Presentation Title

A Profile of STEM Persistence in a Diverse Primarily Undergraduate Institution

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 302-86

Type of Presentation

Poster

Abstract

This study offers a glimpse of a diverse STEM college student population and investigates factors that affect their persistence in attaining STEM degrees. The instrument used to collect data for this study involved an online survey with Likert-style statements and open-ended response questions. Data were gathered from the survey (n=915) and used to characterize the diversity of the respondents by ethnicity, gender, age, class standing, transfer, and undergraduate major upon entry versus current major. Data from the online survey were also used to explore respondents’ perceived obstacles to attaining STEM degrees and their suggestions to mitigate those obstacles. Quantitative data from the online survey were analyzed for measures of central tendency, while qualitative data were analyzed for emergent themes. Demographic survey results show that the majority of respondents were females, upperclassmen, non-transfer students, ages 18 to 23, Biology and Chemistry department majors, and Hispanic, Asian, or White. Major barriers to achieving STEM degrees as reported by survey respondents included academic, personal, and resource concerns. Work and time management are examples of personal obstacles that were revealed in the qualitative component of the survey. Quantitatively, 60.0% of all respondents reported that they had a job and of that fraction, 94.2% work between one to thirty hours per week. Results of this study will help ascertain the types of programs and practices that could alleviate the obstacles that affect student persistence in attaining STEM degrees.

Keywords: STEM Persistence, Mixed Methodologies, Demographics, Chemical Education Research

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Nov 12th, 1:00 PM Nov 12th, 2:00 PM

A Profile of STEM Persistence in a Diverse Primarily Undergraduate Institution

HUB 302-86

This study offers a glimpse of a diverse STEM college student population and investigates factors that affect their persistence in attaining STEM degrees. The instrument used to collect data for this study involved an online survey with Likert-style statements and open-ended response questions. Data were gathered from the survey (n=915) and used to characterize the diversity of the respondents by ethnicity, gender, age, class standing, transfer, and undergraduate major upon entry versus current major. Data from the online survey were also used to explore respondents’ perceived obstacles to attaining STEM degrees and their suggestions to mitigate those obstacles. Quantitative data from the online survey were analyzed for measures of central tendency, while qualitative data were analyzed for emergent themes. Demographic survey results show that the majority of respondents were females, upperclassmen, non-transfer students, ages 18 to 23, Biology and Chemistry department majors, and Hispanic, Asian, or White. Major barriers to achieving STEM degrees as reported by survey respondents included academic, personal, and resource concerns. Work and time management are examples of personal obstacles that were revealed in the qualitative component of the survey. Quantitatively, 60.0% of all respondents reported that they had a job and of that fraction, 94.2% work between one to thirty hours per week. Results of this study will help ascertain the types of programs and practices that could alleviate the obstacles that affect student persistence in attaining STEM degrees.

Keywords: STEM Persistence, Mixed Methodologies, Demographics, Chemical Education Research