BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN FEMALES OF COLOR IN GRADES 3-8: A HERMENEUTIC PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY
Van V. Truong
Doctoral Student, Ms., Drexel University, The United States, firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a vast amount of literature documenting the need to diversify the United States science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and the need to recruit more well-educated and high-skilled workers to fill STEM jobs. One common theme among studies is the disproportionately low number of females of color in STEM educational programs despite reports of being more interested in STEM subjects and showing an inclination toward STEM careers even earlier than their Caucasian peers (GSRI, 2012; Ong et al., 2017; Parker, 2016; Young et al., 2017). The purpose of this proposed phenomenological study is to explore the experiences of females of color in grades 3-8 in relation to an OST STEM program. The goal of this study is to identify important factors that help build females of color capacities to engage in STEM activities. This study may lead to positive social change by adding to the understanding of the STEM experiences of females of color. The findings may provide guidance to program leaders, school leaders, educators, and parents to help increase the number of females of color in STEM educational programs and careers. In addition, the findings may be implemented in other STEM educational programs to recruit and retain females of color, particularly in the earlier years. Furthermore, bridging the gap between females of color and STEM will support the United States’ initiative to narrow the gender and racial-ethnic inequality gaps in STEM, and help strengthen the United States’ innovation economy, thereby, fueling economic growth and international competitiveness.
Keywords: Females of Color, Social Justice and Equity, Gender Equity, STEM Motivational Pathways, STEM Education, STEM OST programs
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