEM project in an R1 university through (a) university-based summer internship program, (b) subsequent school-year research internships, and (c) successive summer workshops or internships. Thirteen high school juniors from diverse backgrounds and low-income families were selected using a series of identification and assessment methods. Both the performance-based and paper-and-pencil assessments were measures of creative problem solving and application of conceptual understandings. A questionnaire was administered after students’ participation in the summer internship. The core theme, active involvement in problem solving inspired and motivated students with exceptional talent, was identified, including three categories: (a) academic initiative and engagement, (b) transition preparation, and (c) practical skill development. Strengths of diverse, underrepresented students with exceptional talent in STEM (spatial analytical skills, high academic resilience, and persistence) and critical elements of a quality STEM program (focusing on individual research interests and real-world problems, providing enriched and varied experiences, and creating supportive mentoring relationships) are included in the research implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-499
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Advanced Academics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • STEM
  • academic engagement
  • exceptional talent
  • internships
  • student perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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