Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > #BlackGirlMagic: The Influence of Identity Expression on STEM Identity and Retention for Black Females in Undergraduate Research Experiences

Research and reports promote targeted interventions such as the undergraduate research experience to address issues with Black student retention and matriculation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The effectiveness of these interventions are purported to be their ability to foster strong associations between Black students and STEM because of the resources and opportunities they provide (Hurtado et al., 2009; Palmer et al., 2011; Pender et al., 2010; Merolla & Serpe, 2013). These interventions tend to situate participants as being deficient and the targeted intervention must provide what they lack. What is not fully investigated or understood are individual contributions, shaping student persistence, that aid in STEM identity development and retention for these students. Using Phenomenological Variant Ecological Systems Theory (Spencer, 2006), a framework that considers individuals’ strengths and the surrounding contexts, this study reveals the influence of race, gender, and religious identity expression on STEM identity development and retention for Black females participating in STEM undergraduate research experiences. This study’s findings offer useful insights for enhancing undergraduate research experiences, addressing aspects such as STEM culture and student engagements with research mentors, peers, professors, and projects.