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Table of contents :
Part I: The Structural Dynamics of STEM
1. Color-Blind Liberalism in Postsecondary STEM Education
2. Rendering the Invisible Visible: Student Success in Exclusive Excellence STEM Environments
3. Show Me Your Papers: When Racism and Sexism Trump Credibility in STEM
Part II: The Impact of Race and Gender on Scholars of Color in STEM
4. Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class in the White (Male Settler) Spaces of Science and Mathematics: Navigations by Black, Afro-Brazilian, and Pakistani/American Womxn
5. A Critical Examination of the Influence of Systemic Racism in Shaping the African STEM Research Workforce
6. They Shall Not Be Moved: Black Students’ Persistence as Engineering Majors
7. Determinants of Mental Health and Career Trajectories: Rationale and Design of the Engineering and Computing Doctoral Experiences Survey (ECDES)
Part III: The Way Forward for Students, Faculty, and Institutions: Strategies for STEM Success
8. Lessons from PreK–12 to Support Black Students in STEM Higher Education
9. Black Males’ STEM Experiences: Factors That Contribute to Their Success
10. Understanding Barriers to Diversifying STEM through Uncovering Ideological Conflicts
11. Next Steps: Not Easy but Quite Necessary Solutions for a More Equitable STEM Learning Experience
Notes on Contributors
Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Race and Gender Edited by Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
Rutgers University Press New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark, New Jersey, and London
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: McGee, Ebony O., 1973– editor. | Robinson, William H., 1973– editor. Title: Diversifying STEM : multidisciplinary perspectives on race and gender / edited by Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson. Description: New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, 2019. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2018059654| ISBN 9781978805675 (pbk. : alk. paper) | ISBN 9781978805682 (cloth : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Science—Study and teaching—Social aspects. | Mathematics—Study and teaching—Social aspects. | Minorities in science. | Women in science. | Minorities in mathematics. | Women in mathematics. | African Americans—Education. | Minorities—Education. | Women—Education. | Educational equalization. Classification: LCC Q181 .D525 2019 | DDC 507.1/2—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018059654 A British Cataloging-in-P ublication record for this book is available from the British Library. This collection copyright © 2020 by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Individual chapters copyright © 2020 in the names of their authors All rights reserved No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Please contact Rutgers University Press, 106 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. The only exception to this prohibition is “fair use” as defined by U.S. copyright law. The paper used in this publication meets the requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992. www.r utgersuniversitypress.org Manufactured in the United States of America
Introduction Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
Part I: The Structural Dynamics of STEM 1. Color-Blind Liberalism in Postsecondary
STEM Education Lorenzo DuBois Baber
2. Rendering the Invisible Visible: Student Success
in Exclusive Excellence STEM Environments Robbin Chapman
3. Show Me Your Papers: When Racism and Sexism
Trump Credibility in STEM Monica F. Cox
Part II: The Impact of Race and Gender on Scholars of Color in STEM 4. Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class in the
White (Male Settler) Spaces of Science and Mathematics: Navigations by Black, Afro-Brazilian, and Pakistani/American Womxn Krystal Madden, Priscila Pereira, Sara Rezvi, Victoria F. Trinder, and Danny Bernard Martin
5. A Critical Examination of the Influence
of Systemic Racism in Shaping the African STEM Research Workforce Jomo W. Mutegi
6. They Shall Not Be Moved: Black Students’
Persistence as Engineering Majors Dorinda J. Cart er Andrews
7. Determinants of Mental Health and Career
Trajectories: Rationale and Design of the Engineering and Computing Doctoral Experiences Survey (ECDES) Ebony O. McGee, William H. Robinson, Dara Naphan-K ingery, Stacey Houston II, and Gabriela León-P érez
Part III: The Way Forward for Students, Faculty, and Institutions: Strategies for STEM Success 8. Lessons from PreK–12 to Support Black Students
in STEM Higher Education H. Richard Milner IV and Abiola Farinde-W u
9. Black Males’ STEM Experiences: Factors That
Contribute to Their Success Christopher C. Jett and Julius Davis
10. Understanding Barriers to Diversifying STEM
through Uncovering Ideological Conflicts Lindsay Brown, Alissa M. Manolescu, Laura Provolt, Aspen Robinson, and Kecia M. Thomas
11. Next Steps: Not Easy but Quite Necessary
Solutions for a More Equitable STEM Learning Experience Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
Notes on Contributors
Introduction ebony o. mcgee and william h. robinson Diversity: Th ose differences that carry social and historical significance in the modern world. —Kecia M. Thomas, Ph.D., professor and senior associate dean, University of Georgia
The traditional discussion of the need to diversify the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) often starts with the assumption of a crisis-level shortage of White male U.S. citizens (and their Asian male counterparts) that could be filled with w omen, minoritized p eople of color, and international students to maintain the nation’s competitive standing in STEM. As such, minoritized people of color who participate in STEM are positioned as replacements in the mostly White STEM professoriate and workforce. Furthermore, typical arguments for diversifying STEM claim that greater diversity in collaborations results in greater innovation and more creative, groundbreaking solutions because people of diverse backgrounds approach problems differently and engage in constructive debates (Dezsö & Ross, 2012; Hong & Page, 2004; Jehn, Northcraft, & Neale, 1999; Richard, 2000). This perspective maintains that the overwhelming uniformity of the U.S. STEM workforce (84 percent are White or Asian men) jeopardizes national scientific and technical achievement (Ashcraft & Breitzman, 2012; National Science Foundation, 2018) and positions minoritized p eople of color as an untapped resource 1
that can be used to remedy the lack of diverse perspectives that plagues STEM fields (Metcalf, 2010). Widespread arguments for broadening participation in STEM fields that treat underrepresented groups as an untapped resource with value added warrant critique because they promote the advancing of minoritized groups in STEM in order to improve industry bottom lines and the nation’s competitiveness (Baber, 2015). But diversifying STEM is important beyond the top-down approach that focuses on the interests of STEM industries and what the nation can derive from broadened participation. Diversifying STEM affects individuals who have been marginalized in their attempts to receive training in science and engineering, and it enables them to have successful careers that align with their abilities and interests. Although the nation continues to diversify both culturally and ethnically, and educational institutions are tasked with preparing students to thrive in our increasingly diverse nation (Smith & Schonfeld, 2000), minoritized communities continue to be excluded, oppressed, and marginalized in higher education and in U.S. society generally (Bonilla-Silva, 2001; Peña, 2012). Racial and gender diversity are lacking at all levels of the U.S. education system and workforce. Statistics on the racial and ethnic diversity of teachers in our nation’s K–12 public school systems show that although non-W hite students accounted for more than 50 percent of all public school students in 2014 (National Science Foundation, 2017), roughly 84 percent of K–12 teachers w ere White women (Feistritzer, Griffin, & Linnajarvi, 2011). Such racial disparities are also reflected in postsecondary degree attainment. In 2014, African Americans comprised 12.4 percent of the overall U.S. population but less than 4 percent of all students graduating with an engineering degree at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels (National Science Foundation, 2017). In the same year, women represented less than 24 percent of all students who earned undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees (National Science Foundation, 2017). In 2015, African American graduate students were the most underrepresented of all racial and ethnic groups at 2 Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
research universities with very high research activity—the institutions with the largest research infrastructure and level of support for graduate students (Okahana, Feaster, & Allum, 2016). Among professors of undergraduate and graduate education, the proportion of Black engineering and computing faculty has remained at about 2.5 percent over a ten-year period (Yoder, 2015; Robinson, McGee, Bentley, & Houston, 2015) while the proportion of w omen faculty increased from 11 percent in 2006 to 17 percent in 2017 (Yoder, 2017). Disproportionality also characterizes the engineering industry, as shown in a recent study by Baker, Dunnavant, and McNair (2015). Among the eleven largest Silicon Valley companies, which employ the upper echelon of engineers in the United States, only three companies have reached degree parity for their Black employees in technical departments (i.e., the proportion of Black employees reflects the proportion of Black degree recipients in the United States). Only one of t hese three companies, Hewlett-Packard, has reached population parity, in which the proportion of Black employees reflects the proportion of Black U.S. citizens (Baker, Dunnavant, & McNair, 2015). With regard to w omen, only two companies reached degree parity, and none reached population parity in their technical departments. Such incongruity of access to science and engineering education and employment does not occur in a social vacuum; rather, it is the result of multifaceted, sociohistorical legacies of power and privilege. Research has demonstrated that U.S. universities are plagued with numerous institutional challenges that impede the broadening of participation by underrepresented minoritized (URM) students in STEM: (1) too few students, K–12 teachers, and faculty of color in the STEM disciplines, a situation fueled by institutional and social barriers in the academy (Turner, González, & Wood, 2008); (2) URM students’ difficulty with envisioning themselves as part of the STEM workforce in the face of racially charged STEM academic environments (Gibbs, McGready, Bennett, & Griffin, 2014; Gibbs, McGready, & Griffin, 2015); (3) unwelcoming institutional and educational climates in STEM (Ong, Wright, Introduction 3
Espinosa, & Orfield, 2011); (4) racial/ethnic stereotyping (Malone & Barabino, 2009; McGee & Martin, 2011); and (5) the “revolving door” syndrome of URM K–12 teachers and faculty who can serve as role models for students of color (Eagan & Garvey, 2015; Zambrana et al., 2015). To illustrate what a Black engineering student in the United States t oday might experience, let us take the example of Samuel (a pseudonym) as he reflects on his experiences in a doctoral engineering program as part of a qualitative study we conducted (Robinson et al., 2015; Robinson et al., 2016). When asked for his thoughts about the lack of racial diversity among engineering faculty, he said, “As far as a way of getting people to want to be faculty, people in general go where they’re wanted, where they feel like t hey’re wanted. So as a student, if you have a bad experience and you d on’t feel like your presence is even wanted, never mind improving the situation, you want out of the environment, b ecause it’s toxic. So take a person like me—I could do a lot of good around here. I don’t want to be here. Not because I don’t want to do any good, [but] b ecause this has been damaging to my psyche.” Black doctoral students who have shared their stories with us echo Samuel’s message: becoming a member of the academic faculty community necessitates positive reinforcement throughout one’s academic training. When students such as Samuel have the ability to be engineering professors but cannot envision themselves as belonging to the profession due to an unwelcoming and racially charged environment, they often leave academia. Together, the authors of the present volume expand this general concept by explaining how students with nonnormative identities in STEM educational contexts are miseducated and made to feel that they do not belong. As these authors critique the institutional structures that lead to disparities in STEM persistence, they examine both the negative and positive roles that institutions, educators, colleagues, and peers play in the critical educational experiences of Black students. The lack of diversity in the STEM academic and industry workforce (i.e., in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and disability 4 Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
status in disciplines that train students to participate in the STEM workforce) requires researchers who specialize in racism, sexism, and other forms of bias to be part of the discussion and search for solutions. Research on diversity in STEM frequently neglects how race and gender intersect within the complex structural dynamics of STEM. Much more often, such research has focused solely on gendered experiences within STEM, thus ignoring the experiences of many students who are affected through both race and gender. Our edited volume, Diversifying STEM: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Race and Gender, serves as an extended discussion of the foundational concepts of our research group, the Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative (EDEFI; pronounced “edify”). The authors who contributed to this volume address the topical void in the literature by using research expertise from multiple disciplines of STEM education. Their scholarship includes race, culture, and social stratification; social justice in education; the affirmative personal and academic development of Black men and boys; mathematical and racial identity; racial socialization processes; and race and gender intersectionality. These multidisciplinary scholars offer a wide array of perspectives. Our hopes are that this volume w ill allow practi tioners, teachers, students, faculty, and professionals to reimagine STEM across a variety of educational paradigms, perspectives, and disciplines, which is critical to finding solutions that broaden the participation of historically underrepresented groups within the STEM disciplines.
