Discipline: Science and Mathematics Education
Room: Exhibit Hall A
Eden Harrison - Spelman College
Co-Author(s): Kaela Jackson, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
Evaluating how self-perception and academic environments shape the learning ability of minority potential is the first step to bridging the gap in STEM. In order to probe further into this discrepancy, the funded study sought to understand how sociocultural contextual factors impact science identity and sense of belonging. During the Fall semester, incoming freshman (N= 952) from 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU?s) who declared a major in STEM completed a baseline identity survey that was designed to measure student’s identity development in STEM. This study investigates gender disparities in STEM while taking into account school setting to explore the science identity and sense of belonging among African American STEM majors at various HBCUs. Consistent with the literature, it was hypothesized that African American men would demonstrate higher levels of science identity and sense of belonging than African American women due to the evidence that STEM fields are male-dominated. In addition, it was hypothesized that African American students from urban schools would have higher scientific identity due to more access to resources, while it was speculated that students from rural schools would display higher levels of sense of belonging due to smaller settings centered around community. A multivariate analysis (MANOVA) was conducted to detect differential means between groups. The MANOVA detected significance between the main effects of school setting and gender on the dependent variables of sense of belonging and scientific identity. Results revealed significant main effects for the independent variables of school setting. Additional analysis revealed that there was not a significant interaction between gender and school setting. Students attending rural institutions scored higher on the sense of belonging values when compared to urban students. In addition, gender was found to be a significant main effect for sense of belonging. Interestingly, females on average scored higher on all of the negative questions on sense of belonging when compared to male students but surprisingly scored higher on questions related to commitment to their program even though they reported being disliked by others in their programs. Students attending urban institutions on average scored higher on the majority of the scientific identity values. As predicted, students from rural institutions reported significantly higher levels of sense of belonging when compared to rural institutions. Future research should focus on obtaining qualitative follow-up interviews to better understand if women are truly less committed to science or if they are less willing to demonstrate that commitment through self-report. Key reference: Trujillo, G., & Tanner, K. D. (2014). Considering the role of affect in learning: Monitoring students’ self-efficacy, sense of belonging, and science identity. CBE?Life Sciences Education, 13(1), 6-1
Funder Acknowledgement(s): I would like to thank the HBCU STEM-US center and my mentors M. Newell and B. Chambers for supporting me in my research. I would also like to thank Dr. Muldrow for the opportunity to work within the center. This funding was provided by the NSF grant (#1818458) and was awarded to Lycurgus Muldrow PhD, Executive Director of HBCU STEM-US Center, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA.
Faculty Advisor: Lycurgus Muldrow, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: In this research, I helped to conduct the literature review, and formulate the method and discussion sections.