Date of Award

Spring 4-12-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Jennifer Timmer, PhD

Committee Member

Ruth Tsuria, PhD

Committee Member

Randall Clemens, PhD


STEM, women and gender, DAST-C, educational media, adolescents, stereotypes


This character analysis looked at the representation of women and occupations in STEM-related educational screen media used in middle school lessons and units, using media influence frameworks and the Draw-A-Scientist-Test Checklist (DAST-C) analytic tool. Women are underrepresented in many STEM fields, specifically computer science, physics, environmental science, engineering, and mathematics (Fayer et al., 2015a; Okrent & Burke, 2021a). Reasons for women not entering the field include the perceived stereotype that STEM is for men (Alper, 1993a; Hamrick, 2021a; Pell, 1996a; Rosser, 2004a). More specifically, students form conceptions of perceived barriers to specific careers based on sex by middle childhood (Burke et al., 2022a; National Science Board: Vision 2030, 2020a; Okrent & Burke, 2021a; Steinke et al., 2007a). At the same time, the images of people featured in media influence children’s and teens’ perspectives, values, and beliefs (Beautemps & Bresges, 2021a; Holtzman & Sharpe, 2014a; Munzer, 2021a; Orgad, 2014a; Regueira et al., 2021). For example, girls who see counter-stereotypical images (ex., women scientists in print media) perform better in STEM courses (Good et al., 2010a; Master et al., 2015) and have a higher interest in STEM careers (Wyss et al., 2012a). While studies indicate a lack of diverse representation based on gender in general screen media, including movies, television, print media, and early learning content, there is a lack of research on the representation of women in educational videos integrated into national middle school STEM resources (Aladé et al., 2021a; Heldman et al., 2021a; Rogers et al., 2021a). More information on the representation of women seen or heard in educational videos used in secondary education STEM resources is needed to inform the practices of media producers and curriculum experts. The content analysis measured the frequency at which women and men are seen and heard in educational videos integrated into the "Quality Examples of Science Lessons and Units,” published by the Next Generation Science Standards for grades 6-8, a state-led initiative in collaboration with experts from the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. When looking at frequency, the analysis sought to compare the representation of women in educational videos to the percentage of women in the 2020 U.S. population and what STEM-related behaviors women display compared to their male counterparts. Additionally, characters were analyzed in terms of their centrality to the plot to determine if any difference existed between the rates at which men and women were the central characters in a video. Further, the analysis determined the types of STEM careers depicted in educational videos, the percentage of these roles filled by women, and how the professionals depicted aligned with the stereotypical image of a scientist as determined by the Draw-a-Scientist-Test (DAST-C).

Available for download on Sunday, April 15, 2029