The Purpose of the Book Much of STEM research is reductionist and isolated within individual scholarly domains. Education scholars have produced valuable work offering suggestions for the improvement of deeply entrenched issues. Sociologists have long focused on understanding the social-structural constraints within which educational institutions operate. Psychologists have traditionally focused on mental health implications of discrimination or schemas regarding Introduction 5
potential for success. Our book integrates sociological and psychological elements into this educational issue and uniquely offers multidisciplinary perspectives on two levels. First, each author incorporates elements of multiple fields into her or his analysis. Second, in their aggregate, the voices of t hese experts from several disciplines provide a well-rounded picture of the way STEM disciplines operate from a variety of perspectives. Each work presented in this volume complements the other contributions, producing a strong framework through which to understand STEM education for URM groups. This approach is vital for envisioning the ways in which diversity in the STEM disciplines can feasibly be improved to achieve racial equity, thereby increasing opportunities for creativity and innovation for individuals who have been marginalized. A related shortcoming of previous research on diversity in STEM is the lack of intersectional approaches. Impor tant research has focused primarily on race or gender, but a well- rounded mix of intersectional research is lacking. While many studies have begun e ither to statistically control for race while examining gender or to control for gender while examining race, these approaches ignore the fact that each of us has multiple identities and thus experiences multiple forms of marginality. In order to adequately address the multidimensional, systemic injustice that is present in STEM, an interdisciplinary, intersectional approach is fundamental.
Forming the Collaboration of Engineering and Social Science Both the collaboration for EDEFI and this edited volume w ere founded on the individual experiences in STEM of Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson. Our work has been influenced by our mutual research on the perspectives of marginalized students who have experienced obstacles during their STEM education.
6 Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
About Ebony O. McGee Although Ebony O. McGee’s bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and her master’s degree in industrial engineering are almost a generation old, and much has changed in that time, today’s students of color continue to grapple with racialized experiences that burden their efforts to pursue a STEM degree. For women of color, racism and sexism further magnify their difficulties in the field. McGee’s research focuses on (1) the role of racialized experiences and race-gender bias in STEM educational and career achievement, (2) problematizing traditional notions of academic achievement, and (3) what it means to be successful in STEM yet marginalized. This marginalization creates racialized residue that students of color must carry with them and manage throughout their STEM education and c areers. While McGee’s PhD is in mathematics education, in order to gain a holistic understanding of the experiences of students and faculty of color, she had to familiarize herself with a wide range of perspectives on race, ethnicity, and social inequalities in STEM. Thus, her research evolved into cross-disciplinary examinations that link theory and methodology from fields as diverse as cultural psychology, history, sociology, anthropology, wellness, and mental/physical health. In 2012, McGee joined the Vanderbilt University faculty as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning of Peabody College. In 2016, she became the first African American female faculty member promoted to associate professor with tenure in the history of Vanderbilt’s Peabody College (Dr. Rich Milner, an author in this volume, was the first African American faculty member promoted to tenured associate professor in 2008). McGee was recently awarded the prestigious NSF CAREER award to examine ways to broaden participation in engineering and computing through a multitiered research design that studies how race-related bias and microaggressive acts affect the STEM trajectories of historically marginalized doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers.
About William H. Robinson William H. Robinson once heard a keynote talk given by Dr. John Brooks Slaughter, the former president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. In that speech, Dr. Slaughter said, “Minority students suffer from the absence of minority role models in the classroom, but too few minority students are encouraged and guided into graduate education so that they can ultimately become faculty members who can inspire and educate even more minority students.” Despite growing up in a family of educators, Robinson had never considered college professor as a c areer choice. That changed at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, when as an undergraduate student he met Dr. Reginald J. Perry and Dr. Roderick D. Wilson, two African American professors in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Having African American role models gave Robinson the confidence to pursue his PhD in electrical engineering and to seek a university faculty position. While in graduate school at the Georgia Institute of Technology, he also received valuable mentorship from two other African American faculty members, Dr. Gary S. May and Dr. Mark J. T. Smith. In 2003, Robinson joined the Vanderbilt faculty as a tenure-t rack assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is the first African American faculty member promoted to associate professor with tenure (in 2010) and, with his most recent promotion (in 2018), the first African American full professor in the history of Vanderbilt’s School of Engineering. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Academic and Research Leadership Network (https://w ww .arlnetwork.org/ ). This network works with minority engineers in academia, industry, and government laboratories whose c areers involve a strong focus on research, to prepare them for leadership and success in their chosen discipline.
8 Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
About EDEFI We came together with EDEFI because we see the problem of recruiting and retaining Black engineering faculty (and Black STEM faculty in general) as a multifaceted challenge that must counter the inertia of the status quo. The mission of EDEFI is to investigate the institutional, technical, social, and cultural f actors that affect decision-making, career choices, and career satisfaction for engineering and computing doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty who have been marginalized by race and/ or gender. EDEFI also examines how those factors contribute to the current underrepresentation of these marginalized groups in engineering and computing faculty positions. Our research has identified barriers of race, ethnicity, gender, social class, sexual orientation, culture, and language that riddle the educational system and deprive some students and faculty of full participation in STEM. Our findings indicate that the pathway to success for students of color remains troubled, even for those at the top of the STEM academic ladder. To unpack the racialized experiences of STEM students of color, we have drawn on several theoretical constructs, including critical race theory (CRT), racial microaggressions, impostor syndrome, and social cognitive c areer theory. These frameworks have added much-needed depth to our conceptual tools for describing the totality of racialized and race-gender experiences affecting STEM students and faculty.
Organization of the Book The book’s division into three parts allows the reader to gain a sense of the structures of racism and the intersectionality of racism and sexism facing STEM students of color; how they contend with these structures; and what institutions, departments, and professors can do to (a) improve the experiences of students of color in STEM and (b) encourage their representation and persistence. The authors in part I discuss the widely held ideology that science and mathematics are completely objective and value-free, which Introduction 9
promotes pedagogies of colorblindness in the classroom and an avoidance of discussions around using mathematics and science to promote social justice. Part II focuses on how male and female students of color experience—both interpersonally and psychologically—the intersection of racist and sexist structures that lead to general underrepresentation and marginalization. The chapters in part III present evidence-based research that suggests concrete ways of d oing a better job of including p eople of color in STEM.
part i: the structural dynamics of stem ecause racism has individual and institutional components, t hese B chapters consider the racialized assumptions, policies, and practices embedded in academia as well as individual acts of bias and racism that affect underrepresented students of color in STEM more directly. Attributing the systemic nature of a racialized educational setting to just a few bad actors only exacerbates the manifestations of racism. Thus, this thematic section interrogates the ideologies related to colorblindness and meritocracy— which diminish or negate the realities of systemic racism—and exemplify how structural racism can manifest in educational spaces in general and STEM spaces in particu lar. Our contributors identify structural racism as systemic by foregrounding the reality of the United States’ racialized systems, wherein economic, political, social, ideological, and educational dynamics routinely advantage Whites while producing chronically adverse outcomes for nondominant racial and ethnic groups. These chapters also highlight structural challenges associated with racism, sexism, and race- gender bias that impinge on the experiences of URM students in STEM. Part I contains three chapters. In “Color-Blind Liberalism in Postsecondary STEM Education,” Baber analyzes the structuration of systemic racism in postsecondary STEM education. In “Rendering the Invisible Visible: Student Success in Exclusive Excellence STEM Environments,” Chapman confronts problematic institutional spaces by focusing on the imperative, and often 10 Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
invisible, role of institutions in maintaining inequities that compromise URM student success. In “Show Me Your Papers: When Racism and Sexism Trump Credibility in STEM,” Cox analyzes literat ure regarding the experiences of women faculty of color in STEM through the lens of a birther metaphor.
part ii: the impact of race and gender on scholars of color in stem Negative societal forces frequently discourage scholars who have the potential to excel in science and engineering and join academia (Robinson et al., 2015; Robinson et al., 2016). Th ese authors use race and gender frameworks to consider how students cope with racial and gender stereot ypes and other forms of bias while maintaining varying levels of achievement in STEM disciplines. Frameworks include CRT, tokenism, Black feminism/womanism, racial microaggressions, John Henryism, stress and strain frames, and racial battle fatigue. The frameworks are used to explore historical and contemporary practices as well as institutional and social barriers that have negatively affected Black students in STEM, such as unwelcoming institutional climates, racial/ethnic stereotyping, a lack of a critical mass of STEM faculty of color, a lack of role models or mentors in STEM, and high numbers of URM students dropping out of STEM disciplines. In “Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class in the White (Male Settler) Spaces of Science and Mathematics: Navigations by Black, Afro-Brazilian, and Pakistani/American Womxn,” Madden and colleagues explore the particu lar ways in which three women in STEM, who identify as Pakistani, African American, and Afro- Brazilian, narrate and map out their experiences as doctoral students in the contexts of race, class, gender, place, and other relevant considerations. In “A Critical Examination of the Influence of Systemic Racism in Shaping the African American STEM Research Workforce,” Mutegi uses an in-depth, first-person narrative of a STEM doctoral student to understand the connection between systemic racism and why STEM looks and functions the way it currently does for African Americans in the STEM research Introduction 11
workforce. In “They Shall Not Be Moved: Black Students’ Persis tence as Engineering Majors,” Carter Andrews uses CRT as an analytical lens to explore Black engineering students’ marginalization by race and gender while illuminating how concepts such as racial microaggressions, racial battle fatigue, and intersectionality theory help us to examine and address problematic practices in STEM classrooms. Finally, in “Determinants of M ental Health and Career Trajectories: Rationale and Design of the Engineering and Computing Doctoral Experiences Survey (ECDES),” McGee et al. present the methodology and rationale of a nationwide survey of engineering doctoral students that was designed to explore the impact of racialized and gendered stressors on mental health outcomes.
