Publication Date

Fall 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Roxana Marachi

Subject Areas

Educational leadership


As our society and systems become more technologically advanced, increasing opportunities exist for students interested to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. However, pervasive inequities have led to differences in the extent to which women and underrepresented racial/ethnic groups choose to pursue study and career pathways in STEM. Project-Based Learning (PBL) is among the most widely researched strategies suggested to support student learning and motivation and has more recently been applied to school-based efforts to increase student interest in STEM related fields. Rooted in Social Cognitive Career Theory, this study examined changes in students’ self-reported general self-efficacy and interest in STEM fields following a four-week Project-Based Learning experience focused on career pathways in advanced manufacturing. Thirty students across four high schools participated in a month-long Project-Based Learning experience to introduce them to the field of advanced manufacturing. Findings from a 15-item online survey distributed at the beginning and end of a virtual four-week PBL workshop revealed significantly higher self-reported general self-efficacy scores following the PBL experience. While overall findings revealed a positive correlation between students’ self-reported general self-efficacy and STEM interest, the relationships varied by student demographic groups. Recommendations for further research and applications to practice are provided.