Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date

3-2018

Conference/Sponsorship/Institution

IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference (ISEC)

Location

Princeton, NJ

Department

Computer Engineering

Second Department

Chemical Engineering

Abstract

Despite efforts to increase participation of racial and ethnic minorities (excluding Asians) in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States, this group remains underrepresented in these fields. Many efforts to increase minority participation focus on support structures to help this group “get through” the pipeline. However, less attention has been paid to increasing their intrinsic motivation to pursue careers in STEM. Our work is focused on increasing this intrinsic motivation, looking at role models as external influences. Underrepresented minorities are faced with a limited role model pool and in many cases with role models (who we call outliers) whose paths to success and extraordinary achievements are difficult to emulate for the large majority of students. In this study of a representative sample of underrepresented minority students at a predominantly white small private liberal arts university, we show that students are accepting of non-outlier role models who are relatable and embody the qualities typically associated with the existing role models that they value. The evidence suggests that a larger more diverse pool of role models, that represent more feasible paths to success, can be created for this group. We envision a “People Like Me” website based on such a pool as a tool for increasing motivation and persistence of underrepresented minorities in their pursuit of STEM professions.

Comments

The published version has a small mistake at the end, which are looking into correcting. Where it says:

Individuals in a position to ________ role models, should consider the following:

1. designate

  • Role models need not to be necessarily individuals with extraordinary stories.
  • Being relatable is an indispensable aspect of a role model.
  • Students’ perception of success goes far beyond professional achievements.

2. serve as

  • A holistic approach to the different qualities you portray is desired, including failures and struggles.
  • Transparency and honesty is appreciated.
  • Put yourself out there to those who have the potential of finding common ground with you.

3. seek

  • A holistic approach to the different qualities you portray is desired, including failures and struggles.
  • Transparency and honesty is appreciated.
  • Put yourself out there to those who have the potential of finding common ground with you.

You will notice that the "3. seek" repeats "2. serve as" points. The correct points for "3. seek" are:

  • Identify the qualities that matter to you, to help you find more suitable role models.
  • Try to see in yourself a potential role model.
  • Be attentive that your role models motivate and not discourage you.

The uploaded preprint has the correct text.

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