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Interpretive investigation of the science‐related career decisions of three African‐American college students

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Abstract

Reports published since 1977 indicate that African Americans are underrepresented among Ph.D.-holding scientists. Although researchers have identified numerous factors that correlate with career choice, they have failed to address students' reasons for choosing or not choosing science and science-related careers. This study examines the career decisions of three African-American college students. All three students began college aspiring toward science-related careers. However, by the end of data collection only one student was working toward a science-related career. Data were collected by means of eight, open-ended, 1-hour interviews conducted over a period of 6 months. Findings indicate that students' interest in a science-related career is directly related to the degree to which they perceive that career as being supportive of deep-seated life goals; and that a deeper view of the nature of science better enables students to perceive a science-related career as supportive of life goals. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 599–621, 2001

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... At least since 1977 African Americans have consistently comprised less than 2% of practicing Ph.D. holding scientists (National Science Board, 1996); and at least since 1971 scholars have sought to understand the causes of underrepresentation through empirical research (Hager & Elton, 1971;Lewis, 1997;Lewis & Collins, 2001;Maple & Stage, 1991;Russell, 2002). While extant research has identified numerous factors, which correlate with students' career decisions, such as the number of mathematics and science courses taken (Thomas, 1984), and the influence of mathematics and science teachers (Griffin, 1990), this body of research has failed to explain how these factors are tied to race. ...
... What is it about being African American that leads a student to take fewer mathematics and science courses, or to be differentially influenced by mathematics and science teachers? Lewis and Collins (2001) assert that as a whole, the body of research on African-American underrepresentation in science falls short by examining students' career choice as the sole explanation. They argue that students' science career attainment is a social process that may be influenced by racial bias and they call for research exploring the potential role of racial bias in career attainment. ...
... Using the frameworks of dysconscious racism (King, 1991) and culturally relevant teaching (Ladson-Billings, 1994), the study illustrates how pre-service teachers' perceptions of African-American students constrains their ability to think broadly about how to meet the mathematics and science education needs of African-American students. While this study does not fully meet Lewis and Collins' (2001) call for research exploring the role of racial bias in career attainment, it does move in this direction by elucidating pre-service teachers' perceptions of African-American students' mathematics and science achievement, and of their role in working to improve that achievement. ...
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Article
At least since 1977, African Americans have been underrepresented in science related careers. Although researchers have identified a number of factors which correlate with students' career decisions, they have failed to explain how these factors are related to race. Moreover, this body of research has failed to consider the role of mathematics and science teachers' perceptions of African-American students. This study identifies and describes perceptions held by 49 pre-service mathematics and science teachers about mathematics and science ability of African-American students. Data were collected by means of a three-part, open-ended questionnaire. Findings indicate that over one-third of pre-service teachers are unaware that African Americans achieve below their peers in mathematics and science; they overwhelmingly place culpability for African-American students' achievement with the students and their communities; and they are largely unable to identify culturally relevant teaching strategies to address African-American students' achievement.
... One of the most prevalent areas of research on African-Americans involves examinations of the contemporary and historical performance of African Americans (Alick & Atwater;1988;Campbell, Denes, & Morrison 2000;Lewis & Collins, 2001;Norman, 1998). A series of investigations called attention to the effects of our current failure to provide African-American students with equitable access to science careers. ...
... A third type of report-based research provides informative analyses of students' performance in classrooms and their subsequent career choices (Alick & Atwater, 1988;Lewis & Collins, 2001). Alick & Atwater (1988) conducted an analysis of African-American students' success in college chemistry. ...
... Those strategies included using deductive and inductive reasoning, rereading the chemistry problems several times, and relating the ideas to other contexts to promote understanding. Lewis & Collins (2001) examined how African-American students decided to pursue advanced degrees in science. They interviewed students as they made career decisions and discovered students' science related career choices were directly related to the degree to which they perceived a career in science would be supportive of their life goals and their views of the nature of science. ...
Article
This review examines twenty years of research (1985 to 2005) on African-American students in science education. This analysis identified three types of research studies on African-Americans. First, a series of studies provided status reports of African-American students' performance in science. Second, a series of studies highlighted cultural discontinuities that existed between African-American students and the culture of science classrooms. A third series of studies called for the identification of cultural continuities that exist between African-American students' culture and science. The results of this review implicated scholars' failure to thoroughly explore the relationship between students' language, identity, and their influence on science learning. This review concludes with an analysis of how scholarship on African-Americans in science would benefit from incorporating a theoretical perspective that values the influence of African-American students' language practices on science learning.
... This study might have had different results if younger students or students not deemed academically competent were interviewed. Lewis and Collins (2001) conducted a qualitative study in which the sciencerelated career decisions of three African American students were examined. Citing a small percentage of African Americans who pursue science-related fields, Lewis and Collins sought to identify and describe the reasoning behind the pursuance of science careers by three African American college students. ...
... Lewis and Collins used member checks to test for validity of students' responses. Lewis and Collins (2001) found several salient characteristics among the three students. Each had substantial familial support, each desired a high income, and each excelled academically in high school. ...
... Though race was intended to be a factor in the research, Lewis and Collins (2001) neglected to describe the ways in which race effected the students' science-related career decisions. The authors did note that all three students claimed that race was not a determining factor in their career decisions. ...
... This approach gave little voice to African American students or the meanings they attributed to their science experiences. It leaves under-examined how the context of school and issues of class and race influence African Americans' science and sciencerelated career attainment (Lewis, 1999;Lewis & Collins, 2001). For example, we know little about why students choose to pursue science (including a science-related career), contexts that may support or thwart their science trajectories, or the nature of their experiences along the way. ...
... American students in science suggests that they are just not interested in science and science-related careers (Jayarante, Thomas, & Trautmann, 2003). A counter argument to the "interest" explanation suggests that underrepresentation is not just about getting students interested; but, rather, it is a problem of persistence (Carlone & Johnson, 2007;Lewis & Collins, 2001). That is, there are many African American students who already find science exciting and who see themselves as individuals well suited for science-as was the case with students in this study. ...
... As students discussed their future intentions, they often cited health care injustices they had witnessed personally or within their neighborhoods. Similarly, Lewis and Collins (2001) found that activism and helping others were significant goals that undergirded African American students' science-related career decisions. Many people informally cite "altruism" as an important career goal for African ...
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The purpose of this study was to examine the potential of a High School Health Science Career Academy to support African American students' science career trajectories. I used three key theoretical tools---critical science agency (Basu, 2007; Calabrese Barton & Tan, 2008), power (Nespor, 1994), and cultural production (Carlone, 2004; Eisenhart & Finkel, 1998) to highlight the intersections between the career trajectory implied by the Academy (its curriculum, classroom activities, and clinical experiences) and the students' pursued career trajectories. Data was collected over five months and included individual student interviews, group interviews, parent and administrator interviews, field notes from a culminating medical course and clinical internship, and Academy recruitment documents. The results of this study suggest that participants pursued a health science career for altruistic purposes and the Academy was a resource they drew upon to do so. However, the meanings of science and science person implied by the Academy hindered the possibility for many participants' to advance their science career trajectories. While the Academy promised to expose students to a variety of high-status health care roles, they were funneled into feminine, entry-level positions. This study adds to previous underrepresentation literature by contextualizing how identity-related factors influence African American students' career attainment.