part iii: the way forward for students, faculty, and institutions: strategies for stem success The general trend regarding the relationship between diversity in higher education institutions and student educational experiences is that a diverse campus environment better prepares students to be successful in a society that is becoming increasingly global. Without offering any quick fixes, these authors discuss sound strategies supported by evidence of success that fosters the m ental and physical well-being of students and faculty in STEM. They explore the role of mentorship in fostering a healthy and culturally affirming STEM identity in students and professionals of color. The section also outlines what institutions are doing, or should be doing, to create or improve institutional climates in order to enhance opportunities for students of color in STEM in ways that recognize and foster their brilliance. It also explores how modern events have steered institutions of higher education t oward recognizing their role in ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion in their student bodies. In “Lessons from PreK–12 to Support Black Students in STEM Higher Education,” Milner and Farinde-Wu examine what can be learned from the m iddle and high school experiences of African Americans in STEM to elucidate practices in higher education. 12 Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
In “Black Males’ STEM Experiences: F actors That Contribute to Their Success,” Jett and Davis draw from the growing body of research available on the K–12, undergraduate, and graduate experiences of Black men and boys to extrapolate the f actors that have contributed to their success in STEM disciplines. In “Understanding Barriers to Diversifying STEM through Uncovering Ideological Conflicts,” Brown and colleagues identify how persistent diversity-related problems, such as the ongoing race and gender participation disparities in STEM, are actually a reflection of deep-seated differences in diversity ideologies between t hose who have historically led science in the United States (i.e., majority- group members: White males) and the very populations these disciplines seek to attract (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities and women).
Conclusion Greater diversity of identities, experiences, and values within STEM fields is critical to ensure that the needs and interests of all people are met. Put simply, members of society with the technological power to innovate solutions to social and environmental problems should resemble the members of that society. Institutions of higher education play an important role in ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion among their students and in creating access to opportunities and power. However, just as they have the power to increase equity across groups in society, these institutions can reproduce social inequality as well. Educational researchers have identified barriers of race, ethnicity, gender, social class, sexual orientation, culture, and language that permeate the educational system and deprive some students and faculty of full participation in science and engineering. Currently, we are encouraging underrepresented students and faculty of color to enter a system replete with race-related discriminatory barriers, including racialized bias and ideologies about who is competent (and who is not) to the detriment of the students’ health and well-being (McGee & Stovall, 2015). A host of policies and practices committed to diversity in STEM education and employment have been developed and Introduction 13
implemented but without adequate understanding of why partic ular groups of students continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. This edited volume expands the more narrowly focused and established narratives on diversity in STEM education by examining how race and gender intersect to shape the experiences and opportunities for STEM scholars in higher education.
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16 Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
The Structural Dynamics of STEM
1 Color-Blind Liberalism in Postsecondary STEM Education lorenzo dubois baber
In September 2016, a guest lecture on racial and gender microaggressions during an engineering course at Iowa State University prompted waves of criticism from conservative media outlets. The controversy began when a student sent a screenshot of a lecture slide to his parents, who promptly forwarded it to a blog reporter with the comment “I guess I’ve seen this stuff before online but never thought it was widespread enough to invade Iowa. I weep for our f uture and am glad I raised my son to see this for what it really is and not buy into it, but he still has three more years of brainwashing left. He’s not out of the woods yet.” The attempt to reframe institutional recognition of cultural microaggressions as invasive brainwashing reflects a general desire to continue the normalization of dominant culture, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Indeed, t here remains considerable debate over the philosophical ethos that supports STEM disciplines (Siegel, 2002; Stanley & Brickhouse, (2001). Meritocratic perspectives suggest that sociocultural norms in science education are rooted in the “impersonal characteristics of science” (Merton, 1996, p. 269) and produce objective sociocultural standards for communication of knowledge. Such perspectives align with positivist productions of scientific 19
knowledge within value-neutral environments, positioning concepts of racialized or gendered microaggressions as subjective forms of preferential treatment. This value-neutral ideology protects inherited advantages, creates insider/outsider dynamics, and necessitates forms of cultural capital. Among students from traditionally marginalized populations, failure is viewed as an individual consequence rather than a reflection of systemic oppression. Critical perspectives reframe meritocratic beliefs as enduring myths rooted in traditional White elite culture. In postsecondary STEM education, critical perspectives challenge persistent demographic homogeneity within the various fields of study. If the ethos of STEM disciplines is objectively impersonal, as traditional perspectives suggest, why do Whites dominate the field? Assuming we reject the notion that p eople of color are uniquely disinclined to participate in STEM education, we must consider the likelihood that postsecondary STEM education is not isolated from socially constructed ideologies, notably racism and sexism, that influence our society (Omi & Winant, 2014). This chapter offers an analytical discussion of the structuration of systemic oppression in postsecondary STEM education with specific attention to race. Utilizing frames of critical race theory (CRT), I examine ways in which forms of universalism serve to reify systemic racism in postsecondary STEM education. Extending the rational characteristics of scientific inquiry to the social construction of a scientific community assumes that intellectual spaces are, by default, culturally neutral, with no group dominating in ways that serve to marginalize others. Conflating the ele ment of objectivity with the action of objectivism, universalism masks the immutable role of institutional racism as a central feature of postsecondary STEM.1 I describe universalism as the philosophical underpinning of postsecondary STEM and briefly summarize concepts supporting CRT. I then offer an examination of the role of systemic racism— specifically, color-blind liberalism—in centering White privilege as a normative characteristic of postsecondary STEM. I conclude the chapter with alternative strategies that may serve as points of 20 Lorenzo DuBois Baber
departure from entrenched beliefs of universalism toward frames of inclusive diversity as an endemic feature of postsecondary STEM.
Conceptual Background Noted sociologist Robert K. Merton identified universalism as part of the ethos of modern science (Merton, 1996). Borrowing from Speier’s (1938) assertion that formation of interest groups requires a structure of value preferences, Merton describes an ethos as a set of norms that bind a social structure through circular patterns of institutional legitimization, perceptual transmission, reinforcing sanctions, and individual internalization. Among the foundational norms of the scientific community, Merton argues, is the concept that “acceptance or rejection of claims entering the lists of science is not to depend on the personal or social attributes of their protagonists; their race, nationality, religion, class, and personal qualities are as such irrelevant. Objectivity precludes particularism” (Merton, 1996, p. 269). The concept of universalism offered by Merton argues for a process of scientific inquiry, including collaborations among individual scientists, that is unconstrained by subjective elements. With the assumption that scientific inquiry operates independently from sociocultural paradigms of society, universalism is attached to forms of scientific rationality that undergirds the concept of modern science (Cobern & Loving, 2001 Erduran & Dagher, 2014). Universalism supports rationality by establishing standards for the observation, accounting, and communicative discourse of natural phenomena. Universalism provides a coherent boundary for epistemology and socialization across vari ous types of science, as well as distinctive marks in comparison to other forms of inquiry, specifically in humanities and the arts. A range of views exist about the merit of Mertonian views on universalism as a norm of scientific inquiry and knowledge production (Kalleberg, 2007; Long & Fox, 1995; Pearson, 1985; Siegel, 2002). Kardash and Edwards (2012) argue that Merton presented his norms as an ideal of how science should operate, not Color-Blind Liberalism
as a reflection of how science does operate. Merton (1996) himself suggests that scientific universalism, similarly to democratic values, is subject to being “deviously affirmed in principle and suppressed in practice” (p. 271). Supporting a constructivist view of modern science, Stanley and Brickhouse (2001) state that forms of universalism underestimate the influence of sociocultural organ ization on the scientific community. They also question the degree to which universalism operates consistently across epistemic, cognitive, and social aspects of scientific inquiry. If universalism supports a self-correcting process that ultimately overcomes biases of individual scientists, how does one explain persistent demographic inequalities in postsecondary STEM education and practice? Perhaps a better question is this: to what extent are these observable inequalities attached to norms aligned with universalism? I turn to tenets of CRT as an analytical tool to consider these questions.
Critical Race Theory and Color-Blind Liberalism CRT emanates from intellectual movements in legal studies during the 1970s (Crenshaw, Gotanda, Peller, & Thomas, 1995). CRT scholars seek to challenge prevailing beliefs that intellectual knowledge is objectively situated outside sociocultural constructions ingrained in American society, specifically race and racism. Rather than consider exercises of racial subordination as rare outliers in American society, CRT scholars recognize racism as an endemic feature that contributes to manifestations of advantage and disadvantage. As part of scholarly analysis, constructs of CRT are used to (a) center experiences of communities of color through counter- narratives; (b) challenge structural norms that refuse to acknowledge the permanent effects of racism; (c) deconstruct ideologies of whiteness, color blindness, and interest convergence that deliberately slow progress toward racial justice; (d) through interdisciplinary scholarship and practice, reconstitute social structures around principles of equality. In higher education, scholars use CRT constructs to challenge the persistence of meritocratic ideology and offer alternatives for radical transformation of colleges and 22 Lorenzo DuBois Baber
universities (Baber, 2016; Harper, Patton, & Wooden, 2009; Ledesma & Calderon, 2015). However, as DeCuir and Dixson (2004) note, higher education researchers have primarily focused on counter-storytelling in CRT analysis. Less utilized are CRT tenants that critique forms of liberalism normative in postsecondary education. Liberalism serves as a philosophical companion to universalism, positioning scientific inquiry within larger frameworks of egalitarianism and meritocracy. The pragmatic functions of liberalism are to support the gradual progress of ideas within complicated social environments, transmit and conserve the best features of society through a value-neutral process, and consider cultural pluralism as a self-regulatory antidote for social determinism (Dewey, 1996; Thayer-Bacon, 2006). Further, liberalism prefers progressive challenges to the status quo, seeks to standardize modes of knowledge and production, and assumes that all cultural groups have equal influence on social structures and practices. While liberalism seeks to protect individual freedom and collective inquiry from threats of socially constructed hierarchies, CRT scholars suggest that it operates in the opposite direction (Bonilla-Silva, 2006; Gotanda, 1995; Matsuda, 2013). The apoliti cal, value-neutral aspirations of liberalism contradict everyday realities of racial oppression in the United States. Most notably, through color-blind rhetoric, liberalism seeks to compartmentalize the historical and contemporary consequences of racial injustice from the principles of American egalitarianism. Such bifurcation allows for a collective path of least resistance, situating racial injustice as an aberrational feature of an American society that is generally meritocratic in the distribution of economic and sociocultural opportunity. Detachment serves to mediate racialized privileges of individuals not connected to realities of the racial oppression and masks structural forms of racial power through the idealistic language. Sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (2006) articulates such discourse through the frame of color-blind liberalism, suggesting that White privilege frames race-related issues around principles of equality while opposing practical Color-Blind Liberalism
approaches to addressing racial inequality as forms of preferential treatment: “This claim necessitates ignoring the fact that people of color are severely underrepresented in most good jobs, schools, and universities and, hence, is an abstract utilization of the idea of ‘equal opportunity’ ” (p. 28). With specific attention to postsecondary environments, I turn to the ways in which universalism works to support forms of color-blind liberalism in postsecondary STEM.
