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ERIC Number: ED513969
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 212
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-2230-0
Pipelines and Pathways: Women of Color in STEM Majors and the Experiences that Shape Their Persistence
Espinosa, Lorelle L.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
As a nation reliant on scientific and technological innovation for the health of our economy and national security, it is imperative that both educators and education policy create learning pathways that will successfully support current and future undergraduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Postsecondary research that addresses the important intersection between women and students of color--two historically marginalized groups in STEM education--is surprisingly slim in quantity and challenged by small sample sizes and a lack of longitudinal analysis. This quantitative study sought to address those pre-college, college experiences, and university settings that contribute to the persistence of women of color in STEM majors and further examined how this pathway is unique for women of color as compared to European American women. Carlone and Johnson's (2007) science identity model, Weidman's (1989) model of undergraduate socialization, and feminist scholarship on women in science informed the study's conceptual model. Hierarchical generalized linear modeling (HGLM) was utilized to examine the experiences of 1,250 women of color and 891 European American women attending 135 institutions nationwide. Data was taken from the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI), Cooperative Institutional Research Program for the freshman and senior survey years of 2004 and 2008, respectively. Results revealed the paramount role of women's college experiences and differences between how the two groups of women navigate successful STEM paths. Women of color who persisted in STEM frequently engaged with peers to discuss course content, joined STEM-related student organizations, and participated in undergraduate research programs. Women who found value in utilizing their undergraduate education as a vehicle for scientific contributions and altruistic ambitions further persisted at higher rates. Also important were women's satisfaction with science/math coursework and relevance of coursework to everyday life despite the finding that women of color who stay in STEM majors interact less frequently with professors than students who switch into other disciplines. An important difference between the two samples is the role of highly selective university environments--a negative predictor of persistence for women of color. Policy implications at the transnational, federal, and institution levels are discussed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States