Increasing the Number of African American PhDs in the Sciences and Engineering A Strengths-Based Approach.

University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
American Psychologist (Impact Factor: 6.87). 10/2004; 59(6):547-56. DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.59.6.547
Source: PubMed


Fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, the percentage of African American students who receive PhDs in natural science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields remains disappointingly low. A multifaceted, strengths-based approach to intervention and research that holds great promise for increasing the number of African American students who achieve at the highest levels academically is described. This work began in 1988 with the development of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program for undergraduate minority STEM majors at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). If current PhD receipt rates of program graduates continue, UMBC will in all likelihood become the leading predominantly White baccalaureate-origin university for Black STEM PhDs in the nation. The program is described and outcome and process findings from its ongoing evaluation are highlighted. The parenting practices that helped these youths to overcome the odds and achieve at the highest levels prior to coming to college are also examined.

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    • "A number of factors are identified in research literature that are said to depress African-American and other minority student achievement in STEM areas. These include 'academic and cultural isolation, motivation and performance vulnerability in the face of negative stereotypes and low expectations, peers who are not supportive of academic success, perceived and actual discrimination', inadequate schools, and fears about 'acting White' (Maton & Hrabowski, 2004, p. 548). The lack of representation of minorities, especially African-Americans in STEM careers has been an area of attention in the USA for some time. "
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    11/2014; DOI:10.1080/21548455.2014.930210
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    • ", 2011 ) , ability to navigate uncertainty , and resilience are important precursors to a sense of belonging and ultimate retention ( Gregerman et al . , 1998 ; Zeldin and Pa - jares , 2000 ; Maton and Hrabowski , 2004 ; Seymour et al . , 2004 ) . "
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    • "Specifically, participants often remark that access to social relationships with faculty and other peers in the program made them feel more comfortable in scientific domains and enabled them to turn their skills in STEM into a STEM career. For instance, Maton et al. (2000) note that the most commonly reported positive aspect of training programs for participants in the Meyerhoff Program was being a part of the program community and having the chance to interact and develop relationships with other science students (see also: Maton and Hrabowski 2004). Fewer studies have specifically linked program participation to science identity salience. "
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