Color-Blind Liberalism in Postsecondary STEM Education Racial inequality in postsecondary STEM is observable in the demographic homogeneity of degree recipients across various science and engineering fields (Tables 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3). Across multiple STEM subfields, degree attainment rates for African Americans and Latino populations are disproportionately low. Despite heavy federal investment in postsecondary STEM over the last sixty years, individuals from traditionally marginalized racial/ ethnic identities, notably African Americans and Latinos, have not earned postsecondary STEM credentials at proportional rates. Inquiry into t hese patterns are decades old, and seminal scholars, notably Shirley Malcolm (1981), Willie Pearson (1985), and Freeman Hrabowski (1991), have questioned the persistent underrepre sentation of African American and Latino populations in STEM fields. Malcolm (1990) notes that while scientist espouse principles of reason and objectivity, historically “differential opportunities were extended in science, independent of talent. Examples about opportunities for the study of science, the tools needed to do science, and the recognition within science have been handed out based on consideration of race and gender” (p. 247). Moreover, Malcolm notes, persistent underrepresentation reproduces racial inequalities in STEM practices, as justice requires the recognition of nonstandard forms of individual potential, sustained commitment to mentoring, and guidance through professional and personal transitions. While the ethos of universalism creates principled pressure to allocate rewards based on performance, it does not guarantee 24 Lorenzo DuBois Baber
Table 1.1 Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded to African American and Latino Students by Science and Engineering Subfield, 2013 field
Engineering Aerospace Chemical Civil Electrical Industrial Materials Mechanical Science Natu ral Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean Physical Mathematical/Computer
total degrees awarded (%)
total degrees awarded (%)
91 359 542 1,147 236 33 694
2.8 4.5 3.6 7.0 5.6 2.5 3.3
288 638 1,802 1,790 543 81 1,970
9.0 8.1 12.0 10.9 12.9 6.1 9.4
source: National Science Foundation, 2016
Table 1.2 Master’s Degrees Awarded to African Americans and Latinos by Selected Science and Engineering Subfield, 2013 field
Engineering Aerospace Chemical Civil Electrical Industrial Materials Mechanical Science Natu ral Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean Physical Mathematical/Computer
total degrees awarded (%)
total degrees awarded (%)
22 66 177 251 233 17 100
1.7 3.4 2.7 2.0 4.4 1.5 1.6
81 62 425 334 394 51 295
6.4 3.2 6.6 2.7 7.4 4.6 4.1
source: National Science Foundation, 2016
Table 1.3 Doctoral Degrees Awarded to African Americans and Latinos by Selected Science and Engineering Subfield, 2013 field
Engineering Aerospace Chemical Civil Electrical Industrial Materials Mechanical Science Natu ral Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean Physical Mathematical/Computer
total degrees awarded (%)
total degrees awarded (%)
4 13 14 34 23 20 29
1.3 1.3 1.4 1.4 5.9 2.6 2.1
11 17 24 34 10 16 34
3.5 1.7 2.3 1.4 2.6 2.1 2.4
source: National Science Foundation, 2016
equitable access for p eople of color to resources that support per formance (Long & Fox, 1995). Therefore, rewards (e.g., degrees in the field) that appear to be based on objective performance are as likely to be based on subjective proximity to resources. Ignoring subjective bias in the normative practices of postsecondary STEM education aligns universalism with color-blind liberalism. As an initial step, nonrecognition of racism allows for the systematic denial of racial inequality by deflecting from substantive evidence to forms of methodological processing (Bonilla-Silva, 2006; Gotanda, 1995). Rather than considering evidence of marginalizing attitudes and practices in shaping individual outcomes, nonrecognition allows for academic failures to be the sole responsibility of t hose who did not take advantage of access to sources of support. This rhetoric is particularly evident as diversity efforts in postsecondary STEM are isolated to promoting compositional diversity. Without assessment and deconstruction of social power and privilege, critics of diversity efforts point to continued 26 Lorenzo DuBois Baber
disparities as evidence that, despite forms of preferential treatment in policy, persistence rates among African American and Latino students remain disproportionately low. Further, success remains attached to forms of cultural assimilation or, at best, cultural pluralism. Each of these paths aligns with universalism, as they suggest that compartmentalizing emerging science identity from cultural self-expression maintains culturally neutral spaces. Such a perspective is maintained through nonrecognition of (or explaining through cultural deficit ideology) the relationship between achievement in STEM and the homogenous demographic characteristics of successful individuals. The collaboration between color-blind liberalism and universalism in postsecondary STEM education is not confined to individual outcomes. For example, federal policy actions toward broadening participation in postsecondary STEM education tend to avoid direct discussion of historical and contemporary oppression in the field (National Academies, 2007; 2010; National Academy of Sciences, 2011). When policy efforts typically express an economic rationale to maintain the United States’ six-decade advantage in scientific innovation and technology, diversity becomes a form of competitive advantage within the increasingly globalized economic environment. The focus on diversity and inclusion for h uman capital needs serves to minimize the complicit role of race and racism on outcomes in postsecondary STEM education. From a color-blind perspective, emphasis on h uman capital rationale rather than a racial justice supports integrationist ideology to maximize support from White elites through interest convergence (Baber, 2015; Bell, 2004). Interest convergence suggests that actions addressing racial inequalities depend on whether such activities best serve the interest of White elites. At a policy level, interest convergence allows for the acknowledgment of racial inequalities in postsecondary STEM education. However, legitimate actions are supported only to the point where they do not threaten the superior societal status of the dominant culture. As an element of the dominant discourse supporting federal actions around broadening participation in postsecondary STEM Color-Blind Liberalism
education, interest convergence serves to position p eople of color as secondary beneficiaries of policies. As such, when benefits end for the primary beneficiary, policies supporting equity and inclusion w ill cease. Persistent demographic disparities and the current rationale for federal policy reflect color-blind liberalism and a paced progress toward racial equity in postsecondary STEM education. When considering the micro-level student outcomes, color-blind liberalism aligns with universalism to mask White privilege and maintain socially constructed racial hierarchies. Students of color are uniquely injured when their persistence efforts, successful and unsuccessful, are bifurcated from subjective realities of the environment. When considering the macro-level outcomes federal policy discourse, color-blind liberalism supports universalist ideology by centering diversity efforts around concerns for the dominant cultural group (e.g., White, elite, masculine). As such, p eople of color in postsecondary STEM education are rendered as fortuitous beneficiaries to policy outcomes.
Resistance to Color-Blind Liberalism in Postsecondary STEM Education For advocates of racial justice in postsecondary STEM education there is, as Derrick Bell (2012) states, “good news that is like w ater to a thirsty soul” (p. 532). Beyond serving as an analytical tool to deconstruct systemic inequalities, CRT offers alternative pathways for individuals to resist and transform current sociocultural norms. For example, Matsuda (2013) offers resistance and survival through development of multiple forms of consciousness. Applying a DuBoisian notion of double consciousness, Matsuda suggests that individuals can make the deliberate choice to see the world from the viewpoint of the oppressed while simultaneously understanding dominant-centered tools of analysis. Through these multiple forms of critical consciousness, individuals are able to reject “narrow evidentiary concepts of relevance” and “artificial bifurcation of thought and feeling” (p. 32). Critical consciousness recognizes 28 Lorenzo DuBois Baber
that many cognitive and affective processes relevant to the socialization of the scientific community, while extraneous to standard scientific epistemology and discourse, operate within the bound aries of scientific inquiry. Solórzano and Delgado Bernal (2001) suggest that high levels of critical consciousness serve to initiate transformative resistance among a group of individuals motivated by social justice and equality. A transformative form of resistance refers to both a critique of the system and a desire for systemic changes to the structure. Transformative resistance is a level above forms of conformist resis tance typical in postsecondary education—when activities around diversity fail to challenge structural inequalities, focusing instead on changing individual dispositions to better match current norms within the structure. Transformative resistance actively contests cultural integration or assimilation as requirements for inclusion. Further, transformative resistance supports the centrality of experiential knowledge that challenges ahistorical, apo liti cal, and acultural understandings of community spaces. Embracing a collective action, transformative resistance works to amplify acts against norms that negatively shape experiences of those traditionally marginalized in the community space. In postsecondary STEM education, transformational resistance may operate to align various aspects of a curriculum—epistemic, technical, and sociocultural—to reframe the principals of universalism around the structural failings of inclusion in scientific practice. In postsecondary STEM education, actions around individual development of multiple consciousness and collective action for transformational resistance are likely to be framed as forms of particularism that contradict ideology related to universalism, including color- blind liberalism. This perspective, however, assumes a disconnected relationship between the epistemology of science (knowing), the technological skills of science (doing), and the intersectional identities of scientists (being). We must understand that recognition of structural inequalities, including acknowledgment of cultural microaggressions, does not necessitate comprehensive rejection of traditional scientific epistemology. Color-Blind Liberalism
We must also understand the production of scientific knowledge, however objective in method, as situated within socially constructed norms. Longino (1990) suggests that objectivity may not preclude particularism; rather, particularism may serve objectivity: “The greater the number of different points of view included in a given community, the more likely it is that its scientific practice w ill be objective, that is, that it w ill result in descriptions and explanations of natural processes that are more reliable in the sense of less characterized by idiosyncratic subjective preferences of community members than would otherw ise be the case” (p. 80). The contextual application of this vision appears more consistent within postsecondary STEM environments that contribute a disproportionate number of scientists of color (Museus, Palmer, Davis, & Maramba, 2011). For example, while historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) represent just 3 percent of all postsecondary institutions, they produce nearly 18 percent of STEM baccalaureate degrees awarded to African American students (Gasman & Nguyen, 2014). Flowers, Flowers, and Moore (2016) reveal the myriad ways HBCU contexts avoid traditional chasms between epistemology, technical skills, and cultural identity development. Similar contexts and outcomes are evident at Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) (Crisp, Nora, & Taggart, 2009). In 2013, for example, sixteen HSIs produced over half of all doctorates awarded to Latino students in STEM fields. At traditionally White institutions, if such conditions exist, they are often through the efforts of individual faculty from underrepresented backgrounds or collective actions among students participating in ethnic-centered student organizations (e.g., Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers). Often, however, faculty and students who give energy toward an inclusive vision in their department do so outside the formal structure of recognition or rewards. While individual actions provide space for resistance to norms, scalability and sustainability beyond the career or matriculation arc of a small group of individuals remain limited.
