Title

SCIENCE IDENTITY AND HISPANIC STUDENTS IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS (STEM)

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2021

Abstract

Our research investigates science identity in the context of Hispanic science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students and addresses the question of how they construct meaning of their science identities. Our qualitative research design uses group interviews to arrive at a symbolic description of current self, combined with a narrative collage method to arrive at a performative definition of the future self. Results from a large sample of 75 participants support the theory of science identity with evidence of participants viewing their future self as a research scientist or an altruistic scientist. Extending the theory of science identity, the findings also show evidence of a non-scientist trajectory and a non-relational dimension. The non-scientist trajectory is a future self-conception that excludes science or scientific practice. The non-relational dimension is an absence of humans, where people are simply missing from the future self-conception. Our work contributes to science identity theory by showcasing the experiential meaning of identity for Hispanic STEM students. Our research design also provides a stepwise approach to identifying the meaning of science identity for students. Practical implications also include tailoring professional development programs to encourage and facilitate recognition for Hispanic STEM students. More specifically, the practical implications of this work include developing elements of Hispanic science identity, such as self-recognition and recognition by others, as well as the humanistic dimension. Recommended strategies are bringing STEM professionals into the classroom as well as allowing STEM students to experience professional settings.

Publication Title

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI

10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2021035960

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