... Likewise, Mrs. Martin retells of gender exclusion in high school. These feelings are major deterrents for many African American females and males in learning science at the high school and college levels, especially in predominantly White institutions (Anderson, 1988;Lewis & Collins, 2001;Moore, 2003a;Russell & Atwater, 2005). Therefore, as African Americans in science they experience similar forms of oppression based upon their positional identities. ...
... This knowledge may foster supportive relationships among teachers and students in science. Relationships such as these are especially necessary for students traditionally marginalized from science-African American students and students of color navigating the science pipeline (Lewis & Collins, 2001;Maton, Hrabowski, & Schmitt, 2000;Russell & Atwater, 2005). In order to build upon the strengths and knowledge that African American teachers bring to science teaching, they need opportunities to reflect on their personal experiences, to critique both institutional and societal systems, and to develop understanding of experience from multiple perspectives. ...
... They (we) are able to mentor, encourage and advise African American students in science, science teaching, and science-related careers. Consequently, African American teachers will need professional development programs that will support them in developing knowledge, skills, and methods to teach, encourage, and mentor students for science and science related careers (Russell & Atwater, 2005), to see the financial and educational rewards of a career in science-related fields (Lewis & Collins, 2001), and to inform students of the challenges of being African Americans in science and science-related fields (Carlone & Johnson, 2007;Maton et al., 2000;Moore, 2003a;Parsons & Moore, in press). Again, this notion of authority from experience in science must be grounded in personal histories where they will have the most impact personally and professionally. ...
Article
The aim of this study was to understand the positional identity of three African American secondary science teachers. Positional identity was operationally defined in terms of race, ethnicity, economic status, gender, religion, and age. Positional identity was posited to inform why diverse teachers with differing knowledge and experiences in science exist. An analysis of the findings suggested that the teachers' positional identity was defined beyond race, ethnicity and gender. Although the three science teachers came from very similar social backgrounds and were members of the same racial/ethnic group (African American), their positionality manifested itself in different ways: meanings of their life experiences; orientations to professional development; and future career goals in science education. Thus they possessed multiple positional identities that intersected in various ways which resulted in them having different perceptions of the world and subjectivities as science teachers. Implications included addressing positional identity and the creation of professional development models that are framed around incorporating teacher identity in addition to furthering teachers' personal and professional advancement within science education. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 684–710, 2008
... They lack information and knowledge about pursuing higher education or careers in science (Kao & Tienda, 1998; Madill et al., 2000). Often, students do not know what scientists and engineers actually do on a day-to-day basis (Baker & Leary, 1995; Gottfredson, 1981; Lewis & Collins, 2001). Madill et al. (2000) found that young women studying in science-related majors had little work experience in fields related to their areas of study. ...
... This assertion may be incorrect; rather, girls may be lacking adequate career information (American Association of University Women, 1999). They often have not yet had substantial opportunities to explore their options (Madill et al., 2000) and know very little about what people employed in SMET-related fields regularly do at their jobs (Baker & Leary, 1995; Gottfredson, 1981; Hackett & Byars, 1996; Lewis & Collins, 2001). If girls knew more about SMET careers before high school, a crucial drop-off point for many, they may have a better chance of staying in the SMET pipeline. ...
... Participants also may have perceived high-prestige career paths blocked, as is frequently the case for women and minorities (Gottfredson, 1981; McWhirter, 1997; Perrone, Sedlacek, & Alexander, 2001; Rojewski & Hill, 1998; Schnorr & Ware, 2001). Some participants who altered their career paths may perceive their more recent choices as more relevant to their lives and their long-term goals, having a more direct application or relevance, or as being more interesting (Lewis & Collins, 2001; Madill et al., 2000). Career choice is extremely complex, and involves the interactions of multiple variables. ...
Article
The purpose of this longitudinal case study is to describe the educational trajectories of a sample of 152 young women from urban, low-income, single-parent families who participated in the Women in Natural Sciences (WINS) program during high school. Utilizing data drawn from program records, surveys, and interviews, this study also attempts to determine how the program affected the participants' educational and career choices to provide insight into the role informal science education programs play in increasing the participation of women and minorities in science, math, engineering, and technology (SMET)-related fields. Findings revealed 109 participants (93.16%) enrolled in a college program following high school completion. Careers in medical or health-related fields followed by careers in SMET emerged as the highest ranking career paths with 24 students (23.76%) and 21 students (20.79%), respectively, employed in or pursuing careers in these areas. The majority of participants perceived having staff to talk to, the job skills learned, and having the museum as a safe place to go as having influenced their educational and career decisions. These findings reflect the need for continued support of informal science education programs for urban girls and at-risk youth. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 41: 835–860, 2004
... In addition, Lewis and Collins reported that for underrepresented minorities, the accumulation of additional college debt deters many students from graduate academic endeavors, but it was later discovered that the students were unaware of the many graduate funding opportunities. 13 In concert with financial instability and lack of representation, self-efficacy emerges as an additional barrier to doctoral degree attainment. Researchers in the social sciences, engineering education, and computer science education have offered insight into the lack of representation, pulling ideas central to social cognitive factors such as self-efficacy, goals, and outcomeexpectations 5 . ...
... Self-efficacy is defined as the "belief in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations 14 ." There have been several studies conducted that investigate self-efficacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students [3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15] . Each study highlights effective methods in improving STEM student performance in and persistence through the pipeline from post-secondary education into the workforce. ...
... Research has been increasing our understanding of the unique experiences of STEM career exploration among non-dominant youth. For instance, constraints on desired lifestyle, family contexts, and finances (Lewis and Collins 2001;Packard and Babineau 2009;Ryken 2006) influence youth's commitment to STEM careers. Additionally, a lack of STEM career role models can contribute to stunted STEM career exploration (Buck et al. 2008). ...
... Research has also shown that non-dominant youth's commitment to STEM careers has been influenced by constraints on desired lifestyle, family contexts, and finances (Lewis and Collins 2001;Packard and Babineau 2009;Ryken 2006). These can inform what non-dominant youth value about their future STEM careers and related quality of life. ...
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Article
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a domain of knowledge, skills, and practices that is pervasive and of critical importance in our highly technological, rapidly advancing, and increasingly connected world; however, non-dominant youth, namely from non-White, lower-income, non-English-speaking, and immigrant backgrounds, are disproportionately underrepresented in STEM careers in the USA. Professional STEM career participation can be especially valuable for non-dominant populations as these careers are high quality, in-demand, and can afford one social mobility and economic stability. It is, therefore, important that we understand the ways in which non-dominant youth explore STEM careers such that we can further support and expand these. As such, this exploratory study has applied a career development perspective known as a Psychology of Working (PoW; Blustein in The psychology of working: a new perspective for career development, counseling, and public policy, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, 2006) which is aptly suited to interpreting the career narratives of diverse, non-dominant populations in order to understand the unique STEM career exploration experiences of a group of non-dominant youth. The PoW framework has been modified in response to the developmental context of the youth, specifically, a focus on career expectations as opposed to career experiences, as well as their formal and informal educational experiences, including a National Science Foundation grant-funded STEM program, in which all of the participants were involved. From this study, an understanding has been gained of a number of different universal human needs that, when addressed, were influential on these youth’s STEM career exploration. In particular, social connectedness via STEM career mentorship was identified as most impactful for these youth.
... Often girls cannot relate science to their own lived experience or daily lives and have difficulty seeing themselves a scientists (Farmer, Waldrop and Rotella, 1999). Most students do not know what scientists and engineers actually do on a day-to-day basis (Baker and Leary, 1995;Lewis and Collins, 2001). Wyer's (2003) study of female undergraduate science majors suggested that positive attitudes toward science along with positive perceptions of the images of scientists contributes to one's persistence in science fields. ...
