Testing intersectionality of race/ethnicity × gender in a social-cognitive career theory model with science identity.
ABSTRACT: Using social-cognitive career theory, we identified the experiential sources of learning that contribute to research self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, and science identity for culturally diverse undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and math (i.e., STEM) majors. We examined group differences by race/ethnicity and gender to investigate potential cultural variations in a model to explain students' research career intentions. Using a sample of 688 undergraduate students, we ran a series of path models testing the relationships between the experiential sources, research self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, and science identity to research career intentions. Findings were largely consistent with our hypotheses in that research self-efficacy and outcome expectancies were directly and positively associated with research career intentions and the associations of the experiential sources to intentions were mediated via self-efficacy. Science identity contributed significant though modest variance to research career intentions indirectly via its positive association with outcome expectations. Science identity also partially mediated the efficacy-outcome expectancies path. The experiential sources of learning were associated in expected directions to research self-efficacy with 3 of the sources emerging as significantly correlated with science identity. An unexpected direct relationship from vicarious learning to intentions was observed. In testing for group differences by race/ethnicity and gender in subsamples of Black/African American and Latino/a students, we found that the hypothesized model incorporating science identity was supported, and most paths did not vary significantly across four Race/Ethnicity × Gender groups, except for 3 paths. Research and practice implications of the findings for supporting research career intentions of culturally diverse undergraduate students are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Project description:The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) is designed to support undergraduate students' professional development as future scientists. Juniors, seniors, and postbaccalaureates who attended ABRCMS during 2008-2011 were emailed a link to an online questionnaire in which they reported their experiences at the conference. Attendees reported many ABRCMS-provided benefits. Frequency of attending or presenting at ABRCMS is positively related to science self-efficacy, research confidence, sense of belonging in science, and intentions to pursue a research degree in graduate school. Increased research confidence predicts graduate school plans and intentions for a research career in science; however, men were slightly more likely to intend to pursue a research career than women, likely due to higher research confidence. Although all attendees benefited from ABRCMS, underrepresented minority (URM) students had higher science self-efficacy and sense of belonging in science after attending ABRCMS than non-URM students. This finding demonstrates the effectiveness of ABRCMS as an intervention to increase the representation and success of URMs in science. Results highlight the importance of attending a minority-oriented research conference where URMs can develop their science self-efficacy, research confidence, and sense of belonging in science. However, changes to the conference and undergraduate research experiences may be necessary to reduce gender gaps.
Project description:The present studies aimed to advance the measurement and understanding of microaffirmation kindness cues and assessed how they related to historically underrepresented (HU) and historically overrepresented (HO) undergraduate student persistence in science-related career pathways. Study 1 developed and tested the dimensionality of a new Microaffirmations Scale. Study 2 confirmed the two-factor structure of the Microaffirmations Scale and demonstrated that the scale possessed measurement invariance across HU and HO students. Further, the scale was administered as part of a longitudinal design spanning 9 months, with results showing that students' reported microaffirmations did not directly predict higher intentions to persist in science-related career pathways 9 months later. However, scientific self-efficacy and identity, measures of student integration into the science community, mediated this relationship. Overall, our results demonstrated that microaffirmations can be measured in an academic context and that these experiences have predictive value when they increase students' integration into their science communities, ultimately resulting in greater intentions to persist 9 months later. Researchers and practitioners can use the Microaffirmations Scale for future investigations to increase understanding of the positive contextual factors that can ultimately help reduce persistence gaps in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degree attainment.
Project description:Participating in undergraduate research with mentorship from faculty may be particularly important for ensuring the persistence of women and minority students in science. Yet many life science undergraduates at research universities are mentored by graduate or postdoctoral researchers (i.e., postgraduates). We surveyed a national sample of undergraduate life science researchers about the mentoring structure of their research experiences and the outcomes they realized from participating in research. We observed two common mentoring structures: an open triad with undergraduate-postgraduate and postgraduate-faculty ties but no undergraduate-faculty tie, and a closed triad with ties among all three members. We found that men and underrepresented minority (URM) students are significantly more likely to report a direct tie to their faculty mentors (closed triad) than women, white, and Asian students. We also determined that mentoring structure was associated with differences in student outcomes. Women's mentoring structures were associated with their lower scientific identity, lower intentions to pursue a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) PhD, and lower scholarly productivity. URM students' mentoring structures were associated with higher scientific identity, greater intentions to pursue a STEM PhD, and higher scholarly productivity. Asian students reported lower scientific identity and intentions to pursue a STEM PhD, which were unrelated to their mentoring structures.
