Expanding Your Horizons (http://www.expandingyourhorizons.org/) encourages young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers by providing role models and hands-on activities for middle and high school girls. An international network of committees composed of STEM professionals, educators, parents, community leaders, and government and corporate representatives organize events for girls in their local areas.
In the summer of 2012, the EYH Chicago organizing committee was formed by Dr. Lauren Tompkins, a postdoctoral physicist at the University of Chicago, with the goal of having the Chicago-area’s first ever EYH conference in the spring of 2013 (https://sites.google.com/site/eyhchicago/).
The organizing committee quickly grew and excitement started to build. Looking beyond the first EYH Chicago event and thinking how to obtain donations to fund future events that could be larger in scale and reach more girls, they realized they would need some data on the success of their first event. Dr. Lehman was tasked with finding a solution for this. They wrote a number of evaluation questions to ask both the girls who attended and the volunteers who made the day happen, but were somewhat dreading the thought of asking a volunteer to enter data from all those surveys—who would want to volunteer for such a task and how long would it take?
Dr. Lehman was really delighted to learn about Remark Office OMR because it was one less thing to worry about and they could focus more of their energy on providing a great STEM experience for the girls attending! With support from the team at Gravic, they quickly reformatted their paper surveys so they could be easily read by the Remark software and their Fujitsu 6130 scanner.
On March 23, EYH Chicago was a great success! Over 100 girls in grades six through eight attended hands-on workshops covering 15 different STEM topics, all led by volunteers from Chicago’s STEM workforce. After recovering from the excitement and exhaustion of the big day, Dr. Lehman sat down to process the many evaluations they had collected. Dr. Lehman knew it would be pretty easy, but it was even easier and faster than she had expected. From the time she started setting up the scanning template to the time she had the data from all the surveys analyzed, it only took about three hours! She had produced data and graphs from the many “multiple choice” questions that they could immediately share with volunteers to let them know how much the girls had enjoyed their workshops, giving a sense of validation that their volunteers really appreciated. Each survey had several open ended questions, the answers to which Remark Office OMR saved as images in the Response Report. She could quickly scroll through and read the answers, highlighting the most interesting and informative ones.
They will also be using the data in proposals and presentations to potential funders in the near future, with the hope that the data will help secure additional donations let them expand the program for 2014. Dr. Lehman says, “I highly recommend Remark Office OMR to anyone who uses paper surveys to collect data—it is an amazing time-saver!”