... et.al., 1998). In a case study of three African American girls, Lewis and Collins (2001), ...
Article
The major purpose of this study was to examine, through the use of oral history technique, the lived experiences of seven women scientists and the factors that affected their pursuit of science. Numerous reports indicate that while women are gaining ground in the sciences, they are behind their male counterparts in many areas and continue to face barriers (National Science Foundation Report, 2002; Wilson, 2004). There is still work to be done to understand how gender differences in science participation affect the lives of women scientists (Clewell and Campbell, 2002). The qualitative data from seven women's histories was coded to identify emerging themes in the areas of family life, education and experiences with science. The seven women interviewed represented work in science, technology, engineering and math, had terminal degrees and 10 to 55 years of professional experience. Six themes were identified as major factors in the science careers of these women; experiences with science, support from others, an ethic of care, passions of the mind, self efficacy in science and belonging vs. marginality. Each of these had some impact on each woman's sense of identity as a scientist and their strong sense of agency for accomplishing their career goals. The factors and influences that lead them to their careers speak to the ways in which they were able to overcome any barriers and become successful scientists. The stories of these women present a picture that is both consistent with and offers some challenge to the feminist critique of science. While their stories attest to the predominance of males in science they also refute that image in the way these women were able to create a science career for themselves that is not solely defined by the conditions of a male science. As the feminist critique suggests, gender is an important variable in the factors influencing the pursuit of science. While these women acknowledged the role of gender in their scientific experience they often saw it as outside themselves. This study offers some assertions that might be considered for further research into how women can successfully pursue science careers.
... Recent research on the mathematics and science-related career attainment of African Americans has shown that career attainment specifically, and academic performance more generally are largely influenced by students' deep-seated life goals. In a hypothesis generating study of three African American college students Lewis and Collins (2001) found that students' career interests were directly related to ' the degree in which they saw those careers as , being supportive of deep-seated life goals. This theory-generative work is supported by Malik's story. ...
... A third area that Malik's story speaks to (and reinforces) is the importance of deep-seated life goals to a student's career decisions. Lewis and Collins (2001) hypothesized that students' career interests were directly related to the degree to which they saw those careers as being supportive of deep-seated life goals. Throughout our interviews Malik is very clear about his desire to fly military-grade fighter jets. ...
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Article
The mathematics success of African American male adolescents has been given limited attention. Most often, African American males are viewed in terms of their failure as opposed to their success. This tendency to focus almost exclusively on African American failure is a debilitating feature of extant literature and it constrains our understanding of African American mathematics achievement. Malik Williams is one case that stands in opposition to the norm. Realizing the importance of advanced mathematics to his college and career goals, Malik petitioned his principal to have a Pre-Calculus/Calculus course offered at his school. This article documents the story of Malik's success and in so doing, identifies key themes that inform current understanding of the mathematics achievement and career attainment of African American male students.
... Weaving together critical theory and critical arts-based research to investigate racial equity in the peer review process, serves to extend the insight that lead editors can provide on the peer review process. Our use of these methodological approaches compliments our work in other studies where we have used ethnography (e.g., Lewis & Collins, 2001;Mutegi et al., 2019) and critical arts-based methods (Nkrumah, 2021) to explore issues of racial equity in science education. NKRUMAH AND MUTEGI | 5 ...
Article
Across a broad range of disciplines, research has found that inequity is systemic in the journal review process. Collectively, however, this study does not specifically examine racial inequity. Moreover, literature on the peer review process in science education, in particular, does not foreground equity as a subject of study. The present study aims to address this void by examining racial equity in the peer review process with a specific focus on journals in science education. Data are collected from lead editors of major science education journals through the form of interviews, focus groups, and critical arts-based methods. The two research questions driving data collection are (a) In what ways does the science education journal peer review process promote racial equity? and (b) How are science education journal editors’ perceptions of racial inequity reflected in the peer review process? McNair and colleagues’ racial equity framework informs the explorations of journal review in science education from the lead editors’ perspectives. From our findings, we offer four suggestions for moving toward greater racial equity in the science education peer review process.
... One barrier involves the misperception of science as an isolated discipline addressing questions of little interest outside the scientific community. Studies have shown that URM students often value communal goals of collaboration and helping people as important factors in their educational and career objectives and are, therefore, dissuaded from STEM careers (19)(20)(21)(22)(23). One potential solution involves the practice of community-engaged learning (CEL), where students participate in community-centered projects prompting them to reflect on the broader economic, social, and political contexts of a problem. ...
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Article
Creation of an inclusive environment requires a culture of equity, justice, value and respect for diverse backgrounds, and opportunities for students to engage with communities while addressing issues in science and society. These tasks are particularly challenging for institutions lacking a diverse population. Here, we demonstrate evidence of a successful model for creating an inclusive environment in an interinstitutional course between a large, public, historically black institution and a small, private, primarily white institution. Because many individuals from underrepresented minority groups tend to value communal goals of working together and helping their communities, we incorporated two high-impact practices of community-engaged learning and course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) focused on health disparities research in neighboring communities. Although the research projects varied each semester, they were linked by their impact on and engagement with the community. Students practiced cultural competency skills in both small group projects within the class and engagement activities in the community. We measured the efficacy of CURE components (novel authentic research, scientific process skills, iteration, collaboration, and broader impact) through a combination of direct and indirect assessments, quantitative and qualitative analysis. More than simply scientific skills, students from both institutions developed lasting interest in working with diverse populations as well as respecting and valuing different backgrounds. This inclusive environment, combined with increased interest in research, suggests that this course could potentially serve as a model for interinstitutional collaborations in creating inclusive environments that support the future success of diverse students, eventually changing the STEM research culture.
... Of particular interest to the present study is the underrepresentation of African Americans among practicing scientists and how that underrepresentation manifests itself along racial lines. As a percentage of the total population of practicing, PhD-holding scientists, the African American population has hovered around 2% for at least 40 years (Lewis & Collins, 2001;Lewis & Connell, 2005). Early research in this area was comprised of studies, which rested on the assumption that African American career attainment in STEM was a function of African American career choices (e.g., Jacobowitz, 1983;Krist, 1993;Lewis, 1997;Maple & Stage, 1991;Post, Stewart, & Smith, 1991;Thomas, 1984), and in a review of this literature, Lewis (2003, pp. ...
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This mixed methods study reports data from the implementation of a 2‐week nanotechnology camp for secondary level students. The camp, Nanotechnology Experiences for Students and Teachers, had the overarching goal of increasing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) interest among the next generation of potential STEM professionals. Statistical pre‐ and postsurvey data indicate that overall the camp was successful in fostering increased STEM interest among participants. However, early analysis of ethnographic data showed that African American students were observed to have radically different experiences than the non‐African American students. To better understand why the camp yielded such divergent outcomes, we examined ethnographic data focusing specifically on incidents of microaggressions. We were particularly interested in the impact that microaggressions had on African American students’ camp experience and learning. Our data show that microaggressions were pervasive; they came from students, instructors, and the environment; and in response, African American students adopted detachment‐coping strategies. Together these factors worked against African American students’ success. We conclude with suggestions for practice.
... Historically, scholarship on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education of African Americans has focused largely on the achievement disparity between African Americans and their non-African-American peers. (Cohen, Garcia, PurdieVaughns, Apfel, & Brzustoski, 2009;Lewis & Collins, 2001;Lewis, Pitts, & Collins, 2002;Lubienski, 2002;Maple & Stage, 1991). Some researchers have criticized this approach as a one-dimensional treatment that pathologizes African-American youth and emphasizes their perceived failure. ...