Project description:Mentored research is critical for integrating undergraduates into the scientific community. Undergraduate researchers experience a variety of mentoring structures, including dyads (i.e., direct mentorship by faculty) and triads (i.e., mentorship by graduate or postdoctoral researchers [postgraduates] and faculty). Social capital theory suggests that these structures may offer different resources that differentially benefit undergraduates. To test this, we collected data from a national sample of more than 1,000 undergraduate life science researchers and used structural equation modeling to identify relationships between mentoring structures and indicators of integration into the scientific community. Undergraduates in dyads and triads with direct faculty interactions reported similar levels of science self-efficacy, scientific identity, and scholarly productivity, and higher levels of these outcomes than students in triads lacking faculty interactions. Undergraduates' career intentions were unrelated to their mentoring structure, and their gains in thinking and working like scientists were higher if they interacted with both postgraduates and faculty.
Project description:Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) provide a promising avenue to attract a larger and more diverse group of students into research careers. CUREs are thought to be distinctive in offering students opportunities to make discoveries, collaborate, engage in iterative work, and develop a sense of ownership of their lab course work. Yet how these elements affect students' intentions to pursue research-related careers remain unexplored. To address this knowledge gap, we collected data on three design features thought to be distinctive of CUREs (discovery, iteration, collaboration) and on students' levels of ownership and career intentions from ?800 undergraduates who had completed CURE or inquiry courses, including courses from the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI), which has a demonstrated positive effect on student retention in college and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We used structural equation modeling to test relationships among the design features and student ownership and career intentions. We found that discovery, iteration, and collaboration had small but significant effects on students' intentions; these effects were fully mediated by student ownership. Students in FRI courses reported significantly higher levels of discovery, iteration, and ownership than students in other CUREs. FRI research courses alone had a significant effect on students' career intentions.
Project description:Pathways to biomedical careers are not being pursued with equal vigilance among all students. Emerging research shows that historically underrepresented (HU) students who maintain a strong science identity are more likely to persist. However, the influence of social support on persistence is less studied, especially as it relates to science identity among doctoral students. To fill this gap, a 1-year study to assess similarities and differences among 101 HU and majority biomedical doctoral students was conducted to measure the extent to which 1) they report equivalent experiences of social support, science identity, and intentions to persist; 2) their experiences of social support predict intentions to persist 1 year later; and 3) science identity mediates the relationship between social support and intentions to persist in biomedical career pathways. Data were collected using online surveys. Results indicated that science identity significantly mediated the relationship between professional network support and persistence a year later for majority students. In contrast, for HU students, science identity mediated the relationship between instrumental, psychosocial, friend and family support, and persistence a year later. These study results provide evidence that reinforcing mentoring programs and support systems will be beneficial, especially for HU students.
Project description:The persistence of undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines is a national issue based on STEM workforce projections. We implemented a weeklong pre-college engagement STEM Academy (SA) program aimed at addressing several areas related to STEM retention. We validated an instrument that was developed based on existing, validated measures and examined several psychosocial constructs related to STEM (science identity, self-efficacy, sense of belonging to the university and to STEM, career expectancies, and intention to leave STEM majors) before and after the program. We also compared students in the SA program with a matched comparison group of first-year students. Results show that SA students significantly increased in science identity and sense of belonging to STEM and to the university, all predictive of increased STEM retention and a primary aim of the program. Relative to the matched comparison group, SA students began their first semester with higher STEM self-efficacy, sense of belonging, and science identity, positive career expectancies, and lower intention to leave STEM. The SA cohort showed 98% first-year retention and 92% STEM major retention. The SA program serves as a model of a scalable, first-level, cocurricular engagement experience to enhance psychosocial factors that impact undergraduate persistence in STEM.
