Event Title

Pathways In & Out of STEM: An Exploration of School Structure and Its Effects on Underrepresented Minorities at Oberlin College

Presenter Information

Xavier Tirado, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 323

Start Date

4-28-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

4-28-2017 5:50 PM

Abtract

It is a common narrative in higher education, including Oberlin College, for underrepresented minorities (URMs) to begin their college careers as a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)/pre-med student, but change their focus to a major that is separate from STEM fields. Could this issue arise from the inability to eradicate structural educational inequalities? This research project explores the reasons why students’ do not persist in their intended major, and instead graduate with non-STEM degrees. The overall purpose is to gauge important themes pertaining to secondary and higher education that are critical for the experiences for students with marginalized identities in STEM. Understanding the mechanisms behind the growth and development, or lack there of, in the sciences is imperative for surpassing barriers that limit student achievement and success in this white dominated field. Therefore, my research will incorporate interview and survey data collected from Oberlin College students to determine the reasons for a lack of retention of URMs in STEM. This process will allow for the exploration of common themes between student narratives that can be placed within a theoretical/thematic framework. Themes include issues of diversity, competitive/unsupportive culture, and learning, teaching, and weed-out tradition.

Keywords:

STEM, underrepresented minorities, retention, success

Notes

Session III, Panel 17 - Oberlin | College
Moderator: Clovis White, Associate Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies

Major

Sociology; Biology

Award

Oberlin College Research Fellowship

Advisor(s)

Daphne John, Sociology
Yolanda Cruz, Biology

Project Mentor(s)

Daphne John, Sociology
Christie Parris, Sociology
Jan Cooper, English

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Apr 28th, 4:30 PM Apr 28th, 5:50 PM

Pathways In & Out of STEM: An Exploration of School Structure and Its Effects on Underrepresented Minorities at Oberlin College

King Building 323

It is a common narrative in higher education, including Oberlin College, for underrepresented minorities (URMs) to begin their college careers as a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)/pre-med student, but change their focus to a major that is separate from STEM fields. Could this issue arise from the inability to eradicate structural educational inequalities? This research project explores the reasons why students’ do not persist in their intended major, and instead graduate with non-STEM degrees. The overall purpose is to gauge important themes pertaining to secondary and higher education that are critical for the experiences for students with marginalized identities in STEM. Understanding the mechanisms behind the growth and development, or lack there of, in the sciences is imperative for surpassing barriers that limit student achievement and success in this white dominated field. Therefore, my research will incorporate interview and survey data collected from Oberlin College students to determine the reasons for a lack of retention of URMs in STEM. This process will allow for the exploration of common themes between student narratives that can be placed within a theoretical/thematic framework. Themes include issues of diversity, competitive/unsupportive culture, and learning, teaching, and weed-out tradition.