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Article
The underachievement and underrepresentation of African Americans in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines have been well documented. Efforts to improve the STEM education of African Americans continue to focus on relationships between teaching and learning and factors such as culture, race, power, class, learning preferences, cultural styles and language. Although this body of literature is deemed valuable, it fails to help STEM teacher educators and teachers critically assess other important factors such as pedagogy and curriculum. In this article, the authors argue that both pedagogy and curriculum should be centered on the social condition of African Americans – thus promoting mathematics learning and teaching that aim to improve African communities worldwide.
... As a result, science is less "other" and more "us." This process breaks down persistent stereotypes about the characteristics of scientists, which may otherwise be an obstacle in the development of their interests (Brickhouse et al., 2000) or career decision-making (Lewis & Collins, 2001). ...
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Article
In this study, Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) is used to explore changes in the career intentions of students in an undergraduate research experience (URE) program at a large public minority-serving college. Our URE model addresses the challenges of establishing an undergraduate research program within an urban, commuter, underfunded, Minority-Serving Institution (MSI). However, our model reaches beyond a focus on retention and remediation toward scholarly contributions and shifted career aspirations. From a student's first days at the College to beyond their graduation, we have encouraged them to explore their own potential as scientists in a coordinated, sequential, and self-reflective process. As a result, while the program's graduates have traditionally pursued entry-level STEM jobs, graduates participating in mentored research are increasingly focused on professional and academic STEM career tracks involving post-graduate study. In addition to providing an increasingly expected experience and building students’ skills, participation in undergraduate research is seen to have a transformative effect on career ambitions for many students at MSIs. While undergraduate research is often thought of in context of majority-serving institutions, we propose that it serves as a powerful equalizer at MSIs. Building on the institutional characteristics that drive diversity, our students produce scholarly work and pursue graduate degrees, in order to address the long-standing under-representation of minorities in the sciences. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 9999:XX–XX, 2016
... In view of this, the important goal of relevant science education is to recognize the perceived need to prepare and equip learners for future occupation. Some studies revealed that some factors are taken into consideration by students when decisions on the career choice or path are made (Sadler et al. 2012;Correl 2004;Lewis and Collins 2001). Such factors are likely to be the different hopes and priorities students hold for their future, which might be important for the choice of a future occupation or job. ...
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Background This study is about Abu Dhabi high school students’ interest in science in different contexts. The survey was conducted in connection with the international project, the Relevance of Science Education (ROSE). The sample consists of 5650 students in public and private schools. A structural equation model (SEM) is developed to capture the links between the various constructs. The model hypothesize that students’ future job expectations have several significant determinants or constructs related to their interest in science, out-of-school experiences, attitude toward science, opinion about science class, and opinion about environmental challenges. Exploratory factor analysis of each of the original ROSE dimensions provided the factors and constructs for the SEM. Summated scores of factors are used for the SEM analysis. Results Constructs with the highest total effect are “my science class,” “my attitude toward science,” and “my interest in science.” Both “my out-of-school experiences” and “my opinion of environmental challenges” have low direct effects. In this study, descriptive statistics of items are presented, and the implications for curriculum development, teacher professional development programs, and other education strategies in Abu Dhabi are discussed. Conclusions The study resulted in a comprehensive framework and model of factors and determinants that demonstrate an overall relationship to better understand what might trigger students to think about their expected future careers. Results show that just making science lessons interesting or informing students about social significance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is not enough to sway young people toward STEM careers. The current study goes one step further in an attempt to link the various dimensions in a unified SEM to better understand the effects of the various elements on each other.
... The relationship between course taking patterns and career decisions provides one example of how a correlation has been misread. As Lewis and Collins (2001) point out, the bulk of empirical research on underrepresentation is comprised of correlation studies (see also Lewis, 2003). It could be that other factors are as much resultant from career consideration as they are causal to it. ...
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Extant literature on the underrepresentation of African Americans in science-related careers has identified numerous factors that correlate with students' career considerations. While these correlations provide substantial insight, the tendency to infer cause is problematic. This position paper draws on data from an exploratory study to illustrate that alternative interpretations are probable and to advocate the need for a deeper understanding of the relationship between students' career considerations and known correlates. Data were collected from 87 African American, high school juniors and seniors. These data identify the careers they consider pursuing, their reasons for enrolling in advanced science courses and the influence of the advanced science course on their consideration of science-related careers. Findings suggest that African American students' consideration of science-related careers may precede enrollment in advanced science courses.
... While such analyses are critically important to understanding the dearth of participation, they may not explain the totality of URM student experiences. Qualitative studies that offer the richness and depth of the voices and perspectives of URM students themselves are comparatively few (Lewis and Collins, 2001;Gardner, 2008;Hurtado et al., 2009;Johnson et al., 2011;Palmer et al., 2011;Dickins et al., 2013;Prunuske et al., 2013). This study uses a phenomenological approach to examine the experiences and perceptions of URM graduate ...
Article
Qualitative studies that examine the experiences of underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are comparatively few. This study explores the self-reported experiences of underrepresented graduate students in the biomedical sciences of a large, midwestern, urban university. Document analysis of interview transcripts from program evaluations capture firsthand accounts of student experiences and reveal the need for a critical examination of current intervention programs designed to reverse the trend of underrepresentation in the biomedical sciences. Findings point to themes aligned around the benefits and challenges of program components, issues of social adjustment, the utility of supportive relationships, and environmental impacts. © 2015 G. S. Gibau. CBE—Life Sciences Education © 2015 The American Society for Cell Biology. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). It is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).
... It is important to understand that students come to the science classroom with ideas about the world and how knowledge is constructed. Students choosing science majors can often feel comfortable with the views of science (including the epistemology) presented in their secondary school classrooms and thus decide to continue their studies of science (Edmondson & Novak, 1993; Lewis & Collins, 2001; Maple & Stage, 1991). Other students may hold the idea that science involves an undesirable way of seeing the world compared to their worldview and/or personal epistemology and may choose an alternative career in non-science areas. ...
Article
Past studies investigating university level students' views of nature of science (NOS) were relatively few and most of them were conducted in Western countries. This paper focuses upon comparing the quantitative patterns in Western (US Caucasian and African-American) and non-Western (Taiwanese) students' views of NOS (VNOS) by adopting a survey instrument. This analysis combined with qualitative data begin to uncover details of potential cultural differences in patterns specifically in the US educational context by comparing Caucasian and African-American student responses to a question from a commonly used assessment of VNOS. Results show different patterns of views along the four dimensions of NOS (social negotiation, invented/creative NOS, cultural impacts, and changing/tentative feature of science) according to student major, student gender, and student ethnicity. These differences and similarities have the potential to impact undergraduate education and underrepresentation of cultural minorities in science careers and call for further research into NOS views in the context of diverse student groups.
... The problem, which originally gave rise to this essay, is the low number of African American 1 students who pursue science-related careers. This problem has formed the core of my research agenda (Lewis, 1997;Lewis & Collins, 2001;Lewis & Connell, 2005;Lewis, Pitts, & Collins, 2002) for over 14 years and has been a subject of study for other social scientists at least since 1971 (e.g., Hager & Elton, 1971). Currently, African Americans comprise fewer than 2% of practicing, PhD-holding scientists. ...