30 Lorenzo DuBois Baber
Conclusion Three decades ago, in his critique of universalism in science education, Pearson (1985) offered multiple strategies for increasing inclusion and diversity in STEM education: federal and private research grants with proven record in producing scientific talent; partnerships between minority-serving institutions and major research universities; partnerships between community colleges with large student-of-color enrollments and four-year colleges; and alteration of tenure process at major universities to recognize and properly award credit for mentoring students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. Unfortunately, research and practice efforts around diverse inclusion in STEM education continue to focus on shifting individual dispositions toward traditional norms that are grounded in dominant perspectives. Color-blind liberalism partners with the ethos of universalism to mask the inherent advantages and disadvantages for individuals with backgrounds that comfortably position themselves close to dominant perspectives. Therefore, outcomes appear based on meritocratic measures, and failures of individuals are marked as personal. While gradual progress is better than no progress at all, students of color in postsecondary STEM education deserve opportunities and rewards that do not require cultural assimilation. Foundations of CRT contribute to theoretical and philosophical debate about the influence of sociocultural forces on the process of scientific inquiry. CRT serves as an analytical tool to both deconstruct current norms and reconstruct sociocultural communities in STEM education around practices of equity and social justice. In challenging the assumptions underlying the ethos of universalism, scholars and researchers who utilize constructs of CRT w ill continue to face ironic accusations of ethnocentric particularism and “brainwashing.” The rebuttal must be clear and consistent—color-blind liberalism has failed postsecondary STEM education. Constructs of CRT offer an alternative pathway to avoid, thirty years from now, repetitive discussion about inclusion of racial equity in postsecondary STEM education. Color-Blind Liberalism
Actionable Recommendations • Based on the argument presented in this chapter, consider the ways in which color-blind liberalism uniquely operates within your STEM department—distribution of resources to faculty and students, classroom pedagogy, and policies related to recruitment, admissions, hiring, and retention activities. • While compositional diversity is an important first step toward equity, reflect on its limited impact on transformative institutional change. Contemplate the additional steps necessary in your STEM department to develop, scale, and sustain equity- centered practices. • Organize an action plan that uncovers and addresses the racialized experiences of students, faculty, and staff in your STEM department. In what ways do current perspectives in postsecondary STEM contribute to the structuration of these experiences?
Note 1. See the collective work of education philosopher Harvey Siegel.
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2 Rendering the Invisible Visible Student Success in Exclusive Excellence STEM Environments robbin chapman
The intersection of racial bias and unfettered membership in the academy reverberates deeply with the historical and ongoing real ity of racial oppression of p eople of color in the United States. Within these exclusive academic space,s there is slow prog ress toward acceptance of scholars of color in the academy; however, there is more ground to be gained before parity in STEM career access, socialization, and thriving can be achieved. To date, numerous interventions have focused on addressing supposed underrepresented minority (URM) STEM student deficits in terms of STEM preparation and support. However, scant attention has been paid to how the cultural norms, policies, and procedures of higher education institutions, STEM disciplines, and faculty communities negatively impact the URM students’ educational experience and hinder student persistence (Harper, 2012). Because the academy was founded within a society of racial and other forms of discrimination, persistent exclusionary practices often block healthy student advancement to STEM education and c areer (Feagin, 2013). Academia operates within this racialized framework, and indicators of structural racism include inequalities in 36
access, opportunity, power, and policy impacts and outcomes– whether intentional or not. For example, research shows that URM students often do not have the benefit of developmental relationships with faculty and experience isolation in their classes (Harper, 2012). Th ese conditions pose a challenge to establishing scholarly relationships with peers and with faculty. Most academic departments lack practical knowledge of the lived experiences of URM students and often harbor negative stereot ypes about them, particularly around their ability to succeed in STEM. When we consider the current deteriorating racial climate within the United States, coupled with the urgent national need for STEM innovation and scholarship, ensuring URM student success is not disrupted further becomes a clear priority (Robinson et al., 2016).
Rendering the Invisible Visible The term “inclusion” describes an intentional, sustained engagement with diversity, whether that be diversity of people, curriculum, teaching, or research (Chapman, 2016a). The Association of American Colleges and Universities characterizes inclusive excellence as institutional and individual behaviors that promote diversity and inclusion through innovations that enable equitable engagement, influence, and participation (Clayton-Pederson & Musil, 2005). However, a dichotomy exists when an academic institution’s espoused commitment to inclusive excellence is held up against a backdrop of systematic inequities in access and outcomes for underrepresented and minoritized students (Harper, 2012). This is particularly true within predominantly White institutions, which were instituted to promote exclusive excellence through discriminatory practices and policies (Feagin, 2013). It is nonsensical to expect these institutions to begin functioning in ways contradictory to their instituted core values. How biases and discriminatory practices function to drive the action of individuals and institutions is a complex dance. Both institutional practices and interactions between individuals may be motivated by intentional discrimination or unconscious biases. The cumulative Rendering the Invisible Visible 37
effect of these institution-based, discipline-based, and faculty community-based biases is a hostile learning environment for URM students who experience aggressions daily in their classes, labs, and other campus spaces–at times overtly and at other times through passive-aggressive behaviors. This sociocultural milieu reproduces social oppressions such as “know your place” dynamics (Claussen & Osborne, 2013).
institutional bias Institutional bias is a tendency for institutional practices and policies to function in ways that advantage certain groups and disadvantage or devalue o thers. Academic institutions are biased against particular social groups, particularly groups that have been marginalized within the larger social context (Taylor et al., 2017). Within the historical context of the United States, which includes the enslavement of Africans as an egregious example, higher education institutions were instituted and normalized around discriminatory and oppressive behaviors. These repercussions continue to drive our higher education as well as other social systems today. This is problematic for URM students, as even well-meaning interactions can result in inequities as a result of following institutional practices and policies. Often, URM students experience racism through ostensibly benign behaviors, practices, policies, and traditions of the institution. What is thereby compromised are learning opportunities, quality of mentorship, levels of participation in various academic programs (e.g., honors programs, study abroad programs), faculty advocacy, and other highly valuable aspects of a student’s academic experience (Harper, 2012). Institutional bias occurs across institutions as well, such as racial and other biases being reproduced within the review practices of national research funding agencies. Henry (2010) presents a useful framework for classifying different types of institutional bias: Differential student academic outcomes and experiences may point to possible areas of institutional bias to examine to determine strategies for change. Student persistence may depend on institutional capacity to engage in this level of introspection. 38 Robbin Chapman
stem-d iscipline bias very STEM discipline boasts a unique culture enacted through E its values, norms, and assumptions. Th ese unique cultures function like predictive models of who belongs in STEM (Ruder et al., 2018). Students are funneled into categories believed to foretell their potential for success or failure. However, discipline-based biases often manifest in practice as stereot ypes about race, gender, and so on (Steele & Aronson, 2005). Stereot ypes are used to legitimize exclusionary ideologies, particularly STEM notions of elitism that uphold White privilege and male privilege. At all stages of the STEM “pipeline,” URM students may be denied entry through a series of exclusionary practices, whether deliberate or the result of unconscious bias (Robinson et al., 2016). It is imperative that each STEM discipline examine its cultural assumptions for harmful biases and stereot ypes about particular groups. W hether an assessment is conducted within professional associations or within academic departments, it requires the w ill to do this soul- searching work and take action to interrupt biased behaviors.
faculty community bias Faculty communities, w hether in the form of individual faculty, departments, programs, or committees, also have their own cultures (Bystydzienski et al., 2017). Embedded within an institution, the faculty community is influenced by the culture of its parent institution; therefore, shared commonalities of bias across faculty community culture and the institutional culture may intensify par ticular negative and positive biases (Lee, 2007). For example, chemistry as a discipline may have a culture that values men over women as brilliant innovators, and, coupled with a similar institutional culture, w ill exacerbate negative gender biases. However, when intersected with the culture of a women’s college that produces strong women leaders, the resulting departmental culture might, at least ostensibly, value its students as future brilliant women leaders in chemistry. Negative biases inhibit student-faculty engagement, limit student access to the tacit information that Rendering the Invisible Visible 39
might influence f uture opportunities, and leave students ignored and devalued, whether overtly or as a result of benign indifference. Providing opportunities for STEM socialization between faculty communities and URM students is another strategy for countering the stereot ypes and assumptions (Chang et al., 2014).
inclusive excellence—r eloaded As discussed earlier, inclusive excellence is the process through which educational institutions attain excellence through equitable teaching practices (both in student academic outcomes and pedagogical practices) in ways that erase situational gender and racial biases. Clayton-Pedersen and Musil (2005) lay out an actionable heuristic for inclusive excellence that can increase the likelihood of equitable educational experiences for all students. They argue for: • focus on student intellectual growth • socialization into academic discipline(s) • valuing of the cultural differences students bring to the educational enterprise • welcoming faculty community and institution • faculty community and institution competencies to engage across difference
These attributes describe credible components of inclusive excellence environments. Attainment of this refined academic culture w ill require brutally honest self-assessment as well as institutional courage and fortitude. Institution- w ide inclusive excellence requires leaders who understand the interplay between policies, practices, cultures, and educational outcomes. Policies and practices function in ways that provide access and allow students to bring the richness of their identities to their educational experience (Wells, 2008). Increasing capacity for institutions to respond in a timely manner to inequities w ill be a challenge, especially given that institutions are not designed to change quickly. At the faculty community level, a practice of inclusive excellence w ill 40 Robbin Chapman
depend on a willingness to take a hard look at three important cultural areas for faculty: the faculty community, the relevant STEM discipline, and the home institution. As described earlier, looking behind the “cultural curtain” w ill require courage and a willingness to bear the discomfort and self-doubt.
