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Title:Factors that impact the development of Black women’s positive STEM identity
Author(s):Martin, Shelana K
Advisor(s):Mercier, Emma
Contributor(s):Lindgren, Robb; D'Angelo, Cynthia
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):STEM Identity
Black Women
Black girls
Abstract:A 23-question survey was given to capture the varied experiences of Black women in STEM throughout their developmental years into college. Participants self-selected at random from numerous social media sites with groups involving Black professional women and graduate students. Data was collected through an online survey service that provided analysis tools to organize data, Microsoft Excel also was used. Data was then probed for patterns as well as quantitative measures and other relevant variables. Two of the most intriguing questions with potentially interesting results were selected for further study; these were the open-ended constructs that allowed for more in-depth responses. They were categorized into eleven themes collectively. Each theme was individually coded for pre-identified patterns. Results indicated similar, yet surprising STEM experiences through the participants’ pre-collegiate schooling. Up to 87% of STEM respondents combined reported discouragement from pursuing STEM interest and felt their success in STEM was limited by several variables namely the intersectionality of their race and gender. Other contributing factors were discriminatory attitudes of nondescript facets. Many respondents described a perceived lack of access to formal in-school experiences as well as informal experiences, such as visiting museums, planetariums, and after-school STEM programs, etc. Access and practice would have not only exposed them to STEM resources, but the focused time of exploration and study would likely have improved their fluency and agility in those areas. Skills build confidence, expertise, independence, and knowledge in specific areas that can merge with self-identification with STEM and create peer leaders that then attract and encourage peers to explore STEM disciplines once thought “not for girls like me.” Implications for this study indicate a strong need for the purposefully directed design of learning environments that foster STEM with a particular focus on inclusion, mentoring, and fostering the interests of Black women and girls.
Issue Date:2021-04-28
Rights Information:Copyright 2021, Shelana Martin
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05

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