Article
The body of research aimed at explaining the science teaching and learning of African Americans has identified myriad factors that correlate with African American's science career choices and science performance generally. It has not, however, offered any satisfactory explanations as to why those factors are disproportionately racially determined. This article argues that the sociocultural construction of race, which has roots in antebellum Western society, has endured to the present day; and that there is sufficient historical tradition and empirical evidence to warrant a research agenda that accounts for the sociocultural construction of race in explaining African American science education. The article concludes by suggesting a set of research questions and theoretical perspectives that considers the sociocultural construction of race to guide future research. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 50:82–103, 2013
... However, many included an in-depth description of the process of analyzing the items, verified that their scales were reliable and valid (e.g., Baram-Tsabari, Sethi, Bry, & Yarden, 2009; Falk & Adelman, 2003; Palmer, 2009); a few also used Rasch analyses as required on Likert-type data (e.g., Drechsel et al., 2011; Oon & Subramaniam, 2011). Qualitative data was typically drawn from interviews (e.g., Basu & Barton, 2007; Lewis & Collins, 2001; Voyles, Fossum, & Haller, 2008) and observations (e.g., Dohn, 2011; Tobin, 2005), but also from diaries (Laukenmann et al., 2003). Studies found positive correlations between interest in science and: (A) a wide range of different achievement measures (e.g., Chang & Cheng, 2008; Falk & Adelman, 2003; Lavonen & Laaksonen, 2009; Lin et al., 2011; Tran, 2007), (B) intellectual risk-taking (Beghetto, 2009), (C) self-concept (e.g., Nieswandt, 2007), and (D) current and future participation in science (e.g., Ainley & Ainley, 2011; Hazari et al., 2010; Maltese & Tai, 2011). ...
... The qualitative research in this area has revealed some informative findings. For example, African American college students' decision to persist in their pursuit of a STEM career was related to their perception that a STEM career field is consistent with their life goals and preferences (Lewis & Collins, 2001). In a similar vein, Basu and Barton (2007) found that urban, high-poverty youth sustained science interests when science activities were presented in forms that were meaningful and useful to them and allowed the students to interact with the material in autonomous ways. ...
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Using consensual qualitative research, the study examines urban high school students’ reactions to a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) enrichment/career development program, their resources and barriers, their perspectives on the impact of race and gender on their career development, and their overall views of work and their futures. The sample included nine students who participated in a semistructured interview at the end of the 2-week summer program and again 12–18 months later. The results indicate that the students continued to explore STEM fields after the summer program, reported increases in STEM knowledge, described strong identifications with their racial and gender-based identities, and identified relevant resources and barriers affecting their STEM education and career development. Suggestions for further research and program development are discussed, including the development of interventions to enhance the supportive elements of students’ relational and educational contexts.
... Both adults and chemistry teachers recognize that chemistry is a course which poses difficulties due to its concepts which are sometimes abstract and hard to comprehend and also due to the fact that as a subject chemistry is considered difficult and requires a lot of effort, patience and perseverance. This view regarding the nature of school chemistry is also in agreement with that posed by several chemistry educators via research conducted solely among students (Chittleborough and Treagust, 2008;Lewis and Collins, 2001;Salta and Tzougraki, 2004). ...
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This study aims at identifying factors that influence students' choice not to pursue a chemistry-related career by analyzing the experiences of secondary education chemistry teachers in Greece and of Greek adults who have not pursued studies related to science. Data collection was done with the method of individual structured interviews. The comparative analysis of the answers given by 10 adults and 10 chemistry teachers, shows that there is a noteworthy agreement between the factors pointed out by the two independent groups. These factors—proposed to form an interconnected grid—are related to the following issues: the nature of school chemistry, the instructional content and context, the students' characteristics and the status of chemistry in the Greek educational system and Greek society.
... Previous research suggests that the degree to which students' images of scientists fit the stereotype correlates with students' negative attitudes toward science as a major or a career (Brush, 1979;Lewis & Collins, 2001;Mead & Metraux, 1957). Moreover, students with stereotypical images of scientists are also less likely to see science as a human and social enterprise and to be less scientifically literate (Klopfer, 1969). ...
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How does learning about scientists' struggles during their scientific knowledge building affect students' science learning? Two hundred and seventy-one high school students were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: (a) the struggle-oriented background information (n = 90) condition, which presented students with stories about 3 scientists' struggles in creating the content knowledge that the students were learning through online physics instructional units; (b) the achievement-oriented background information (n = 88) condition, in which students learned about these 3 scientists' lifetime achievements; and (c) a no background information (n = 93) condition, a control group in which students mainly learned information about the physics contents they were studying. Our measures assessed perceptions of scientists, interest in physics lessons, recall of science concepts, and physics problem solving. We found that the achievement-oriented background information had negative effects on students' perceptions of scientists, producing no effects on students' interest in physics lessons, recall of science concepts, or their solving of both textbook-based and complex problems. In contrast, the struggle-oriented background information helped students create perceptions of scientists as hardworking individuals who struggled to make scientific progress. In addition, it also increased students' interest in science, increased their delayed recall of the key science concepts, and improved their abilities to solve complex problems. The important message that learning about scientists' struggles sends is that even great scientists work hard. Providing an opportunity for students to relate scientists to their knowledge-building activities has important implications for science learning and instruction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
... It is often the case, for example, that disadvantaged students do not take chemistry, physics, or higher-level mathematics classes. Many of them are not college-bound and such courses are generally reserved for the more advanced students (Atwater, 2000;Lewis & Collins, 2001;Rascoe & Atwater, 2005). Furthermore, when disadvantaged students take mathematics, physics, or chemistry courses, the subject matter is mostly ''dispensed'' in disconnected, discrete chunks of academic knowledge that comes across as fragmented and trivial (Haberman, 1996). ...
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We examined curricular orientations that graduate students in science and mathematics fields held as they experienced urban high-school science and mathematics classrooms. We analyzed how these educators (called Fellows) saw themselves, students, teachers, schools, education, and the sense they made of mathematics and science education in urban, challenging settings in the light of experiences they brought with them into the project and experiences they designed and engaged in as they worked in classrooms for 1 or 2 years. We used Schubert's (Schubert (1997) Curriculum: Perspective, paradigm, and possibility. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.) four curricular orientations—intellectual traditionalism, social behaviorism, experientialism, and critical reconstructionism—to analyze the Fellows' journals, and to explore ways in which the positions they portrayed relative to curriculum, instruction, assessment, social justice, discipline, student involvement, teacher's role, subject-matter nature, etc., shaped and were shaped by who they were before and during their classroom work. Our qualitative analysis revealed various relationships including: experientialists engaged in more open-ended projects, relevant to students, with explicit connections to everyday-life experiences; social behaviorists paid more attention to designing “good” labs and activities that taught students appropriate content, led them through various steps, and modeled good science and mathematics; and critical reconstructionists hyped up student knowledge and awareness of science issues that affect students' lives, such as asthma and HIV epidemic. Categorizing orientations and identifying relationships between experiences, actions, and orientations may help us articulate and explicate goals, priorities, and commitments that we have, or ought to have, when we work in urban classrooms. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 1–26, 2009
... Forcing students to take additional science courses will not lead to an increased interest in science (Lewis & Connell, 2005). An earlier study completed by Lewis and Collins (2001) also found that students' interest in science related careers was positively correlated to their understanding of the nature of science. Students with a basic understanding of the nature of science could possess a higher self-concept of ability within science, which could then foster a pre-existing interest in science careers. ...
