Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Environmental Science (MS)

Degree Level



General Human Environmental Sciences


Kathleen R. Smith

Committee Member

Jennifer Becnel

Second Committee Member

M.E. Betsy Garrison


career interest, E-Textiles, Science Technology Engineering Art Mathematics, STEAM, Science Technology Engineering Mathematics, STEM, wearable technology


In this research study, young middle schoolers engaged in a stimulating workshop that seamlessly merged fashion with technology and electrical engineering. Students learned how to use simple hand sewing skills to create wearable-tech items using conductive thread, sewable LED lights, and sewable battery packs. The objective of the study was to increase young women’s interest in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics/Science Technology Engineering Art Mathematics (STEM/STEAM).

Forty-eight middle school girls spent a day learning about the basics of e-textiles and building working products using their new knowledge. The day is split into three lessons. In lesson one students build a simple circuit keychain with one LED light. In lesson two, students build a t-shirt using the LilyTiny, and several LED lights. In lesson three, participants upcycle a thrifted or forgotten-about garment by adding custom circuitry.. The sample was made up of 50% African American girls, 15% Caucasian girls, 8% Hispanic girls, and 6% Mixed-race girls. Although there were some increases in interest in the areas of science and engineering, there were no statistically significant differences between the participants’ levels of interest prior to the e-textiles workshop intervention, and after participation in the e-textiles workshop intervention. As the smart-clothing and wearable tech market continues to develop, and new STEM/STEAM career opportunities emerge within the fashion industry, early exposure to e-textiles workshop interventions could potentially impact STEM/STEAM career interest in young girls.

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