Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


First Advisor

Amanda Thomas

Date of this Version



Felton-Canfield, K. J. (2019). The impacts on rural families when engaging in STEM education. Master's thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States. Retrieved from


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Amanda Thomas. Lincoln, Nebraska: August 2019.

Copyright (c) 2019 Kimberly Felton-Canfield


Family STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Nights and Family STEM Backpacks are a way for schools to provide stakeholders the opportunity to work together in a hands-on, interactive environment to learn more about STEM subjects. Students, teachers, parents and community partners learn through various activities what career choices are available that engage STEM disciplines. Through action research, qualitative data was gathered to discover the community impact of attending a Family STEM night and participating in Family STEM Backpack Projects. Participants completed pre- and post- event surveys and open-ended interview questions. The whole community was invited to participate in Family STEM night, but of the 350 participants, only six third grade students and their parents participated in the study. Community partners who reside in this community were also invited to the Family STEM Night event. This research seeks to discover what awareness of STEM that parents and students from a rural community have and if they are aware of STEM careers.

Advisor: Amanda Thomas