Thrive Mosaic Scholar Development Framework Another important strategy is to enable URM students to benefit from their culturally relevant success strategies. Students should not wait for their institutions, STEM disciplines, and faculty communities to become self-aware, increase cultural competency, and take action for change. The Thrive Mosaic Scholar Development Framework enables URM scholars to take ownership of their own professional growth, particularly within biased and privileged environments (Figure 2.1). This framework is a conceptual toolkit for STEM identity and leadership-development integration into the scholar’s experience (Chapman, 2018; Nadelson et al., 2017). Identity development is not exclusively the result of interactions with the dominant science culture but includes an amalgamation of interactions across a range of the scholar’s own capital sources, including cultural community wealth (Yosso, 2005). The framework supports activation of the full portfolio of URM scholar capital as well as strategic cultivation of additional capital resources. Over time, the student benefits from a rich and growing collection of networks, resources, and assets that contribute to academic success. Common narratives regarding URM scholar navigation of academic spaces are often deficit-focused. However, a more nuanced narrative acknowledges the value these scholars bring to their institutions and that empowers their academic journey. URM scholar capital consists of the scholar’s community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005), social capital (Martin, 2009), and academic capital (Gruber, 2004). Th ese challenge the deficit-model assumptions commonly associated with URM scholars regarding their ability to thrive in academia. Instead, URM scholars bring added value Rendering the Invisible Visible 41
Social capital, community cultural wealth, and academic capital Coaches
fig. 2.1. Thrive Mosaic Scholar Development Framework Organizes Various Forms of Capital into Strategic Network Clusters
to the academy in the form of their community cultural wealth and practices of resilience not readily present within these institutions (Bourdieu, 1986). The Thrive Mosaic Scholar Development Framework is inspired by the Igbo/Yoruba proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and leverages the cultural and other forms of capital to bolster scholar success. The Thrive Mosaic contains six important roles: associates, advocates, connectors, mentors, coaches, and targeted training. Particu lar role combinations can be activated at various stages of the scholar’s education and c areer to address specific challenges and opportunities. Within the Thrive Mosaic framework, the ubiquitous mentoring function is divided into mentor and advocate roles to account for the advocacy that is usually missing from mentoring relationships. Similarly, coaching is divided into coach and targeted-training roles to make explicit the need for process coaching as well as subject-expert training. These last two roles, coach and targeted training, ensure either meta-scholar and 42 Robbin Chapman
process enhancement (coach) or acquisition of specific content knowledge (targeted training).
associate An associate is a mutual accountability partner. This type of relationship between scholars helps each focus on meeting deadlines, celebrating milestones, and developing meta-scholar awareness (Kelly & Cherkowski, 2017). Just as the term “meta-learning” describes the state of being aware of and taking control of one’s own learning (Flavell, 1979; Biggs, 1985), the term “meta-scholar awareness” describes the state of being aware of and taking control of one’s part icu lar processes for productive scholarship (Figure 2.2). Associates engage in regular and frequent status updates that cover short-and long-term project goals, specific action steps, and troubleshooting. Associates support one another’s persistence in delivering on academic commitments, whether that be writing a research paper, preparing a talk, developing better writing habits, or developing productive meta-scholar processes. This is a high-trust relationship with high expectations for goal attainment. The power of this trusted, collegial relationship is that the scholar engages in explicit and regular episodes of meta-scholar learning, and over time gains a deeper
Cultivation of meta-scholar processes
Community cultural wealth and other capital Cultivation of STEM scholar success practices
Cultivation of diverse and robust Thrive Mosaic portfolio
fig. 2.2. Thrive Mosaic Scholar Development Framework Rendering the Invisible Visible 43
understanding of what conditions facilitate productive, creative, and rigorous scholarship.
advocate An advocate is an academic or professional who knows a scholar’s strengths and accomplishments. Advocates are not mentors, nor are they advisors. They may or may not be in the scholar’s field or discipline; however, they have garnered a thorough understanding of the scholar’s work. They can talk about the scholarship, help to get important appointments or assignments, write letters of support, and submit nominations for awards and leadership opportunities. This is also a high-trust relationship. It is important that the scholar’s advocates are cognizant of their unconscious biases with regards to race and other identity dimensions and they are working to minimize the negative impact of those biases. An advocate who is unwilling or unable to talk about the implications of race should not serve in this role.
connector A connector is someone who has an active network (either broadly or in a particular academic area), can connect the scholar to relevant people, and provides access to privileged networks. It is impor tant to have a broad collection of connectors from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. The summative effects of these connections provide g reat academic and other forms of capital, such as visibility and reputation building across disciplines, greater diversity in professional opportunities, and exposure to multi-disciplinary research opportunities (Rost, 2011). Additionally, connectors often broker the process of relationship building (Moran, 2005) through their endorsement of the scholar and by facilitating a solid start to the relationship. This is particularly important when the URM scholar is being granted access to previously closed, exclusive networks.
44 Robbin Chapman
mentor Mentors fall into two broad categories: t hose who focus on the scholar’s overall c areer trajectory and progress and those who focus on a specific area for advisement or development (e.g., grant development, data plan management, selecting journals for publication). Regardless of their focus, all mentors should guide the scholar in the cultural behaviors of the discipline and serve as a sounding board for ideas and decisions. One should not expect the mentor to engage in advocacy activities; that is not their role. Mentoring relationships are learning relationships for both the protégé and the mentor. Trust between mentor and protégé is the cornerstone of any meaningful mentoring partnership, especially when mentoring across difference. Mentors of the same race or identity group are often desired by the protégé, particularly those of marginalized identities, since t hese relationships often provide psychosocial support. For cross-race mentoring relationships, it may help to identify mutual commonalities that can serve as an initial foundation for the relationship (Robnett et al., 2018). For mentoring to be effective across race or other identities, the mentor must commit to active involvement to developing cross-cultural competency. If a potential mentor is not willing to develop competencies or discuss race, they should not take on the mentor role.
coach Fundamentally, a coach is a process expert. Working with a coach enables cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral change to occur by unlocking the scholar’s potential to perform at a maximal level. For example, in professional sports, an athletic coach determines a player’s star quality and helps their star shine brighter. A Thrive Mosaic coach functions similarly to an athletic coach and helps the scholar identify and think strategically about how to get the most out of their star quality. This includes identifying deficits, which is important when building research teams consisting of complementary talents or for putting together an actionable professional development plan. Coach-client privilege is critical, and Rendering the Invisible Visible 45
confidentiality is a must in such a relationship. The coach must be experienced in coaching across difference (e.g., race, gender) or they should not serve in the role.
targeted training Targeted training is just-in-time learning with subject matter experts. This training is time-bound, laser-focused, often short- term, and very specific in content (Smith et al., 2018)—quite differ ent from other Thrive Mosaic roles because the requirement of cultural competency can be ignored. Instead, the scholar seeks to gain a particular skill (e.g., the principles of fundraising and donor cultivation) or ramp up their knowledge of a particular content area (e.g., how to develop an academic department budget). Although there is no cultural competency requirement for this role, the scholar should make inquiries when vetting training opportunities.
Putting It All Together The Thrive Mosaic supports URM scholars constructing and making sense of their STEM identities with agency and increasing efficacy (Chapman, 2018). The scholar gains perspective and understanding of their unique STEM identity, gains clarity on what assets they bring to the academy, and enjoys greater access to the closed networks in academia. In essence, the scholar repositions their relationships with the academy and the relevant STEM disciplines. The Thrive Mosaic Scholar Development Framework operationalizes three processes important to unimpeded STEM scholar success: 1. cultivation of meta-scholar processes (which resources to deploy and when) 2. cultivation of STEM scholar success behaviors 3. cultivation of a diverse and robust Thrive Mosaic portfolio
A healthy Thrive Mosaic w ill contain a diverse collection of p eople and networks from a variety of disciplines representing a wide 46 Robbin Chapman
Table 2.1 Sources of Underrepresented Minority Scholar Capital Community cultural wealth capital
Community cultural wealth includes the various forms of cultural capital present in many marginalized communities: aspirational (hopes and dreams; academic identity), linguistic (context-s witching), familial (community networks; beliefs of high achievement and efficacy; role models), navigational (strategies for negotiating hostile environments; practices of resilience and persistence), and resistance (historical legacy of challenging inequality and oppression). URM students draw on their community cultural wealth for resilience, motivation, and validation (Kafai, Peppler, & Chapman, 2009).
Social capital includes the social connections or networks used for personal and professional gain. Yosso (2005) argued that social capital privileges forms of capital held by the dominant White, male, middle-class group, while devaluing others’ forms of capital. URM students can strategically expand their reserves of social capital and increase access to networks and communities previously denied to them (Chapman, 2018).
Social processes that aid in acquiring the knowledge and support necessary to access and navigate higher education (Gruber, 2004). This acquired knowledge often includes strategies for pursuing educational options. URM students can cultivate relationships that afford them access to academic capital.
variety of skills. These provide access to often invisible information and opportunities not readily available to URM scholars. The Thrive Mosaic is intended to increase redistribution of community cultural wealth, social capital, and academic capital within privileged and exclusive academic spaces (Table 2.1). The scholar identifies and addresses gaps, creates opportunities, maintains focus, and navigates obstructions, all while honoring the community cultural wealth and other assets they bring into the academy.
Conclusion Institutional agents, academic institutions, STEM disciplines, and faculty communities are well-positioned to create equitable Rendering the Invisible Visible 47
academic opportunities for all students. Greater faculty cultural competency and URM student advocacy are important first steps. These require valuing the student as a scholar and person. This means institutional agents must be able to engage fully and effectively across racial and other differences—in essence, to understand and value what Pöllmann (2013) describes as intercultural capital, which emphasizes “the sphere of relationships and rationalities between difference cultures, without neglecting any of those cultures.” For institutions, STEM disciplines, and faculty communities, being in a position to reap the benefits of intercultural capital w ill involve increasing self-awareness, identifying embedded cultural biases, and having the courage and w ill to take action for change. This chapter suggests that institutions and their agents take responsibility and action for ensuring they provide truly equitable and inclusive education for URM students. Additionally, the Thrive Mosaic Scholar Development Framework can provide additional support for scholar success, even in the face of systematic oppression. We cannot ignore the historical context of an academy rooted in a society of discrimination. Persistent exclusionary practices are barriers to URM STEM success. The stakes are high. Valuable talent is being lost. The integrity of institutions and STEM disciplines is being compromised. There is much work to be done before campuses can claim to provide an equitable, thriving academic experience for all students. While student- focused efforts are still helpful, without self-introspection by academic institutions, STEM disciplines, and faculty community cultures, no amount of student-deficit programming w ill see appreciable gains. Institutions, disciplines, and faculty communities must carry their own weight and do their own homework to disrupt biased practices and take action to end systemic oppression in the academic enterprise.
recommendations for policymakers • Promote policies that advance equitable teaching practices and equitable scholar development in higher education. 48 Robbin Chapman
• Audit current policies, with periodic re-examination, to inventory any inherent institutional biases and implement actions to address them. • Promote policies that advance rigorous data, assessment, and information sharing of programs and initiatives that focus on equitable access, advocacy, and professional development for URM scholars at all levels of their c areers. Create a clearing house or other information portal where this information may be accessed for research, benchmarking, and grant equity- related development. • Partner with regional accrediting agencies (e.g., Council for Higher Education Accreditation) that hold higher education institutions accountable for maintaining quality standards. Work with those agencies to enact policies to ensure tackling of institutional bias issues is included as an accreditation quality standard.