Article
The initiative to increase highly qualified college STEM graduates coupled with the phrase "science for all" pushed by standards-based reform has opened an avenue for science education research. How can we increase students' interests in science careers? Specifically, do marginalized groups require differing instructional approaches to increase science interests? By closely examining individuals from marginalized groups that have been successful in following a science career path, we may understand how to further help these groups. Gloria Ladson-Billings' work on culturally relevant teaching was utilized as a guide to help understand potential responses about science experiences in the classroom. This study specifically examined six lesbian individuals' experiences with science while in high school and college. The information was collected via semi-structured, open-ended interviews and was analyzed for reoccurring themes. Most of the participants did not have access to lesbian science mentors/role models even though prior research has shown the importance of such. The participants also recommended identifying mentors/role models for potential future lesbians interested in science.
... Thus, their meaning of science may have been a resource for their persistence in science. This finding extends the work of Lewis and Collins (2001), who discussed an African American man whose ''perception of science resonates so well with his activism and idealism [that] he is better equipped to persist in a science career'' (p. 617). ...
Article
In this study, we develop a model of science identity to make sense of the science experiences of 15 successful women of color over the course of their undergraduate and graduate studies in science and into science-related careers. In our view, science identity accounts both for how women make meaning of science experiences and how society structures possible meanings. Primary data included ethnographic interviews during students' undergraduate careers, follow-up interviews 6 years later, and ongoing member-checking. Our results highlight the importance of recognition by others for women in the three science identity trajectories: research scientist; altruistic scientist; and disrupted scientist. The women with research scientist identities were passionate about science and recognized themselves and were recognized by science faculty as science people. The women with altruistic scientist identities regarded science as a vehicle for altruism and created innovative meanings of “science,” “recognition by others,” and “woman of color in science.” The women with disrupted scientist identities sought, but did not often receive, recognition by meaningful scientific others. Although they were ultimately successful, their trajectories were more difficult because, in part, their bids for recognition were disrupted by the interaction with gendered, ethnic, and racial factors. This study clarifies theoretical conceptions of science identity, promotes a rethinking of recruitment and retention efforts, and illuminates various ways women of color experience, make meaning of, and negotiate the culture of science. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 44: 1187–1218, 2007
... Oakes, 1986Oakes, , 1995Spade, Columba, & Vanfossen, 1997;Thompson & Lewis, 2005). In fact, of the science education research written to address African American populations, a substantial portion of it is written to address disparity in science teaching and learning (e.g., Lewis, 2003;Lewis & Collins, 2001;Lewis, Menzies, Najera, & Page, 2009;Muller et al., 2001;Norman, Ault, Bentz, & Meskimen, 2001;Parsons, 2008a). So, to prescribe a plan for science education that works when all students are included in ''challenging science learning opportunities,'' while also realizing that large numbers of African students are not included in ''challenging science learning opportunities,'' is to prescribe a plan that does not work for large numbers of African American students. ...
Article
“Science for All” is a mantra that has guided science education reform and practice for the past 20 years or so. Unfortunately, after 20 years of “Science for All” guided policy, research, professional development, and curricula African Americans continue to participate in the scientific enterprise in numbers that are staggeringly low. What is more, if current reform efforts were to realize the goal of “Science for All,” it remains uncertain that African American students would be well-served. This article challenges the idea that the type of science education advocated under the “Science for All” movement is good for African American students. It argues that African American students are uniquely situated historically and socially and would benefit greatly from a socially transformative approach to science education curricula designed to help them meet their unique sociohistorical needs. The article compares the curriculum approach presented by current reform against a socially transformative curriculum approach. It concludes with a description of research that could support the curricular approach advocated. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Inc. J Res Sci Teach 48: 301–316, 2011
... Approaches to studying African American's success in the sciences has focused on the students as empty vessels which need to be filled with something that they are lacking, such as stronger math preparation, taking physics in secondary school, and completing a research project (Pearson Jr 1985;Pearson Jr and Pearson 1985;Pearson Jr and Bechtel 1989;Harding 1991;Hrabowski and Pearson Jr 1993;Pearson Jr and Fechter 1994;Harding 1998;Lewis and Collins 2001;Lewis, Pitts et al. 2002;Lewis 2003;Lewis and Connell 2005). My approach has been to consider African Americans success in astronomy as successfully navigating astronomy culture through framing it as a cross-cultural experience, moreover, as two cultures coming together with elements that conflict with each other. ...
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The question of how to increase the number of women and minorities in astronomy has been approached from several directions in the United States including examination of admission policies, mentoring, and hiring practices. These point to departmental efforts to improve conditions for some of the students which has the overall benefit of improving conditions for all of the students. However, women and minority astronomers have managed to obtain doctorates even within the non-welcoming environment of certain astronomy and physics departments. I present here six strategies used by African American men and women to persevere if not thrive long enough to earn their doctorate. Embedded in this analysis is the idea of 'astronomy culture' and experiencing astronomy culture as a cross-cultural experience including elements of culture shock. These survival strategies are not exclusive to this small subpopulation but have been used by majority students, too.
... Perhaps interests in other domains besides math/ science activities inform the goals of this group. For instance, in a qualitative study African American students' pursuit of science majors was influenced by their interests in doing work that they perceived would make a direct contribution to their ethnic group communities (e.g., research that addresses a health disparity; Lewis & Collins, 2001). It is also possible that the nonsignificant relationship between interests and goals for biological science students is a result of the measure used. ...
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This study investigated the academic interests and goals of 223 African American, Latino/a, Southeast Asian, and Native American undergraduate students in two groups: biological science and engineering (S/E) majors. Using social cognitive career theory (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994), we examined the relationships of social cognitive variables (math/science academic self-efficacy, math/science outcome expectations), along with the influence of ethnic variables (ethnic identity, other-group orientation) and perceptions of campus climate to their math/science interests and goal commitment to earn an S/E degree. Path analysis revealed that the hypothesized model provided good overall fit to the data, revealing significant relationships from outcome expectations to interests and to goals. Paths from academic self-efficacy to S/E goals and from interests to S/E goals varied for students in engineering and biological science. For both groups, other-group orientation was positively related to self-efficacy and support was found for an efficacy-mediated relationship between perceived campus climate and goals. Theoretical and practical implications of the study's findings are considered as well as future research directions.
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The tendency of teaching science is emphasizing on the integration of science concepts with the learner's social and cultural background. This study is analyzing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) science textbooks of the first four grades based on the UAE social and culture background. The researcher had constructed six categories in which the science textbooks were analyzed. Content analysis was done by relating each paragraph in science textbooks with each category. Result has shown that textbooks need to integrate the UAE society and culture. Recommendations were included to improve the current science textbooks.
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To maintain competitiveness in the global economy, United States policymakers and national leaders are increasing their attention to producing workers skilled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Given the growing minority population in the country, it is critical that higher education policies, pedagogies, climates, and initiatives are effective in promoting racial and ethnic minority students’ educational attainment in STEM. Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) have shown efficacy in facilitating the success of racial and ethnic minority students in STEM and are collectively responsible for producing nearly one-third of the nation’s minority STEM graduates.
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This paper will make a case for implementing an interest-based framework for creating engineering design challenges within Classroom Makerspaces as a means to improve the inclusion of women and underrepresented minorities in K-12 engineering and design learning.