Project description:Nurturing undergraduate students’ interest in careers in science, technology, engineering, and medicine is important to developing the future health-care workforce. Summer research internships provide experiential learning that is important to sustaining students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and medicine careers and inspiring higher educational goals. The Edmondson Summer Research Internship is a mentored program for undergraduate students in University of California Davis Health’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. To evaluate intern satisfaction, perceptions on the program’s influence on their career development, and higher educational outcomes, 102 former interns from a 15-year period were invited to participate in an online survey. Responses were received by 58 (57%) of 102 respondents. Not all respondents answered every question. Overall satisfaction was very high/high in 55 (95%) of 58. Ninety-three percent (54/58) strongly agreed/agreed that the internship was an important part of their career development. Almost all who applied to career/professional opportunities strongly agree/agreed that they perceived the internship to be advantageous (96%, 46/48). Forty-four percent (25/57) received additional education after completing their undergraduate degree, with 25% (14/57) receiving a doctoral degree. Few reported prior experience with a clinical laboratory (8/48, 17%), pathologist (10/48, 21%), or clinical laboratory scientist (12/48, 25%). Based on their internship experience, 55% (32/58) strongly agree/agreed that they positively considered pathology or laboratory medicine as a career choice. The Edmondson Summer Research Internship is seen as important to higher educational goals and career development, increases exposure to pathology and laboratory medicine, and demonstrates the value of hosting a mentored research program for undergraduates.
Project description:It is widely recognized that the United States needs to attract and retain more people in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Intensive undergraduate research experiences (UREs) are one of the few strategies shown to improve longitudinal student interest and persistence in STEM-related career pathways; however, less is known about the underlying process linking activities to positive outcomes. The tripartite integration model of social influences (TIMSI) provides a framework for understanding the social influence processes by which students integrate into STEM careers and culture. The current study used a longitudinal design and latent growth curve modeling to examine and predict the development of scientific research career persistence intentions over the course of an intensive summer URE. The latent growth curve analysis showed that student persistence intentions declined and rebounded over the course of the summer. Furthermore, the positive impact of faculty mentor role modeling on growth trajectories was mediated through internalization of science community values. In addition, project ownership was found to buffer students from the typical trend of declining and rebounding persistence intentions. The TIMSI framework illuminates the contextual features and underlying psychological processes that link UREs to student integration into STEM careers and culture.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Producing graduates for a breadth of sectors is a priority for veterinary science programs. Undergraduate career intentions represent de-facto 'outcome' measures of admissions policy and curricula design, as intentions are strong predictors of eventual behaviour. Informed by Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behaviour, this study aimed to identify if contextually relevant attitudes and self-ratings affect student intentions for veterinary career sectors. RESULTS:Survey responses from 844 students enrolled in five Australian veterinary programs in 2014 were analysed. Intention was measured for biomedical research/academia, industry, laboratory animal medicine, public health/government/diagnostic laboratory services, mixed practice, intensive animal production, companion animal practice, not work in the veterinary profession, and business/entrepreneurship. Hierarchical multiple linear regression analysis enabled comparison of explanation of variance in intent by demographics, animal handling experience, species preference, and attitudes to aspects of veterinary work. Career sector intentions were highest for mixed or companion animal clinical practice, then business/entrepreneurship, then non-clinical sectors. Overall, intent was explained to a greater extent by species preferences than by animal experience, attitudes to aspects of veterinary work and demographics (with the exception of mixed practice intent) with gender having no significant effect. Several variables exerted negative effects on career intent for less popular career sectors. CONCLUSION:Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) provides a framework to increase understanding of and predict career sector intentions. Incorporation of attitude and self-efficacy measures in our study revealed preference for species types contributes greatly to career sector intentions for veterinary students, particularly for the more popular practice based sectors. Importantly, specific species preferences and other attitudes can have a negative effect on intent for non-aligned veterinary sectors. Further research is required to identify additional attitudes and/or beliefs to better explain variance in intent for less popular career sectors. Veterinary admissions processes may benefit from utilising the TPB framework. Identified effects revealed by this study may stimulate innovation in marketing, recruitment, admissions and curricular design, such as timing and role modelling, to utilise positive effects and mitigate against negative effects identified for sectors requiring greater representation of career intent in the student body.