Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Bridging the Opportunity Gap: Motivational Factors for Underrepresented Minorities in STEM Careers
by Alonso, Francisco J., Ed.D., Concordia University Irvine, 2019, 166; 27735850
Abstract (Summary)

Over the last few decades, there has been a decline in the number and quality of skilled workers entering the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce. This employment shortage is predicted to create a national economic crisis that threatens to erode the global economic standing of the U.S. Although there has been an effort and attempt to address these issues by investing heavily in policies and programs, there seems to be a lack of accountability and effective validation in managing the multitude of programs funded across multiple agencies. In addition, it has been documented that we, as a society, have neglected to motivate and provide equitable opportunities to certain minority groups in the STEM workforce. This study aimed to investigate effective motivators that would encourage minority students to pursue careers in the STEM professions.

The target group for this mixed method study were members of the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) community, successful STEM practitioners and professionals. This study specifically focused on potentially qualified candidates that have been ignored or marginalized for many years, who may be the solution to the employment shortage problem. The data was primarily collected through a 24-item researcher-constructed survey which gathered information about the participants’ educational and life experiences, especially those experiences that influenced and motivated them to pursue their STEM career. Using ANOVAs, the researcher found that parents, family, teachers, schools, and communities provided the highest influence on URMs’ career decisions, as opposed to Non-URMs. The findings and motivational factors could be used to create and shape better and more effective policies aimed at focusing efforts and resources into programs that would motivate the highest number of Underrepresented Minorities (URMs) into STEM careers. These programs should not only be effective, but also be well-monitored, provide accountability, and ensure that the desired results are met in a timely manner.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kim, Eugene
Commitee: Kenney, John, Swamidass, Josh
School: Concordia University Irvine
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational leadership, Multicultural Education, Science education
Keywords: Motivational factors, STEM, Underrepresented minorities
Publication Number: 27735850
ISBN: 9781392587140
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