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Access to Resources: Pre-college Characteristics and Experiences of Underrepresented Minority Students in the Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Sylvia.

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Presentation on theme: "Access to Resources: Pre-college Characteristics and Experiences of Underrepresented Minority Students in the Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Sylvia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Access to Resources: Pre-college Characteristics and Experiences of Underrepresented Minority Students in the Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Sylvia Hurtado, June C. Chang, Mitch J. Chang UCLA Higher Education Research Institute Leticia Oseguera University of California, Irvine 2005 ACE Conference – Phoenix, AZ

2 Sponsor: National Institutes of Health This study was made possible by the support of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH Grant Number 1 RO1 GMO This independent research and the views expressed here do not indicate endorsement by the sponsor.

3 Trends Demographic shift: Increasing number of college-age students from historically underrepresented backgrounds. –URM: African Americans, Latinos, American Indian/Native Alaskan Increasing number of college freshmen showing interest in biomedical and behavioral science majors (CIRP, 2004). Policy and programmatic efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented students in these scientific fields

4 The Issues Racial/ethnic minority students have made important inroads in higher education, yet they remain underrepresented in a multiplicity of fields and disciplines, including the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Even as their numbers have increased, they have among the lowest levels of matriculation in these critical fields and even lower rates of representation in research science careers (NSF, 2003). An increasingly diverse U.S. population prompts the need for a diverse pool of science researchers and practitioners (Thomas, 1992; Bonous-Hammarth, 2000)

5 Theory There is an inequitable distribution of resources, such resources provide students with the necessary keys to successfully achieve career goals Anticipatory socialization is the process of learning how to perform a role attached to a status we do not yet occupy—students need experiences that prepare them for careers Social cognitive career theory—goals, expectations, and self- efficacy are key in attaining career goals. Each of these theories suggest students have to see themselves becoming scientists; experiences and assessment of their own abilities is key

6 Research Questions If access to resources is key in becoming a scientist: Who gains access to summer research programs prior to college entry? Among aspiring biomedical scientists, who gains admission to selective institutions?

7 Review of Literature URM persistence and choice in science career aspiration involve specific barriers (Gardner et al, 1989; Oakes, 1990; Mau, 2003; Lindner, 2004) Access to resources such as mentoring and pre-college programs can help develop student skills and interest in scientific fields (Davis, 1994; Hansman, 2001; Nagda et al, 1998; Saks et al, 2000; Smith, 1990) Access to highly selective institutions important for admission to graduate school and future career opportunities (Bowen & Bok, 1998)

8 Data and Sample Data source: HERI’s 2004 Cooperative Institutional Research Program’s (CIRP) Freshman Survey; over 400,000 respondents at 720 institutions. Sample: College freshmen intending to major in the biomedical and behavioral sciences –32,543 students from 694 four-year institutions –Randomly drawn sample of white students to match the URM sample

9 Methods Descriptive statistics Logistic and linear regression Participation in summer research program Participation in health science research program sponsored by a university Enrolling at a selective institution –Selective institution: Institutional average SAT score > 1200

10 Independent Variables Background characteristics Finances High school activities: Coursework, participation in civic activities Self-efficacy Goals & expectations

11 Sample Characteristics Female Average high school GPA Average SAT score Attended public high school 67.7% B+/A % Pre-professional health science field34% Biological science major35% Behavioral science major23% Chemistry major5% Public institutions65% University50% Minority Serving Institutions (HBCU, HSI)16%

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14 Participation in research programs Summer research program URM (+) Parental education and parent as scientist (+) Working while in high school (-) Female (-) Public magnet high school (+) Physical and biological science coursework (+) Talking with teacher outside of class (+) Performing civic activities related to health field (+) Intellectual self-confidence (+) Majoring in behavioral science (-) Health science program URM (+) Parental education (+) Low parental income (+) Public magnet high school (+) Biological science coursework (+) Tutored another student, talking with teacher outside of class (+) Performing civic activities related to health field (+) Intellectual self-confidence (+) Majoring in behavioral science (-)

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16 Attending a selective institution Background characteristics & Finances Native English speaker (-) High parental income (+) Working while in high school and during college (-) High school preparation and activities Private independent high school (+) High school GPA and SAT scores (+) Physical science coursework (+) Hours per week studying/homework, talking with teacher outside of class (+) Participation in summer research program (+) Goals Majoring in a biological or behavioral science [vs. pre-prof. science] (+) Attending this college to prepare for graduate/professional school (+)

17 Implications Programmatic efforts in high school may serve as interventions to diversify pool of students interested in biomedical sciences attending selective institutions Expand programs to include currently underserved populations and interests Need to look beyond traditional academic indicators and experiences for admissions to selective institutions Provide financial support for underrepresented students interested in the sciences

18 For more information on the project


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