Feeling Different: An examination of underrepresented minority community college students' major persistence intentions through the lens of STEM identity
Wade, Rachel Hazard
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Community colleges play a key role in serving the higher education needs of students in this country. This includes more than 40% of all Bachelor Degree graduates in science and engineering and approximately 50% of all students from traditionally underrepresented minority groups. While it is well known who attends community colleges and who majors in STEM, the role community colleges play in the decisions of underrepresented minorities to pursue Bachelor's degree in STEM fields is not known. The goal of this research was to better understand the role the community college environment plays in URM students' academic and social integration on campus and their college and STEM major persistence intentions. In this study, a STEM identity model was used to make sense of the STEM experiences of eight underrepresented students in community college. The findings of this study include: (1) guidance and support was a significant input to academic and social integration for all participants and influenced identity integration for some participants; (2) altruism emerged as an important part of STEM identity and persistence intentions of participants; (3) inclusion and exclusion were important to STEM identity development and overall identity integration, academic and social integration, and ultimately informed participants' persistence decisions.
- Education - Seattle