Results from EXIST Survey

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Oh my! We finished going through all of the surveys from Exist and feel so grateful that we received such positive feedback!! We truly appreciate you taking the time to make some notes, give us some feedback, and share how this show affected you. Here are some highlights of the drawing activity...so great!!

It is important to us to reach a broader array of URM groups, especially middle/high school aged young adults. In our closing remarks in Exist, we leave the audience with the idea that “western education isn’t the only way to learn”. The attrition in the sciences appears to be a self-perpetuating problem where less URM scientific leaders results in less URM students entering the STEM fields because they don’t see people like them doing math and science. We’d like to be part of the solution. We surveyed our audience post-show and approximately 180 people participated in the survey. During our one hour performance of Exist, over 90% of the audience learned something new about astronomy, and about 70% of the audience were more interested in astronomy. 65% of those who answered identified as either female, non-binary, or other.

Underrepresented minorities earn far fewer undergraduate and graduate degrees in the physical sciences than should statistically be expected. There is a huge attrition rate that results in a frighteningly low number of minority PhDs and faculty. For example, only four native american women earned PhDs in physics from 1973-1995! As a woman (of native decent) in physics, I was discouraged from pursuing a degree in physics initially because “it’s hard for women.” Even today, this mentality permeates the sciences. One of the ways we intend to change this thinking is to bring the stories and statistics to light, while creating an opportunity for everyone to be inspired by science. Exist highlights the struggle of women, from 400 A.D. to the present, in the form of short monologues.