Presentation Title

The Impact of Required Research Experience on Chemistry and Biochemistry Undergraduates

Faculty Mentor

Barbara L. Gonzalez

Start Date

18-11-2017 2:15 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 3:15 PM

Location

BSC-Ursa Minor 144

Session

Poster 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

education

Abstract

Many studies have identified factors that impede a student's retention and persistence in STEM, such as work off campus, time management, or the inability to obtain research experience. The significance of this study is to recognize the possible advantages of requiring research for both chemistry and biochemistry STEM degrees at the California State University of Fullerton. In this study, factors that affect chemistry and biochemistry majors’ STEM persistence in a diverse, primarily undergraduate university were collected quantitatively and qualitatively (n=266). In the fall semester of 2016, data were collected by administration of an online survey with Likert-style statements and open-ended responses. The data from the surveys were downloaded and analyzed quantitatively by ethnicity, age, class standing, declared entry major, current undergraduate major, and participation in a required capstone research experience using SPSSÔ. Open-ended responses regarding obstacles and solutions associated with STEM persistence to degree and ease of obtaining research opportunities were analyzed qualitatively for emergent themes. The qualitative research questions studied were: (1) What are the major obstacles reported by chemistry STEM students’ ability to obtain research? and (2) What are the suggested solutions for obtaining research and making the STEM chemistry degree more accessible? Findings indicate that the emergent themes for obstacles were shortage of research positions, lack of effort by the students to seek opportunities, and unavailability of time. The leading solutions expressed that students were suggesting an increase in available information about joining a lab, an expansion of available research positions, and stronger communication on behalf of the research professor. Based on the findings a majority of students are actively interested in engaging in research, however, further research must be done to indicate if there is a correlation among chemistry students participation in research experience and their confidence in securing a job in the STEM field.

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Nov 18th, 2:15 PM Nov 18th, 3:15 PM

The Impact of Required Research Experience on Chemistry and Biochemistry Undergraduates

BSC-Ursa Minor 144

Many studies have identified factors that impede a student's retention and persistence in STEM, such as work off campus, time management, or the inability to obtain research experience. The significance of this study is to recognize the possible advantages of requiring research for both chemistry and biochemistry STEM degrees at the California State University of Fullerton. In this study, factors that affect chemistry and biochemistry majors’ STEM persistence in a diverse, primarily undergraduate university were collected quantitatively and qualitatively (n=266). In the fall semester of 2016, data were collected by administration of an online survey with Likert-style statements and open-ended responses. The data from the surveys were downloaded and analyzed quantitatively by ethnicity, age, class standing, declared entry major, current undergraduate major, and participation in a required capstone research experience using SPSSÔ. Open-ended responses regarding obstacles and solutions associated with STEM persistence to degree and ease of obtaining research opportunities were analyzed qualitatively for emergent themes. The qualitative research questions studied were: (1) What are the major obstacles reported by chemistry STEM students’ ability to obtain research? and (2) What are the suggested solutions for obtaining research and making the STEM chemistry degree more accessible? Findings indicate that the emergent themes for obstacles were shortage of research positions, lack of effort by the students to seek opportunities, and unavailability of time. The leading solutions expressed that students were suggesting an increase in available information about joining a lab, an expansion of available research positions, and stronger communication on behalf of the research professor. Based on the findings a majority of students are actively interested in engaging in research, however, further research must be done to indicate if there is a correlation among chemistry students participation in research experience and their confidence in securing a job in the STEM field.