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ERIC Number: EJ917012
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-0271-0579
Charting the Pathways to STEM for Latina/o Students: The Role of Community Colleges
Malcom, Lindsey E.
New Directions for Institutional Research, n148 p29-40 Win 2010
The underrepresentation of Latinos (as well as African Americans and Native Americans) in the sciences is not a new problem. There have been longstanding calls to increase participation among students of color in higher education in general, and in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in particular. Indeed, the number of Latinos and other underrepresented minorities enrolling in some form of postsecondary education and earning bachelor's and graduate degrees exceeds previous levels. However, the share of Latina/o STEM degree holders and Latina/o STEM professionals remains disproportionately low. Numerous reports, statistical briefs, and papers by educational researchers and policy experts explore this problem and attempt to identify barriers to STEM access and success for Latinos and other underrepresented minorities. Yet until recently, the role of community colleges in serving as an entry point and pathway to STEM degree attainment has been largely absent from the discourse, despite the pivotal role of these institutions in providing college access. Latinos are more likely to attend community college than are individuals from other racial/ethnic groups, and nearly 60 percent of all Latinos enrolled in postsecondary education attend a community college. This article provides a partial picture of the ways in which community colleges have served as an institutional pathway for Latina/o STEM bachelor's degree holders. The author describes key differences in patterns of access of Latina/o STEM baccalaureates by pathway and discusses the ways in which already narrow pathways to advantaging four-year institutional contexts contract even further for Latina/o STEM majors who attend community college. The absence of appropriate data at a national level limits researchers' ability to fully characterize the institutional pathways to STEM for Latinos and inhibits understanding of ways in which traversing a particular path structures opportunity for underrepresented students in STEM fields. Nevertheless, the results of this study of Latina/o STEM baccalaureates offer insights into their pathways to STEM and raise important questions that ought to be addressed by future research. The author concludes by discussing these implications for further research at the institutional level. (Contains 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A