recommendations for pract it ione rs • Increase cultural competency of all leadership at the academic department level and above. Ensure leadership is able to translate its learning and skills acquisition into programs, initiatives, and leadership decision-making. • Require that demonstrated cultural competency be part of the promotion, merit, and performance review processes for all faculty and staff. • Prepare a proactive bias response plan for your campus that addresses both individual and institutional biases that have been identified. • Work across institutions by establishing consortia that facilitate sharing of information, resources, and implementation practices that better equip all institutions to address the systemic and historical biases and barriers to URM scholar access and advocacy. Create a repository of evidence to inform and guide consortia efforts. • Audit departments and administrative units to access, inventory, address, and measure progress toward minimizing biases in operational practices. Rendering the Invisible Visible 49
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3 Show Me Your Papers When Racism and Sexism Trump Credibility in STEM monica f. cox
I am writing this chapter near the end of the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle. During the first presidential debate, I sat in front of my telev ision astonished that the then-Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, would brag before a national audience that his call for President Barack Obama to present his birth certificate to his critics, and thereby confirm that he was born in the United States, was proof of his leadership prowess. Never mind that President Obama had already run a successful senate campaign in Illinois, becoming only the fifth Black U.S. senator in U.S. history (Associated Press, 2004). If Barack Obama had not been a U.S. citizen during his senatorial run, why did this accusation not come out prior to any election bid? Why, a fter all these years, did Trump become the self-appointed leader of this “birther” movement, one that, despite evidence proving that President Obama was born in Hawaii, perpetuated a conversation that denigrated a highly educated and charismatic man holding the most powerf ul office in the world? In the same way that President Obama’s being different from the forty-three White male U.S. presidents who preceded him was 53
perceived negatively by members of the majority, why do women of color (WOC) faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the twenty-fi rst century have to prove their worth and their educational pedigrees despite their pursuits of advanced technical degrees, their persistence in higher education, and their professional successes? Although the number of WOC holding faculty positions in STEM and the number of WOC faculty advancing to senior faculty and leadership positions have increased over time (Nelson & Brammer, 2007), stories about their struggles remain common regardless of university type, areas of expertise, or academic ranks. Despite these increases in numbers, WOC are less likely to ascend to the rank of full professor with tenure than their White male colleagues (Hurtado & Figueroa, 2013). WOC in STEM often report that they are disrespected by colleagues and students, are assumed to be “the help,” and are referred to as “Mrs.” rather than as “Dr.” or “Professor,” despite holding advanced degrees (Butler-Purry, 2006). Faculty such as Butler-Purry (2006) and Fleming (2008) report their personal stories as engineering full professors where they w ere assumed to be departmental nurturers or to play supporting, docile roles on committees or in classrooms. They write about often being questioned as leaders or being reminded of their place in the academy, an institution dominated by White males. Despite the growing number of WOC in STEM, the academy welcomes them to an elite club in name but often not in reality (Gutiérrez y Muhs et al., 2012). This chapter presents current literat ure about the experiences of WOC in STEM and connects it to a new birther metaphor. Much like efforts in which birthers bullied, shamed, and accused the forty-forth president of the United States, Barack Obama, of not being a U.S. citizen despite evidence proving otherw ise, this chapter presents ways that WOC faculty are also being asking to prove that they belong in the academy by showing their papers (a nineteenth-century slave metaphor) explicitly and implicitly in ways that their counterparts are not. Although birtherism has been referred to most recently within politics and aligns with one’s sense of belonging as a citizen, it is relevant within the academy, given 54 Monica F. Cox
the country club–like nature of the academy and its somewhat cryptic definitions of belonging and membership, especially for people of color. Without allies to ensure that policies and interactions are inclusive and equitable, women faculty of color may be intentionally or unintentionally labeled as affirmative action hires or as members of an organization that did not want them there in the first place. Recommendations at individual and institutional levels are presented in an effort to improve the retention and promotion of w omen faculty of color in U.S. higher education.
Women of Color in STEM Literature Review Authors such as Malcom, Hall, and Brown (1976), DeJoie (1977), Crenshaw (1991), and Turner (2002) note the complexities faced by WOC in academia. Malcom refers to the “double bind” of sexism and racism that WOC face. As some of the first people to focus exclusively on this double bind in STEM fields, Malcom, Hall, and Brown (1976) began a much-needed national conversation about the unique experiences of WOC in STEM. With a background in law, Crenshaw developed the concept of intersectionality in order to explore the multiple layers that w omen, and particularly Black women, face in society. Intersectionality research has expanded beyond issues of race and gender and thus represents the multiple dimensions of a professional identity Turner (2002). Regardless of the term used to acknowledge the complexities of WOC, the fact remains that t hese w omen’s experiences differ from the norm and thereby place them in situations where they are considered to be foreigners no matter their credentials. Numerous authors present professional barriers facing STEM WOC faculty. Research confirms that in the United States women faculty of color in STEM are often asked to prove that they belong in their academic environments despite being credible and often performing at levels equal to or better than their majority and male counterparts. For example, engineering faculty member Karen Butler-Purry (2006) chronicles being asked pedigree questions by colleagues and being expected to engage in more serv ice activities Show Me Your Papers 55
than her colleagues. Other challenges cited in literature include chilly climates and “leaky pipelines” (Bilimoria, Joy, & Liang, 2008), microaggressions (Sue, 2010), marginalization (Thomas & Hollenshead, 2001), pioneerism (Fleming, 2008), microaggressions (Trower and Chait, 2002; Hess, Gault, & Yi, 2013), tokenism (Sands, Parson, & Duane, 1992; Bronstein, 1993; Granger, 1993; Padilla & Chavez, 1995), and “pet to threat” (Thomas et al., 2012). The environments in which WOC STEM faculty must work are often not ideal. Literat ure refers to chilly climates (Hall & Sandler, 1982), or environments that are not welcoming for WOC; these suboptimal environments often lead to faculty discrimination, intentional attrition (e.g., choosing to leave for a variety or personal or professional reasons), and unintentional attrition (e.g., not earning tenure). The metaphor applied to this phenomenon is the leaky pipeline (Bilimoria, Joy, & Liang, 2008), which, along the educational professional STEM continuum, results in points where minorities leave, or leak out, of a higher education system. Isolation is a common occurrence among WOC faculty given the critically low numbers of WOC in higher education, particularly at senior faculty levels (Nelson and Rogers, 2003). In self-reflections of their experiences as African American engineering faculty and full professors, Fleming (2008) and Butler-Purry (2006) both mention the absence of a critical mass of other faculty of color at their institutions and the unique challenges they face (Stanley, 2006). Isolation often means that faculty proactively have to seek out networking opportunities or rely on sponsors to support them, an activity that is not automatic in environments with few minorities (Kanter, 1977). Tokenism is when one person has the responsibility of representing an entire group of people in a majority setting, thereby becoming the token for his/her group. Garrison-Wade et al. (2012, p. 105) note that tokenism involves faculty “being defined by the color of their skin to benefit the institution.” According to Turner (2002), many WOC faculty do not know if they are tokens because of their race/ethnicity or because of their gender. Either way, they are differentiated from their male counterparts in unfair ways. 56 Monica F. Cox
Turner (2002) refers to the work of Kanter (1977) when exploring the issue of tokenism among faculty of color. Although Kanter’s work relates primarily to White women in corporate America, there are implications for WOC in higher education. Kanter notes that since women are in the minority and are represented in a smaller proportion, they are more likely to be on display, to be expected to conform, to be socially invisible, to be stereot yped, and to lack sponsorship. Pioneerism (e.g., being the first minority or female minority professor in a department) is a theme that many WOC faculty face without realizing that they are going to be a first or an only in their environments. Although many WOC faculty engage in ongoing professional development activities and have participated in gradu ate education training that has taught them the nuances of faculty life, many are not taught how to serve as the initial or sole representatives of their gender or race in environments that are rigorous and do not take into account the unique challenges facing underrepresented faculty. As a result, much time can be spent educating colleagues and students about the nuances of being WOC in academia (e.g., revealing their everyday challenges in the acad emy rather than presenting a perspective that discriminatory practices do not exist) while also working diligently to fulfill teaching, research, and serv ice responsibilities. Marginalization is another commonality among faculty of color (Thomas & Hollenshead, 2001). While majority colleagues may be rewarded for their accomplishments, the contributions of WOC faculty may be overlooked, ignored, or minimized. Without sponsorship or advocates in the academy, many minority faculty members may find that they are not promoted at the same rates as their colleagues or may not be tapped for awards and leadership opportunities that will advance them in the same way as these colleagues (Trower & Chait, 2002). Microaggressions, or frequent intentional or unintentional occurrences that are derogatory toward a group of p eople, also are common among WOC in the academy (Hess, Gault, & Yi, 2013; Trower and Chait, 2002). An example of a microaggression might Show Me Your Papers 57
involve being mistaken for another WOC or automatically being mistaken for a custodial worker instead of a faculty member. Individual instances of discrimination may build to a point where WOC become skeptical of their colleagues, resentful, or continuously stressed out in their places of employment. Unfortunately, microaggressions are not always easy to document or report, leaving many WOC upset and hopeless regarding ways to cope with daily struggles associated with being members of the academy. Finally, Thomas et al. (2012) introduce a concept known as “pet to threat,” wherein a minority who is first welcomed can face animosity when she excels in ways that threaten majority members of an organization. Although advocates may be present for many faculty of color at the beginning of their c areers, they later find that they are isolated once they have earned accolades, thereby leaving them in lonely, vulnerable positions where they may face difficulties engaging with local colleagues who perceive them to be threats. Without such support, the likelihood of attrition from an institution or the academy increases.
the history of showing papers Many of these and other issues faced by WOC faculty relate back to an overall “sense of belonging” in the academy. Trower and Chait (2002) noted that in addition to race and gender challenges, issues facing WOC faculty include their likelihood of holding lower academic positions and working at less prestigious institutions than their White male counterparts. This lack of fit directly predicts a WOC’s job satisfaction in the academy. Each of the challenges reported in previous literat ure can be situated in an overall metaphor in which faculty of color are expected to show their papers. Regardless of education or status, professionals of color in the academy are asked to show their papers every day. When they possess necessary credentials but are required to provide additional documentation (metaphorically via others’ questioning of their faculty credentials) to prove that they are competent, they are showing their papers. When people do not
58 Monica F. Cox
invite them to engage in departmental or institutional decision- making (Trower & Chait, 2002) for serving in positions of authority while inviting majority counterparts to participate in decision-making, they are asking faculty of color to show their papers. Trivializing minorities’ research yet acknowledging the research of majority groups of similar ranks in the same positions (Trower & Chait, 2002) is also connected to showing papers. Hughey (2012) explores birtherism as jus soli (birthright by soil) and jus sanguinis (birthright by parents’ nationality). Most often referred to within the context of sociology, law, or politics, birtherism explores issues of race, citizenship, class, or civil rights. Birtherism involves an element of racial profiling and questioning of one’s sense of belonging such that values are placed on who should be a part of a system and who should not be in that same system. Because of t hese differences, the group that does not belong is often asked to prove why they should receive the same rights as those who belong. Showing one’s papers is connected to the nineteenth century and is closely aligned with the thirteenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which freed all slaves. Prior to passing this amendment, free Blacks were at the mercy of Whites and officials, who could question their freedom regardless of their possessing papers documenting their free status. Via the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 (Mount, 2010), inadequate documentation about one’s status as a free person could result in enslavement or payment of unfair taxes by individuals suspected of being slaves. In the 1960s, showing one’s papers extended to immigrants, most recently resulting in laws such as Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, which gave police the authority to detain anyone suspected of being an undocumented person in the United States. Debates about who should and should not possess rights in the United States continue to occur even as President Donald Trump insists on building a wall between the United States and Mexico to keep immigrants from entering the United States.
