S.H.E Can STEAM Summer Camp Program Evaluation for the National Air and Space Museum

October 3rd, 2022 | EVALUATION

For a second year, Kera Collective measured the effectiveness of a summer camp designed by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum to empower underrepresented youth to succeed in STEAM.


In the winter, spring, and summer of 2022, Kera Collective again worked with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum to evaluate the Soaring High Explorers (S.H.E.) Can STEAM Camp, which serves traditionally underserved youth in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. We explored the effectiveness of the camp activities and facilitation strategies to boost participants’ confidence in STEAM and interest in aviation.    


Our evaluation of the 2022 program was the second time we had explored participants’ experiences in the camp.  The methods were kept consistent with previous evaluations with slight modifications to allow for the museum’s interest in exploring more about how they could support participants in their STEAM pursuits outside the camp.  

We used a mixed-methods approach, including ethnographies, pre- and post-camp participant surveys, and guardian surveys. For 2022, we also added interviews with interns and staff who facilitated the camp to understand how the program structure might be improved to enhance participant outcomes. 

Client Takeaways 

Through engaging hands-on activities and field trips that provided real-world examples, normalized failure, and encouraged critical thinking, the S.H.E. Can Aviation STEAM Summer Camp was successful in exposing middle school participants to and sparking interest in a variety of STEAM and aviation careers. 

Participants enjoyed the camp, particularly the opportunity to fly an actual airplane, experience iFly, and use the flight simulators. Further, we found that participants reported a greater interest in and awareness of the breadth of aviation careers at the end of camp than at the beginning.  To support them in the pursuit of their STEAM and aviation interests, participants’ primary suggestion was to build their awareness of opportunities through regular email communications or a searchable database.




Team Members

Emily Skidmore, Evaluator, Kera Collective
Stephanie Downey, Evaluator, Kera Collective
Claire Lucas, Evaluator, Kera Collective


Funding Source: Private Foundation


Access and Inclusion: Women and Girls
Audience: Evaluators | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Space science
Resource Type: Evaluation | Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Museum and Science Center Programs