Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Interdisciplinary Studies

First Advisor

Luchara Wallace, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Heather Petcovic, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Peter Voice, Ph.D

Fourth Advisor

Susan Stapleton, Ph.D


BIPOC, geosciences, k-12 science education, remote learning, stem, technology


The WIRE Youth Development Programs, housed within the Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI foster two enrichment programs geared towards strengthening the gap in academic knowledge through STEM/STEAM activities. Since its inception, WIRE has impacted over 1,000 youth grades 3-8 among the BIPOC population through its programs, most notably the WIRE Math and Science Summer Camp and Saturday Academy. In 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, many K-12 education school systems switched to remote learning. As a result of this transition, there was a decrease in access to the learning tools students would have had normally. In addition to the school systems, summer enrichment camps canceled programming to minimize the spread of the virus. Faced with an anticipated Covid-19 slide, WIRE quickly transitioned to remote learning to continue summer programming to meet the needs of the youth while keeping them engaged. After 18 months of learning virtually, the students returned to in-person learning. As predicted, there was evidence of a decline in math learning loss among 3rd -8th graders compared to pre-COVID data (Baily et al., 2021; Kuhfeld et al., 2022). This study focuses on how WIRE established programming to keep the youth engaged in STEM, particularly the geosciences, during and post- Covid-19. This dissertation discusses engagement strategies through the innovative programming developed as WIRE transitioned to and from remote learning, showcasing the importance of representation through personal experiences and preparing and training staff to work with BIPOC students.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access