The Psychology of Underrepresentation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X). This special issue belongs to the section "Educational Psychology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 2066

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Michigan Flint, Flint, MI 48502-1950, USA
Interests: STEM; psychology; minority groups; stereotyped behavior

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Despite having similar levels of interest in pursuing careers in STEM, minority group members (e.g., women, racial minorities, first generation students) continue to be underrepresented in the related fields. This is problematic as STEM jobs are generally high-paying, meaning that minority group members have reduced opportunity to earn higher pay. In addition, diversity leads to the development of varied and novel ideas, along with new perspectives on old problems. In order to address this problem, psychologists have identified predictors of STEM persistence such as high school preparation, strength of identification with the ingroup, STEM role models, various individual differences, performance, etc. Psychologists have also examined how minorities’ experiences of social identity threat engender psychological vulnerability (e.g., lack of belonging, evaluative concerns, imposter feelings), which can undermine students’ STEM interest. Now that a foundation for psychological research on underrepresentation in STEM has been laid, it is time to develop comprehensive accounts of this challenge. For this reason, we have organized a Special Issue dedicated to new directions in psychological research on underrepresentation in STEM. We welcome original psychology research papers in the following areas, among others:

  • Understudied minority groups in STEM (e.g., linguistic minorities, bi-/multiracial individuals, LGBTQIA+ people);
  • Novel individual difference predictors of STEM outcomes;
  • Institutional level predictors of STEM outcomes.

Dr. Jennifer LaCosse
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • underrepresentation
  • individual differences
  • minority groups
  • persistence
  • attrition
  • STEM
  • equity
  • motivation
  • institutions
  • diversity
  • threat
  • performance
  • inequality

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

17 pages, 417 KiB  
Article
“Knowing I Had Someone to Turn to Was a Great Feeling”: Mentoring Rural-Appalachian STEM Students
by Henrietta S. Gantt, Leia K. Cain, Melinda M. Gibbons, Cherish F. Thomas, Mary K. Wynn, Betsy C. Johnson and Erin E. Hardin
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14010075 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 980
Abstract
Post-secondary students benefit from mentorships, which provide both emotional and academic support tailored to the unique challenges they face. STEM students, and, in particular, those with historically marginalized identities, have unique strengths and face distinct barriers that can be ameliorated by careful, knowledgeable, [...] Read more.
Post-secondary students benefit from mentorships, which provide both emotional and academic support tailored to the unique challenges they face. STEM students, and, in particular, those with historically marginalized identities, have unique strengths and face distinct barriers that can be ameliorated by careful, knowledgeable, and well-situated mentoring relationships. With that in mind, we conducted a narrative case study with 10 rural-Appalachian STEM majors enrolled in an NSF-funded mentoring program, intending to collect stories of their impactful experiences with their mentors. We utilized the narrative reconstruction process, and, in so doing, identified five major themes related to the importance of mentor assignment and the impact of mentors’ characteristics and skills related to empathy, consistency, active listening, and teaching. We situate our findings within the existing literature and provide implications for scholars and practitioners who work with mentoring programs dedicated to working with Appalachian communities. Full article
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