From Photovoltaic Circuits to Digital Conversational Networks: A Participatory Community-Based STEM Education Project
Jasmine Jones

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of Illinois-Chicago

Primary Discipline

Curriculum and Instruction
Dominant equity discourses in STEM education continue to prioritize increasing access to disciplinary knowledge without critically interrogating the ways in which traditional science and technology learning bounds its participants. This multiphase dissertation project contests the boundaries of STEM education by centering the discursive relationship emergent between participatory learning and community self-determination. In the contexts of both my science classroom and summer technology program, I propose a teacher research study to explore how teachers and students engage the structure-agency dialectic present within a participatory STEM project to address community issues at the intersections of canonical STEM knowledge, environmental justice, and digital technologies. The holistic set of data include curriculum documents, program recordings, and interviews with teachers, students, and community leaders. Drawing uniquely from the data throughout each phase of the project and its respective nuanced investigations, I explore how physics and technology education can be repurposed as community-responsive, liberatory praxes. By focusing on teacher, student, and community perspectives in school science and during out-of-school programming, I hope to articulate new possibilities for equity in physics and technology education by informing the development of future participatory and community-responsive STEM projects that position students as transformative intellectuals, who enact their agentic power to transform oppressive structures and help their communities to self-determine.
About Jasmine Jones
Jasmine Jones is a PhD student studying Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She holds an M.Ed in Science Education from UIC and a B.S. in Physics from Louisiana State University. With a focus on developing and implementing justice-centered, participatory physics and technology curriculum, Jasmine’s research contests the boundaries of STEM education by centering the discursive relationship emergent between participatory learning and community self-determination. As a science teacher in Chicago Public Schools, Jasmine and her physics students led a multi-year, community based project designing solar energy systems to combat environmental racism on the West Side of Chicago. Seeking to disseminate updates on their solar project and educate neighborhood residents about available renewable energy incentives, they recognized the complex role that Chicago’s existing digital divide played in awareness & participation gaps, and with it, the need for a hyper-local communication network to overcome these challenges. In the context of her nonprofit organization, Fresh Supply, and their digital justice & stewardship program, Jasmine’s students investigated contributing factors to the digital inequities in Chicago while simultaneously designing a community app capable of circumnavigating broadband infrastructure disparities. As the Executive Director of Fresh Supply, Jasmine stands at the unique intersection of organizational leader, educational researcher, and community organizer on mission to seed intergenerational change in emerging communities through justice-centered curriculum & projects, creative placemaking, and equitable technologies. Beyond her doctoral studies and leadership service, Jasmine enjoys singing, serving in her local church, and spending time with family and friends.

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