Empowering Girls in STEM: The Role of Self-Efficacy and Hands-On Experiences

Dr. Tabby Rabenberg, Principal at Bismarck Public Schools

Love the episode? Leave a review on your favorite podcast platform!


In this enlightening episode of the TechEd Podcast, Tabby Rabenberg, Principal at Bismarck Public Schools, discusses the critical role of self-efficacy and hands-on experiences in empowering girls to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Drawing from her extensive experience in education, Tabby shares valuable insights into the importance of building confidence and providing diverse opportunities for young students, especially girls, from elementary school through high school.

Through innovative programs and a holistic approach to education, Tabby and her team at Bismarck Public Schools are inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders and preparing them for success in a rapidly evolving world.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • The correlation between self-efficacy and interest in STEM fields, especially math and science
  • The impact of hands-on experiences on students' confidence and career choices
  • Strategies for fostering a growth mindset and building self-confidence in young girls
  • The importance of early exposure to STEM opportunities in elementary and middle school - and why starting career exposure in high school is too late
  • Innovative approaches to STEM education and career pathways at Bismarck Public Schools

Quotable Moments:

"There is definitely a high statistical significance between the correlation of confidence and interest. And I think what we need to do to encourage that is to offer those [hands-on, career-relevant STEM] classes to all students so that then they can take a look and say, 'oh, yeah, that's something I had no idea was interested in.'"

"We need to start taking a look at those career-ready practices in every class, even from the time that they're in elementary."

"I would definitely tell my younger self that I could do more than what I think I can do."

"Our data is incredible, and the parents are just over the moon. I have so many emails from parents who are just so excited about the opportunities that we're providing here at Bismarck Public Schools."

3 Big Takeaways from this episode:

  1. Creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment is essential for promoting girls' participation and success in STEM: Establishing a culture of diversity and inclusion in STEM education involves breaking down barriers and challenging gender biases. Middle school girls should be able to meet female engineers and scientists, be taught by both male and female STEM teachers, and have access to role models that can help them see themselves in a STEM career.
  2. Self-efficacy plays a critical role in shaping girls' perceptions of their abilities and career aspirations in STEM: When girls believe they're capable of succeeding in STEM subjects, they have greater confidence and are more likely to want to take those classes. By promoting a belief in their own capabilities and providing positive role models, educators can empower girls to embrace challenges, persist in their endeavors, and thrive in STEM-related fields.
  3. Early exposure and hands-on experiences are essential for empowering girls (and all kids!) in STEM: Schools can't start career prep in high school - it's too late! Instead, elementary school should introduce career awareness, middle school should include career exposure, and high school can move on to career readiness. Learn how BPS is starting career exposure early on with fun, engaging and massively-successful summer camps.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

To learn more about Bismarck Public Schools, visit: www.bismarckschools.org

Connect with Bismarck Public Schools:

Facebook  |  YouTube  |  Instagram  |  LinkedIn

What our listeners are saying

The #1 podcast in TechEd

This podcast is a great resource to keep up with all the exciting changes in the world of manufacturing and technology. Get key insight from industry leaders from the Midwest and around the globe that you won’t find anywhere else. A must listen for anyone interested in how technology is changing the way businesses operate.

The pulse of Industry 4.0

This podcast has its fingers on the pulse of Industry 4.0, and Matt K. is a phenomenal guide, traversing the complexities of manufacturing and education in one forum. A+ work all around!


I find Matt's approach to be very compelling. He brings both perspectives, industry AND education. He doesn't hold back on what he thinks is important...

New and Exciting Content With Every Episode

I really enjoy listening to this podcast when I'm driving or have a free moment. Each episode brings a new guest with a fresh and exciting perspective of both education and the workforce!

I needed this podcast back when I was in High School!

Such great content that deserves more attention at all level of education. I wish I heard some of these episodes when I was navigating my own career path. Incredible guests, with incredible messages to share. Keep up the great work!

Inspiring topics featuring inspiring leaders

I’ve listened to most of your weekly podcasts and enjoy listening to the stories and conversations that feature business and education leaders from Wisconsin. Kudos to you for creating a platform that presents ideas and success stories that are important to Career and Technical Education teachers and leaders.

Best Career and TechEd Podcast

There are a lot of education podcasts out there. This is the only one that really focuses on bringing together voices from inside AND outside education and focuses specifically on STEM and Career/Tech Ed. This is a great podcast for anyone in education and also for anyone who employs STEM or skilled-trades talent in their workforce.

Filling in Gaps

This show spotlights a large and growing aspect of education that doesn’t get enough attention. Practical and technical education is a field growing exponentially. This podcast Highlights many of the facets of this diverse field.

Fantastic Topics on the Future of Industry

These podcasts are the best for learning about current and future technology. The stories are great. We need more of these interviews.