Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Unhidden and Unrelenting Figures: The Persistence of Black Women in STEM Disciplines
by Bryant, Tashiana, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2019, 258; 13903410
Abstract (Summary)

Black women and girls should be considered when stories of success are highlighted for aspiring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) students, given the essential need for STEM workers in the United States to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Moreover, studies show Black women are just as interested in math and science during their pre-college education as their White and Asian counterparts. The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the experiences of Black women in STEM disciplines who successfully persist and are on course to attaining their STEM degree at four-year universities. A conceptual framework was developed employing Black Feminist Thought (BFT) and the Anti-Deficit Achievement Framework.

The experiences of Black women were presented with an anti-deficit approach to focus on their academic achievement and how Black women responded and overcame challenges on their STEM journey. This framework guided the interview protocol to concentrate on systems of support of Black women who persist in STEM and acts of resistance from Black women during their educational journey. The sample included 15 students who self-identified as Black women in one or more of the STEM disciplines and enrolled at a California State University.

The findings revealed six themes (financial factors, self-efficacy, familial support, academic support, finding community, and advocacy) and one additional finding (responding to microaggressions) were common aspects that contributed to the success and academic achievement of Black women in STEM disciplines from PreK-12 education through post-college planning in STEM fields.

The findings provide a greater understanding of the experience of high-achieving Black women who are successfully persisting in STEM. Based on the results, recommendations are made for the development of culturally relevant STEM-focused programs for Black women and girls, the use of meaning-making pedagogy and curriculum for STEM topics, the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty in math and science subjects for PreK-12 education and STEM disciplines in higher education, and the increase of student exposure to Black women who are professionals in STEM.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Locks, Angela
Commitee: Davis, Shametrice, McCallum, Carmen
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher education, Black studies, Womens studies
Keywords: Black women, Counternarratives, Higher education, Persistence, Social sciences, STEM majors
Publication Number: 13903410
ISBN: 9781687912435
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