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Annotated Bibliography 

(Merchant and Omary 2010, Pender, Marcotte et al. 2010, Weekes 2012, Whittaker and Montgomery 2012, Hernandez, Schultz et al. 2013) 

 

Hernandez, P. R., et al. (2013). "Sustaining Optimal Motivation: A Longitudinal Analysis of Interventions to Broaden Participation of Underrepresented Students in STEM." J Educ Psychol 105(1). 

            The underrepresentation of racial minorities and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines is a national concern. Goal theory provides a useful framework from which to understand issues of underrepresentation. We followed a large sample of high-achieving African American and Latino undergraduates in STEM disciplines attending 38 institutions of higher education in the United States over 3 academic years. We report on the science-related environmental factors and person factors that influence the longitudinal regulation of goal orientations. Further, we examine how goal orientations in turn influence distal academic outcomes such as performance and persistence in STEM. Using SEM-based parallel process latent growth curve modeling, we found that (a) engagement in undergraduate research was the only factor that buffered underrepresented students against an increase in performance-avoidance goals over time; (b) growth in scientific self-identity exhibited a strong positive effect on growth in task and performance-approach goals over time; (c) only task goals positively influenced students' cumulative grade point average, over and above baseline grade point average; and (d) performance-avoidance goals predicted student attrition from the STEM pipeline. We discuss the implications of these findings for underrepresented students in STEM disciplines. 

 

Merchant, J. L. and M. B. Omary (2010). "Underrepresentation of underrepresented minorities in academic medicine: the need to enhance the pipeline and the pipe." Gastroenterology 138(1): 19-26 e11-13. 

            The number of underrepresented minorities (URMs; black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander) among US medical school faculty is markedly low when compared with their respective percent representation of the US population. Women URMs are doubly underrepresented, particularly as the academic rank advances from the instructor to the professor level, and gender discrepancies occur more prominently among white female faculty. Although the percent of white faculty has decreased over the past 5 years, the low percentage of black and Hispanic faculty has not changed proportionately. Furthermore, the 2008-2009 pipeline of URM trainees is unlikely to reverse the current trends. Several measures are suggested for consideration by medical schools and the National Institutes of Health, and recommendations that URM faculty and students may wish to consider are also discussed. The major issues to address include increasing the pipeline of predoctoral URMs, promoting the success and retention of junior URM faculty, enhancing the support of senior URM faculty to serve as needed mentors, and building a pool of URM and non-URM mentors for URM trainees. Therefore, issues pertaining to both the pipeline and the pipe need to be overcome. 

 

Pender, M., et al. (2010). "The STEM Pipeline: The Role of Summer Research Experience in Minority Students' Ph.D. Aspirations." Educ Policy Anal Arch 18(30): 1-36. 

            Practical research experience has been seen as an important tool to enhance learning in STEM fields and shape commitment to science careers. Indeed, this was a prominent recommendation of the Boyer Commission. Further, there is evidence this is especially important for minority students. In this paper, we examine the role of practical research experience during the summer for talented minority undergraduates in STEM fields. We focus on the link between summer research and STEM Ph.D. program matriculation. We examine evidence on this question using detailed data on students participating in the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program over a 14 year period at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Our results provide evidence of strong positive effects of summer research on participation in STEM Ph.D. programs. Further, we show that the effects of summer research vary with the frequency and timing of these experiences. The evidence that educational strategies such as summer research experiences improve academic outcomes of minorities is vital, given concern about the science pipeline in the U.S. and the continuing growth in the racial/ethnic diversity of the college-age population. 

 

Weekes, N. Y. (2012). "Diversity in Neuroscience. We Know the Problem. Are We Really Still Debating the Solutions?" Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education 11(1): A52–A54. 

            The lack of racial and ethnic diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematic or STEM fields requires immediate attention if the United States is to continue to compete in the global marketplace of ideas. Here, the argument is made for immediate action in four specific directions. First, we need to continue to recruit and incentivize the mentoring of a diverse pool of junior faculty. Second, we need to introduce Under-Represented Minority (URM) students to “science in practice” through our research labs as early as possible. Third, we need to provide the resources to allow URM students to succeed in STEM fields. Fourth and finally, we need to encourage students of all backgrounds to “reach back” and involve themselves in K-12 science education. 

 

Whittaker, J. A. and B. L. Montgomery (2012). "Cultivating Diversity and Competency in STEM: Challenges and Remedies for Removing Virtual Barriers to Constructing Diverse Higher Education Communities of Success." J Undergrad Neurosci Educ 11(1): A44-51. 

            The need to increase the number of college graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines is a national issue. As the demographics of the United States' population grow increasingly more diverse, the recognition that students of color are disproportionately under-represented among those individuals successful at completing STEM degrees requires exigent and sustained intervention. Although a range of efforts and funding have been committed to increasing the success of under-represented minority (URM) students at primarily white, or majority, institutions, widespread progress has been slow. Simultaneously, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions have demonstrated disproportionate successes in graduating URM students with STEM degrees and those that proceed to completing graduate-level degrees in the sciences. The differential successes of particular institutions with promoting the achievement of diverse individuals in obtaining academic STEM degrees suggest that with committed and strategic leadership, advancements in creating academic communities that promote the success of a diverse range of students in STEM can be achieved in part through assessing and mitigating environmental barriers that impede success at majority institutions. In this paper, we address issues related to the engagement of URM students in majority settings and describe some efforts that have shown success for promoting diversity in STEM and highlight continuing issues and factors associated with cultivating diversity in academic STEM disciplines at majority institutions. Recommended efforts include addressing academic assistance, professional and cultural socialization issues and institutional environmental factors that are associated with success or lack thereof for URMs in STEM. 

 

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