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The low number of African Americans pursuing careers in the natural sciences has been (and continues to be) a concern for science educators. While science educators have sought to explain the science-career decisions of
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Numerous federal and national commissions have called for policies, funds, and initiatives aimed at expanding the nation's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce and education investments to create a significantly larger, more diverse talent pool of individuals who pursue technical careers. Career development professionals are poised to contribute to the equity discourse about broadening STEM participation. However, few are aware of STEM-related career development matters, career opportunities and pathways, or strategies for promoting STEM pursuits. The author summarizes STEM education and workforce trends and articulates an equity imperative for broadening and diversifying STEM participation. The author then offers a multicultural STEM-focused career development framework to encourage career development professionals’ knowledge and awareness of STEM education and careers and delineates considerations for practice aimed at increasing the attainment and achievement of diverse groups in STEM fields.
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Compared with White persons, Black/African American persons in the United States continue to experience high rates of educational deficits and employment stagnation as well as lower college graduation rates. This study examined the influences on Black/African American and White college students' high school completion, college attendance, and career choice. Results indicate that future income and future status have a greater influence on the career choice of Black/African American college students than on the career choice of White college students. The authors discuss these findings and present implications for career development professionals.
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This study attempts to identify the relationship between students' images of science and science learning, and their career choices. A total of 163 students (seventh graders) from three different middle schools participated in this study. Students' images of science and science learning were investigated using the Draw-A-Scientist Test (DAST) and the Draw-A-Science-Learner Test (DASLT), respectively. Then, students' drawings were analyzed using the Draw-A-Scientist Test Checklist (DAST-C) and the Draw-A-Science-Learner Test Checklist (DASLT-C). The relationship between each element composing the students' images and their career choices were analyzed. Among several elements constituting the students' image of science, 'expression,' 'lab coat,' 'oddity,' 'knowledge symbol,' 'technology symbol,' 'co-work,' 'danger,' and 'STS' showed significant differences between students who chose a science-related career and students who did not. It was also revealed that the following elements - 'expression,' 'learning type,' 'inquiry symbol,' and 'learning place' - were more significantly associated with a science-related career choice compared to other elements consisting of an image of science learning.
Article
This study investigated students' views in relation to a career in science as a first step towards developing science career education programs and materials. The instrument was developed through preliminary surveys. The questionnaire was sent to, administered and returned by 3608 students including 1036 primary, 1137 middle, and 1435 high school students, who were selected through stratified cluster sampling from all over the country. The results were analyzed using statistical package program. The students' image view of science, preference for science and science learning, perception of science achievement, career hope for oneself, degree of hope in getting science-related job, perception about science-related career, important factors of science career choice, and their hope for science/non-science career and the reason for their choice in the past and present were investigated. The results show that "science as an experimentation activity" was the most frequent image view of science. The preference for science and science learning was more positive than the perception of science achievement. The percentage of total students who want to have science career was 21%, and this percentage of middle school students was especially low. The most frequent answers for advantages of science career were 'useful for national development', 'possible to get new knowledge', and those for disadvantages were 'dangerous', and 'too much to study'. The most frequent reason for students' choice of a science career was 'interest in science and science learning'. Judging from these results, the basic direction for science career education should be in raising the students' preference for and interest in science learning. The positive awareness for a career in science and vision for a science job in the future should be given through a science career education and science career education proper to the students' developmental stage and characteristics is more important.
Article
The purpose of this study is to find out a model to explain the process of students' science-related career choice by identifying the causal relationships between science career choice and related factors. Important factors of science-related career choice were identified through factor analysis. 'Perception about career related to science', 'preference for science learning' and 'participation in science related activity' were three main factors of science-related career choice. A questionnaire was developed to know the factors of students' science-related career choice, and so as to make it possible to be analysed by structural equation modeling. The subject were 947 grade 6, 9, and 11 students in Seoul. Numbers of boys and girls in each grade was almost same. According to the structural equation modeling, 4 corrected models were obtained. In all 4 corrected models, 'perception about career related to science' had direct influence, and 'preference for science learning' and 'participation in science related activity' had indirect influence on science-related career choice. In the most fitting model. 'perception about career related to science' had an effect on science-related career choice with standardized total effect coefficient 1.03(direct effect 0.82, indirect effect 0.21). 'Preference for science learning', which influence 'participation in science related activity', had an effect on science-related career choice with standardized indirect effect coefficient 0.65. 'Participation in science related activity', which influence 'perception about career related to science'. had an effect on science-related career choice with standardized indirect effect coefficient 0.79. The implication to school science education is that it is most effective to raise the 'perception about career related to science' in order to make more students choose science related career. It is also effective to have more students participate in science related activity and enhance the preference for science learning. To explain the process of science related career choice more fully, it is necessary to build a more comprehensive model containing more factors influencing science-related career choice. It is necessary to test and complement the structural equation model by enlarging the subject to science high school students and science related college students.
Article
The focus of this research was to evaluate if differences exist in the racial identity profiles and perceptions of scientists held by 48 Black college students majoring in science (n = 17) and non-science (n = 31) fields. The study was conducted at a large, predominantly White university located in the south. All participants completed the Cross Racial Identity Scale (CRIS) and Draw-a-Scientist Test (DAST); measures used to assess six subscales of individuals' racial identity development (RID) and 16 stereotypical conceptions of scientists respectively. Fourteen volunteers also completed one-on-one interviews with the researcher to discuss information that would elucidate their responses to survey instruments. Findings from the CRIS revealed that significant differences did not exist in the science majors' and non-science majors' racial identity profiles. Both groups expressed strongest agreement with views reflected in Internalization Multiculturalist Inclusive (IMCI) and Pre-Encounter Miseducation (PM) subscales. Conversely, the science majors and non-science majors exhibited least agreement with attitudes depicted in Immersion-Emersion Anti-White (IEAW) and Pre-Encounter Self-Hatred (PSH) subscales. Results from the DAST demonstrated that both groups illustrated similar perceptions of scientists as observed by an average of four of the 16 stereotypes expressed in their images.
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While the literature can tell us something about the number of people from underrepresented populations in science, there is scant evidence to explain why ecology in particular has among the lowest proportions of underrepresented students and professionals of any science. We conducted a case study of 39 African-American students from ESA's Strategies for Ecology Education, Development, and Sustainability program, focusing on the factors that influenced their choice of an ecology career pathway. Although the case study includes only African-American students, we review the literature pertaining to all minority groups in science. Our results indicate that family support in particular, along with research experience and a positive view of an ecology career, are important factors in a student's decision to pursue this career path.
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The articles in this special issue examine science content, learning, teaching, and assessment with students from diverse languages and cultures. They illustrate dilemmas that arise when the nature of science traditionally defined as Western science is in conflict with alternative views of science in diverse languages and cultures in instruction (Tippins et al.) and assessment (Solano-Flores & Nelson-Barber). Tensions also arise between the ways science is taught in school and alternative views that diverse students bring to the science classroom in secondary (Yerrick & Gilbert) and post-secondary settings (Lewis & Collins). On the other hand, when diverse students are provided with equitable opportunities, they capitalize on their linguistic and cultural resources in ways that may be unrecognized in science classrooms (Solano-Flores & Nelson-Barber and Warren et al.). These contrasting but potentially complementary views -- diversity as a barrier to be overcome versus diversity as a potential asset enriching the resources of learning communities -- run through all these papers, with varying degrees of emphasis on one side or the other.
