Bailey, Jr., Ricardo
A CLOSER LOOK INTO WHY AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN LEAVE AND AVOID STEM MAJORS IN COLLEGE
1 online resource (91 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
African American males are underrepresented in university Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs as STEM majors in the United States. I will be investigating why this phenomenon is so prevalent in America’s collegiate STEM programs. For this study, I am asking two questions: 1) What factors lead to African American males’ identifying themselves as unqualified, uninterested, or unfit for STEM? 2) Do social oppression and racism play a role in African American males’ deciding not to pursue STEM? Using Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) five systems (microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem) that define his Ecological Systems Theory, I examine a dataset of 14 interviews conducted with African American males who are capable of pursuing STEM, but have decided to either leave STEM majors, or avoid them altogether. These students were attending college within the University of North Carolina System in the 2012-2013 school year. Through the use of constant comparative analysis in examining the interviews, I identified emerging themes and placed those themes into the following categories: "Push Factors Away From Majoring in STEM" and "Pull Factors Toward Non-STEM Majors." My findings indicate that all of the students interviewed experienced institutional racism with regard to their levels of exposure to STEM; as these participants were not exposed to the benefits of STEM careers while in grade school unlike many of their White counterparts. Furthermore, some students also attended segregated, predominately minority grade schools which offered substandard levels of education, leaving some of these students unprepared for college level STEM courses. These findings support the literature regarding this topic.
Mickelson, RoslynTempest, Brett
Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2017.
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