From where does it STEM? An analysis of why females and racial and ethnic minority youth elect to pursue STEM education and careers.
Nguyen, Michelle L.
- In the recent years there has been a greater focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in American education. However, with this greater focus, there has also been a growing concern about the gender and racial/ethnic composition of those pursuing STEM. This study served to examine what encourages undergraduate students to pursue STEM, in addition to what supports they ... read moreneed to continue in STEM education. It utilized a theoretical framework constructed from the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT). In-depth interviews were conducted to better understand what factors led female and racial/ethnic minority students to select and pursue STEM education. Interview data was examined through the three aspects of SCCT: self-efficacy, personal goals, and outcome expectations. On the surface, the present study found that interest in these areas for students stemmed from their childhood experiences such as the enjoyment of science and math or ease of understanding those subjects in elementary school. As students grew older, social factors such as the influence of teachers, family, and friends were also important in rooting their interests in STEM. 8 out of the 9 students had some idea that they were going to pursue STEM careers before enrolling at Tufts. And at the university level, it was a mix of personal growth such as the acceptance of being different and better organizational skills, and social factors such as passionate professors and advisors that aided students in their pursuits. However, when examining the issue further, students often indicated a status of “otherness” as opposed to identifying as being included in the STEM community, which related much to their outcome expectations and previously formed conceptions of STEM culture. Recommendations such as formalized mentoring structures and creation of communities of different kinds were made in order to further support these students.read less
- Career development--United States.
- Mathematics--Study and teaching (Higher)--United States.
- Technology--Study and teaching (Higher)--United States.
- Women--Education--United States.
- Minority youth--Education--United States.
- Science--Study and teaching (Higher)--United States.
- Engineering--Study and teaching (Higher)--United States.