Identity, Persistence and Exit in STEM: Understanding the Student Experience
Sierra Johnson, Abigail Stover
The experience of historically underserved and excluded identities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) undergraduate majors lacks research despite an increased effort to diversify the workforce. A lack of women-identifying individuals, people of color, and intersecting identities impacts the sense of belonging and trajectory of individuals in STEM fields. The current case study seeks to understand the experience of historically excluded and historically underserved students who are currently majoring in or who previously majored in STEM fields at a private Midwestern university. An anonymous Qualtrics survey of 371 participants of both current and former STEM students found patterns in desires for additional academic and community based support, mental health challenges, and the impact of one’s identities on their STEM experience. Similarly, 62 focus group participants reaffirmed barriers both in the classroom and outside of the classroom to student success, difficulties caring for one’s well-being, and a tense racial climate. The study addresses policy implications for the University as well as recommendations for supporting both current STEM students and former STEM students. These policy implications and recommendations come from both the students and the researchers, after analyzing the data.
Lisa J. Borello
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium project, Additional Areas
Stover, Abigail and Johnson, Sierra, "Identity, Persistence and Exit in STEM: Understanding the Student Experience" (2022). Stander Symposium Projects. 2391.