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Success Stories: How Social Identities Affect Students Educational Trajectories in STEM AACU Annual Meeting October 22, 2010 Houston, Texas Felisha Herrera.

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Presentation on theme: "Success Stories: How Social Identities Affect Students Educational Trajectories in STEM AACU Annual Meeting October 22, 2010 Houston, Texas Felisha Herrera."— Presentation transcript:

1 Success Stories: How Social Identities Affect Students Educational Trajectories in STEM AACU Annual Meeting October 22, 2010 Houston, Texas Felisha Herrera Josephine Gasiewski Minh Tran Sylvia Hurtado, Principal Investigator Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA Ricardo Jacquez, NMSU Dean of Engineering

2 A fundamental reason students who succeed in the sciences choose not to continue is because they experience conflict between their emerging science identity and the enduring sense of who they are and who they want to become. (Cobb, 2004)

3 Background Persistence in STEM Fields –Underrepresented racial minority (URM) students earn 17% of STEM bachelor degrees, but only 6-10% of STEM graduate enrollments are URMs –Women earn slightly more bachelors degrees in STEM than men, but earn only 21% of doctoral degrees in engineering and computer science and 30-40% of doctorates in other science fields. (NSF, 2009)

4 Overall Study December 2009 to April 2010 60 hours of semi-structured focus group interviews 7 universities across US 3 PWI, 3 HSI,1 HBCU 150 masters /doctoral students 35% African Americans 21% White 25% Latino/a 9% Asian Americans 5% American Indian 5% who marked other 50% women average age 27.5 (range of 21-53 years old)

5 Sub-Study New Mexico State University & University of New Mexico Bridge to the Doctorate Program 31 STEM Graduate Students Participants –17 Males; 14 Females –87% Underrepresented Racial Minorities 65% Latino/a 12% American Indian 12% White 10% African American

6 Science Identity (Carlone & Johnson, 2007) Recognition of being a legitimate science person Social Identity (Jones & McEwen 2000; Lin & Tate, 2005, Nasir & Saxe, 2003) Multiple Identity Frameworks within Multiple Contexts Anti-Deficit Framework (Harper, 2007) Emphasis on student experiences, support systems, and educational interventions Validation Theory (Rendon, 1994; 2002) Enabling, confirming and supportive process Conceptual Framework

7 Sexual Orientation Nationality/ Immigration Status Religion/ Spirituality Mental/Physical Ability Race/ Ethnicity Gender Culture Socioeconomic Status Science Identity Science Identity Development Model Adapted from: Jones & McEwen (2000) Multiple Contexts Societal Family/Community Science Science Context Interactions with faculty/peers in science Institution/ disciplinary culture Lab/classroom environments

8 Key Themes on Identity Science identity development Interactions between multiple identities and science Negotiating conflict between multiple identities and science Support systems and educational interventions

9 Science Identity Development I think science is definitely a big part of my life and its a big part of who I am, just because its more of a way of thinking. I think you see things in a different way than maybe other people do, and you analyze things and you want to know why things work the way they do and how they work. (Latina Female)

10 Science Identity Development I am the first one in my family to complete a degree…my family, they were like Oh, look at the new engineer. Well, I dont feel like engineer. I think I will feel like one once I work with a big company and I participate with the big projects and Ill feel like I contributed to those kind of projects. So I think afterwards I will feel like an engineer. (Latino Male)

11 Interactions between Multiple Identities and Science I think I became interested in science just as a way to understand my surroundings. I grew up on an Indian reservation so I saw a lot of death and a lot of disease and things like that going on when I was growing up. My interest was, like I said, was to understand my environment and try to get a feel for the underlying causes of the things I was seeing. (American Indian Male)

12 Interactions between Multiple Identities and Science Q: Whats it like being female engineers? A: It always surprises people when you tell them. It was funny, when I came down here for the tour, I came with my boyfriend at the time. We went through the department, and the department head addressed him. [My boyfriend] was like, Not me. Im goin to journalism. So theres still stereotypes, but most people are like Wow cool. (Latina Female)

13 Negotiating Identity Conflicts He asked me How does you being in science…, does that conflict with your religious beliefs? I can see the perceptions that you hear all the time, and I do feel it cause I am a religious person first, then everything else. So I do think they interact all the time, but I think being in science and even as a student with a culture and identity, I think they just blend. I think sometimes putting on your hat at this certain place is okay. Okay, now I have to [put on another hat because] now Im with this group. Im a Christian first. So wherever Im at thats gonna be my focus first and then I blend in if Im science. (Latino Male)

14 Negotiating Identity Conflicts I think it wasnt until high school that I took a biology course, and I really loved biology; it was my favorite course. But at that point I still didnt have the confidence to think I could do science. I was never good at math, so it never would have occurred to me to do anything related to science or technology. I think if youre not good in those subjects you kind of do get shifted to another path. So it took me having to wait until I was older and just saying, I like it, and Im going to do it. One of my goals now is to work with minority students to try to lift them up at a teaching capacity so they dont have to feel like I did, like, Wow, I dont belong here. (Latina Female)

15 Support Systems and Educational Interventions I talk about my experiments with my parents and my little brothers. I talk about our immune system, how its activated and what happens when something goes wrong. Theyre just amazed by it cause Im Navajo so we have stories of how we became us, but then theres a science part to that too. They like to hear what I learned and its relevance. Maybe because theres stuff that they didnt know could go on in your body, so its really fun for you to talk with your family about [science]. Theyre really supportive. (American Indian Female)

16 Support Systems and Educational Interventions Its nice to see people that are from different ethnicities, different backgrounds, doing things that theyre doing right now. It actually kind of encourages you. Like theyre doing this so Im definitely able to do this. (American Indian Female)

17 Support Systems and Educational Interventions There are some programs that actually help support students. So, for example, theres a program here that recruits students from community colleges from the four corners and they bring them down here and give them some experience in science. They allow them to work in a lab and actually get a feel for it. Thats what really drives a lot of students to come to this university. They have their mentor. They have a way of supporting themselves financially [through] programs that help students work in the lab and pay them to work. So that really helps people I think. (American Indian Female)

18 New Mexico AMP Bridge to the Doctorate Program Provides access to: academic support financial support professional development faculty mentorship and guided-research Seeks to produce highly qualified Ph.D. candidates and to track students academic progress and professional development through the Ph.D.

19 Discussion Institutional change vs. individual integration Awareness of potential mismatch science culture and environments (i.e. values, practices, etc.) and students identities Validation of social identity acknowledges students contributions The importance of identity considerations across both academic and student support

20 Moving from Research to Practice Group Discussion How do these issues affect your individual campuses? Given the research findings, each group will develop a list of recommendations for their respective institutions.

21 Contact Information Acknowledgments: This study was made possible by the support of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH Grant Numbers 1 R01 GMO71968-01 and R01 GMO71968-05 as well as the National Science Foundation, NSF Grant Number 0757076. This independent research and the views expressed here do not indicate endorsement by the sponsors. Papers and reports are available for download at: Project e-mail: Faculty and Co-PIs: Sylvia Hurtado Mitchell Chang Monica Lin Gina Garcia Felisha Herrera Postdoctoral Scholars: Kevin Eagan Josephine Gasiewski Administrative Staff: Aaron Pearl Graduate Research Assistants: Christopher Newman Minh Tran Jessica Sharkness Cindy Mosqueda Juan Garibay Tanya Figueroa

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