Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology


Professional Psychology and Family Therapy


Pamela Foley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mary Mueller, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Minsun Lee, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Massarelli, Ph.D.


STEM, girls, children, intervention, SCCT, careers


Over time, researchers have struggled to identify effective interventions to support girls’ self-efficacy and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The primary purpose of this study was to examine whether a theoretically-grounded narrative-based intervention would be able to increase elementary school-aged girls’ self-efficacy in respect to future careers and interest in STEM subjects in school. The study sought to do this by using the stories of the “Heroes of STEM”, a series of four graphic novels developed by the principal researcher, as an intervention tool linking girls’ typically preferred subject (i.e., reading, language arts) to math and science. A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design was used for the current study. The participants included 4th and 5th grade girls who attended after-care programs in Central New Jersey. The results of the study indicated: (a) that the narrative-based intervention (i.e., the graphic novels) did not affect self-efficacy in STEM careers in the present sample of elementary school-aged girls, (b) that the narrative-based intervention did not affect interest in STEM subjects in school in elementary school-aged girls, and (c) there was not a significant change in girls’ perceptions of who can and cannot be considered members of the scientific community as explored through a pre- and post-intervention drawing task. The non-significant findings of this study impress upon the need to continue to explore effective intervention tools for young girls. They also anecdotally suggest a need for materials similar to the graphic novels that were used in the study as that several of the participants indicated a desire to personally own the stories they were presented with.