Hidden No More: Factors That Influence the STEM Identity of African American Middle School Girls at the Rocky Ridge School

Jennifer Carol Stimpson, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Black women sit at the intersection of two, informing stereotypes: race and gender. This intersectionality yields barriers for Black women on their respective STEM-career journeys. Because professional STEM environments tend to be heavily male and non-minority, Black women have historically been absent. Even though they are members of the STEM community, they have often not had professional role models; instead, Black women have endured negative gender/racial portrayals that have ignored their existence into who or what a scientist is or can become. This research into the underrepresentation of Black women in STEM posits that the absence of Black women in STEM is a social justice issue. Existing research suggests that low numbers of Black women in STEM are a societal challenge rooted in early academic experiences, which often disconnect people of color from favorable educational opportunities. This work explores those factors which influence the science identity formation of African American middle school girls attending independent schools by building clarity around how they situate their school science, learning, and social environments. Using the theoretical perspective of racialized discourse, considering both their intersectionality and self-determination, this practitioner-based research study seeks to understand the lived experiences and science identity formation of African American middle school girls at independent schools. Middle school students attending an independent school serve as the core of this study, in which research seeks to understand their science identity formation through the lens of self-determination. By amplifying their stories and experiences, this study explores how the motivation to succeed in science inextricably ties to the students' autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

Subject Area

Science education|African American Studies|Middle School education

Recommended Citation

Stimpson, Jennifer Carol, "Hidden No More: Factors That Influence the STEM Identity of African American Middle School Girls at the Rocky Ridge School" (2020). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI28022112.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI28022112

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