Theses and Dissertations

Exploring the Path to Becoming a Female, Hispanic STEM Educator: A Phenomenological Inquiry

Cristina Saldana, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Copyright 2023 The Author. All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

This qualitative study sought to understand the lived experiences of the participants to identify factors that contributed to their decision of becoming a secondary STEM educator. Participants were identified through criterion sampling, which ensured that the participants were (1) female, (2) Hispanic, and (3) and teach mathematics, science, or engineering (subjects in the STEM field) at the secondary level (e.g. grades 9-12). Through a phenomenological approach, the participants participated in two interviews. The resulting narrative data was then coded and analyzed through an iterative process. The resulting codes were then analyzed to determine any emergent themes. Four themes and five subthemes were identified. Overall, the participants in this study attributed their road to the secondary STEM classroom to the value placed on education by their family, the support they received, and the emphasis their parents placed on the participants ability to be self-sufficient adults. Moreover, exposure and experience, or lack thereof, to career fields contributed to this decision. The decision to remain in the classroom stemmed from being able to give back to students and the collegiality that exists within their current placement.