Paths From STEM: Undergraduate Experiences and Racial Gaps in STEM Attrition Rates Open Access

Brown, Aamira Nailah (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/fb494915z?locale=en
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Abstract

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) related fields continue to rise in popularity across the globe. In recent years, the US has become increasingly focused on raising the number of graduates that leave higher education prepared to pursue careers in STEM, thus leading to an increase in focus on examining participation and attrition within STEM fields (Chen, 2013). The present study examines the qualitative differences in the overall collegiate experiences of Black and White Emory students who were formerly involved in the STEM fields. Twelve students, six black students and six white students with equal numbers of males and females within each group, were asked to provide in-depth oral history interviews about their college experiences during their time in the Emory STEM departments. Data from participants' interviews reveals that there are differences in the reasons that black and white students have for choosing to exit the STEM fields, with black students reasons being primarily related to negative experiences. Future directions for research are discussed.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………….1

Background Literature……..……………………………………………………………………...2

Methods…...……………………………………………………………………………………....7

Design ……………………………………………………………………………………………7

Site & Sample ……………………………………………………………………………………7

Data Collection …………………………………………………………………………………..10

Data Analysis ……………………………………………………………………………………12

Results……………………………………………………………………………………………13

Academics/ Concern with Grades………………………………………………………………14

Lack of Professor/Major/Department Engagement………………………………………………16

Dissatisfaction as a Result of Pursuing Major/Burnout…………………………………………17

Development of Other Interests…………………………………………………………………18

Lack Of Meaningful Student-Teacher Relationships…………………………………………….21

Feelings Of Isolation And Otherness …………………………………………………………….25

Overall Negative Perception of Campus Climate and Environment ……………………………30

Discussion………………………………………………………………………………………..32

Future Directions ……………………………………………………………………..…… 34

References………………………………………………………………………………………..36

Appendices……………………………………………………………………………………….40

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