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One of the main objectives of many science educators is to enroll students into science majors and careers. Researchers have investigated students' views of science in terms of factors and influences that guide students to choose science as a career. However, few investigations exist that have studied the forms of language culture makes available for articulating possible careers generally or the ways of grounding (justifying) these possibilities particularly. The purpose of this study is to investigate ways of using language for supporting justifications of career choices in an interview situation. Thirteen high school biology students were interviewed about their career choices. Drawing on discursive psychology as theory and method, we identify four interpretative repertoires that are deployed during the interviews: the (a) formative, (b) performative, (c) consequent, and (d) potential repertoires. These interpretative repertoires do not merely characterize the discourse about different science-related professions but in fact co-articulate different science-related identities. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 1114–1136, 2009
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Our research project was guided by the assumption that students who learn to understand phenomena in everyday terms prior to being taught scientific language will develop improved understanding of new concepts. We used web-based software to teach students using a “content-first” approach that allowed students to transition from everyday understanding of phenomena to the use of scientific language. This study involved 49 minority students who were randomly assigned into two groups for analysis: a treatment group (taught with everyday language prior to using scientific language) and a control group (taught with scientific language). Using a pre–post-test control group design, we assessed students' conceptual and linguistic understanding of photosynthesis. The results of this study indicated that students taught with the “content-first” approach developed significantly improved understanding when compared to students taught in traditional ways. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 529–553, 2008
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The second half of the Twentieth Century witnessed the emergence of the first modern Astronomers and Astrophysicists of Black African descent. In this paper we enumerate these researchers and briefly describe their activities. We also describe the broader social and political contexts which have impacted their participation and research. We focus primarily on researchers in the United States of America (28) and in Nigeria (19) who have together produced over 90% of the astronomical researchers known to the authors. We briefly mention researchers from other countries including South Africa (3) and in Eurasia (2). We conclude by describing the pioneering researchers and disseminators of the Black African Diaspora’s contribution of to the modern astronomical sciences.
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African Americans account for about 12.7% of the United States population, but only 1% of the National Society of Genetic Counselors' membership identifies as African American. Since individuals often seek health care from providers sharing similar backgrounds, training genetic counselors from diverse backgrounds is critical. Psychology and biology students (N=552) at four universities completed a self-administered online survey assessing the influence of genetic counseling awareness, demographics, and career decisions on students' interest in pursuing genetic counseling as a career. More African Americans (83%) than Caucasians (62%) reported having chosen a career (p< or = .001). Of the 65% of students who indicated interest in the career description of genetic counseling, fewer African Americans (50%) than Caucasians (74%) had heard of genetic counseling (p< or = .001). Specific strategies to overcome recruiting barriers such as early career selection and lack of awareness of the genetic counseling career among African Americans are suggested.
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Women and minorities continue to be underrepresented in quantitatively based fields of study. Additionally, selection by all students of such majors is declining. Math/Science major choice is of concern in light of the occupational demands created by advancing technology as well as the potential gaps in occupational and economic attainment of women and minorities. This article reports the analysis of a longitudinal model of math/science major choice upon entrance to college for black and white, female and male students. The model was tested using a sample drawn from the "High School and Beyond" data base. The model included background characteristics of students, ability, and an array of high school experience factors to explain choice of quantitative major. Significant predictors of major choice for the subgroups included sophomore choice of major, mathematics attitudes, math and science completed by senior year, and various parental factors. However, there were differences across groups and the model explained nearly twice as much variance for the black male, black female, and white male subgroups compared with the white female subgroup. Recommendations include broadening our ways of researching migration into and out of the mathematics/science pipeline. Argument is made for a focus on success of students enrolled in low level college mathematics classes as a way of augmenting the mathematics/scientific pipeline.
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Excerpts from Science and Engineering Indicators 1998, the biennial report to Congress from the National Science Board, present new data on public attitudes toward, and public understanding of, science. Selections from the new chapter on the economic and social significance of new information technologies (IT) are provided as well.
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Scientists are seen as intelligent and hard-working but also as uncultured and not interested in people.
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Discussed is the success of a small university in placing African Americans into medical school and pharmacy school. Described are precollege enrichment programs for mathematics and science that emphasize problem solving, homework, daily quizzes, development of vocabulary and reading skills, peer support groups, role models, and parental involvement. Entry-level science and math courses are also described. (KR)
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Reviews the literature with regard to the pursuit of mathematics and science careers by Blacks. Three topical areas are addressed: educational factors, social and psychological factors, and career opportunities. Educational factors include early interest, academic preparation, career interests, and the lack of adequate educational and career planning. Social-psychological factors include family background, sex role socialization, role models, and college racial composition. Career opportunities were found to be influenced by racial barriers and by family and student perceptions of available opportunities; perception of barriers was also found negatively related to occupational attainment. Implications for encouraging the pursuit of mathematics and science careers by Blacks are discussed in relation to teaching approaches, course requirements, and educational and career counseling strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A study involving urban, minority high school students in a supplemental education program was conducted during 1989 to test the null hypothesis that no relationship exists between exposure to program activities and changes in mathematics performance or attitude towards science. The treatment activities integrated science, with language arts, mathematics, computers and counseling and enabled students to discuss matters of concern and the relationship of these concerns to their academic work and to future success in careers based in science and mathematics. Mathematics performance data were analyzed using ANOVA (premath X group, postmath X group), and t-test/pairs (premath vs. postmath). Pre- and postreatment data on attitude towards science were rank ordered, paired and analyzed using the Wilcoxin Matched-Pairs Signed Ranks Test. The findings reveal a significantly positive treatment effect. In spite of the caution suggested by the limited sample, exposure to the treatment has resulted in an increased positive effect, not only upon attitude towards science, but also upon mathematics performance.
Article
The Strong Vocational Interest Blank (SVIB) was administered to all incoming freshmen at Berea College. Of the group of 190 men, 150 were white and 40 were black. Black freshmen males were found to differ significantly from white males on a bipolar factor of interest in social service (working with people) vs. interest in the physical sciences (t = −3.96, p < .001, one-tailed test). It is unlikely that differences in the socioeconomic backgrounds of the two groups account for the findings since Berea College, by policy, admits primarily students from low income families.
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine how self-efficacy and interests relate to consideration of math/science careers among Black freshmen. The findings indicate more factors influenced consideration of math/science occupations than non-math/science occupations; males considered a broader array of career choices than females; and self-efficacy and confidence play a more important role in career consideration for males than for females, for whom interests play a dominant role.
A comparative study of the science-related attitudes and the factors associated with persisting in science of African American college students in science majors and African American college students in non-science majors
  • C E Gilleylen
Gilleylen, C.E. (1993). A comparative study of the science-related attitudes and the factors associated with persisting in science of African American college students in science majors and African American college students in non-science majors. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Black mathematics and science majors: Why so few? Career Development Quarterly, 35, 206 ± 219 Reclaiming our past The effect of the changing policy climate on science, mathematics, and engineering diversity
  • E R Hall
  • P Post-Kammer
  • S M Malcom
Hall, E.R., & Post-Kammer, P. (1987). Black mathematics and science majors: Why so few? Career Development Quarterly, 35, 206 ± 219. Malcom, S.M. (1990). Reclaiming our past. Journal of Negro Education, 59, 246 ± 259. Malcom, S.M., George, Y.S., & Van Horne, V.V. (1996). The effect of the changing policy climate on science, mathematics, and engineering diversity. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The ethnographic interview Black college students and factors in¯uencing their major ®eld choice
  • J P Spradley
  • Holt
  • Rinehart
  • Winston
  • G E Thomas
Spradley, J.P. (1979). The ethnographic interview. New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston. Thomas, G.E. (1984). Black college students and factors in¯uencing their major ®eld choice. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Social Organization of Schools.