Show Me Your Papers 59
Connection of the Birther Movement to W omen of Color in STEM Within academia, a form of birtherism is present. Jus sanguinis most closely resembles traditional, anticipated representations of STEM faculty—W hite males who are m iddle to upper class and who are accepted as the faces of STEM in higher education. Because they are considered the norm of STEM success, they are automatically assumed to be authority figures, holders of doctorates, and technical experts. On the other hand, jus soli represents faculty who do not represent the norms of the academy of STEM faculty (i.e., they are female, people of color, differently abled). Much like victims of the birther movement, minority faculty are not embraced automatically as faces of the academy, and, as a result, they are underrepresented in leadership roles (Trower & Chait, 2002). Many are considered diversity hires who w ere assumed to be hired b ecause qualified members of a majority group did not apply or were not interested in the position. While both jus soli faculty and jus sanguinis faculty are members of the academy, they are often treated differently based on their backgrounds. Although many faculty of color have obtained their metaphorical papers (i.e., an advanced degree and faculty positions at accredited universities), they still have to prove to their students and to their peers that they are qualified members of the higher education club and that they, as a newcomer group in the academy, embrace the norms of the academy and of their STEM fields (Trower & Chait, 2002). Despite policies and words from administrators or peers saying that people with the proper expertise and credentials are evaluated consistently, outcomes for and experiences of WOC often prove otherw ise. Although numerous conferences, grants, and initiatives recruit and promote WOC, Nelson and Rogers (2003) found that the representat ion of WOC faculty at the top fifty research universities was almost nonexistent, with no Black, Hispanic, or Native American tenured faculty in computer science. Fewer efforts have been made to retain t hese same faculty at top universities, with retention efforts often depending upon 60 Monica F. Cox
the advocacy of leaders at departmental and university levels. Under such leadership, experiences for WOC in STEM can be horrific and stressful, resulting in departures from the academy even a fter earning tenure. Unfortunately, most WOC have no way to determine their workplace climates prior to starting their positions. Once WOC faculty enter academic environments, many students and colleagues may question their credibility. Both majority and minority faculty may wonder if they were diversity or affirmative action hires or did they really “earn” their position. Hiring WOC can be questioned on both sides, with WOC realizing that, even with good intentions, their advocates could place them in positions where they w ill always be labeled negatively. Regardless of these questions, WOC and administrators can engage in actions that make faculty feel as if they do not have to “show their papers.” Recommendations follow in the next section.
Conclusion ere are numerous similarities between the treatment of PresiTh dent Obama during the birther movement and the treatment of WOC in STEM. Years of literat ure confirm that faculty of color, particularly women, experience more stress and disrespect as they engage in their daily responsibilities in White, male-dominated STEM fields. It may be difficult to change the perceptions of everyone regarding the presence of WOC in the academy, but acknowledging that faculty and administrators need to respond proactively is a first step in changing the conversation about the roles of WOC in the academy.
Recommendations for w omen of color Surround Yourself with Positive People. This may sound obvious, but being a WOC in STEM requires one to be very deliberate about partnerships and interactions. Regardless of credentials, no WOC Show Me Your Papers 61
is exempt from potential disrespect by colleagues or students who have not been exposed to diverse people or who deliberately choose not to be open to learning about new p eople. Remember that for every negative person who questions your credibility, there are several other positive ones who support you. Take Care of Your Entire Self. It is easy for faculty to identify themselves by their professional successes and failures. In the club of the academy, this is a common occurrence and practice. Over time, rejections can become personal and can begin to define one’s entire being, thereby clouding one’s self-worth. No matter where you are in your career, think back to the person you were before you were a faculty member. Always retain that part of your life, and do not allow p eople around you to change the core of who you are. Engage in hobbies. Exercise. Meditate. Learn a new language. When you leave your position, you do not want to regret the things that you did not do. When You Ascend, Change the System. One of the greatest forms of activism is leadership. Although it may be difficult to endure some of the negativity that one feels in the academy, there is joy in knowing that t here is an opportunity to one day change the system that has been such a challenge to navigate. Paying it forward is very real, and those of us who ascend to senior leadership positions and to full professor ranks must share our lessons learned and speak up in the environments to which we have access. Stewardship is a concept that is important to many minorities, and higher education should be no exception. If you are tenured, focus on the bigger picture about the importance of your presence in the academy. If you do not see possibilities at your current institution, move to another university. There is no weakness in acknowledging where there is not a good personal/organizational fit. You are valuable, and t here is an institution that w ill recognize this. Never Forget Who You Are. Think about President Obama. Even when birthers were dragging him in the mud, their actions did not 62 Monica F. Cox
change the fact that he held the highest position in the nation and that he had been elected to that position by the people of the United States. No single group of people could negate his qualifications. Yes, the birthers w ere annoying and disrespectful. Nevertheless, President Obama’s place is e tched in history. In the same way, WOC have earned their professional places regardless of o thers’ thoughts. Even when negative situations occur, WOC can rest assured that they are intelligent and knowledgeable in their areas of expertise and very employable.
for administrators Acknowledge and Recognize That Showing Your Papers Is a Real Phenomenon. Literat ure about the barriers facing faculty of color in STEM are not new to many administrators in higher education. Although some administrators want to deny that WOC faculty are probably being discriminated against in their universities, honest conversations with WOC about their experiences as WOC faculty are a great way to gauge the climate of your institution. Refer back to the literat ure and ask explicitly if any of the barriers facing faculty are present on your campus. If they are, note resources that are available to address concerns, and develop a plan for ensuring that WOC are truly embraced at your institution. Educate Colleagues and Students about Issues Facing Women of Color. It is the responsibility of administrators to set the tone of their organ izations. Since students often get their cues about how to treat faculty from faculty who work with WOC, it is important to identify ways to demonstrate that administration fully supports their hires and expects everyone to treat WOC with respect. Highlight the credibility and much-needed expertise of WOC at your institution.
Acknowledgments This material is based upon efforts funded by the National Science Foundation u nder Grant No. 1712618. Any opinions, Show Me Your Papers 63
findings, and conclusion or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.”
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The Impact of Race and Gender on Scholars of Color in STEM
4 Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class in the White (Male Settler) Spaces of Science and Mathematics Navigations by Black, Afro-Brazilian, and Pakistani/American Womxn krystal madden, priscila pereira, sara rezvi, victoria f. trinder, and danny bernard martin ese suprahuman w Th omen have been denied the “luxuries” of failure, nervous breakdowns, leisured existences, or anything else that would suggest that they are complex, multidimensional characters. They must swallow their pride, gird their loins against trouble . . . and persist in spite of adversity. —Trudier Harris When you are a member of an out-group, and you challenge others with whom you share this outsider position to examine some aspect of their lives that distorts differences between you, then t here can be a g reat deal of pain. In other words, when people of a group share an oppression, there are certain strengths that they build together. But t here are also certain vulnerabilities. —Audre Lorde
In this chapter, we present portraits of three womxn1—K rystal, Priscila, and Sara—who, in the spirit of Trudier Harris and Audre Lorde, narrate and define for themselves what it has meant to be racialized (Nasir, 2012) and minoritized womxn in science and mathematics. Although they share membership in the out-group of womxn in science and mathematics, t here is no singular story that characterizes their trajectories into and out of these domains. Each w oman has chosen, of her own accord, to underline multiple aspects of her individual self. Their unique life experiences add texture and substance to what it has meant for them to be a Black/African-American, Afro-Brazilian, and Pakistani/American woman in science or mathematics. Their narratives also offer compelling commentaries on science and mathematics as particular kinds of social, political, and institutional spaces and help concretize for o thers what the landscape of participation in STEM can mean for womxn. The experiences of Krystal, Priscila, and Sara in making their way in science and mathematics have involved crossing cultural, geog raphical, psychological, and emotional borders, as well as ongoing internal and external negotiations of identity. For example, in the cases of Krystal and Priscila, they add nuance to accounts of Black womxn’s experiences in science and mathe matics by considering diasporic Black identities. Krystal’s trajectory as a Black woman and scientist from the southern United States to the urban Midwest in pursuit of a different life represents a migration reminiscent of the great migration (Wilkerson, 2010). Priscila, born in Brazil to a Black father and White2 mother and educated there as well, experienced a transnational relocation to Chicago, where she has had to redefine, reclaim, and negotiate her Afro-Brazilian and mathematics identities. In the case of Sara, who was born in Pakistan and immigrated to the United States as a child, we illuminate the tensions and contradictions that arise when cultural and religious norms and expectations are invoked to define what it means to straddle the double consciousness identities of being a “good” Muslim women and a U.S. midwesterner. 70 Krystal Madden et al.
Prior to working on this project, the three women had already established relationships inside and outside of academia. Over the past several years, these women have taken courses together and come to know one another outside of this project. More than colleagues, they are friends who have shared laughter and tears and know much more about one another than the reader might glean from this chapter. Yet, as they engaged in this project, initial ties were reinforced and new connections were established. Moreover, their prior relationship allowed them to embrace vulnerability as they shared delicate moments of their life experiences. As doctoral students in mathematics education (Sara and Priscila) and learning sciences (Krystal), they come to this effort cognizant of the research literat ure on race-minoritized womxn in science and mathematics (e.g., Ong et al, 2011; Chinn, 2002; Carlone & Johnson, 2007; Johnson, 2007; Espinosa, 2011; Solomon, Radovic, & Black, 2016; Ko et al, 2014). This literat ure has served at least two important purposes: (1) to counter early feminist tendencies that rendered White women as all womxn inside and outside of science, and (2) to strategically unify the experiences of marginalized womxn and add complexity to their raced, gendered, and classed positions. However, while Krystal, Priscila, and Sara acknowledge that this literat ure has generated powerf ul counternarratives, and that aspects of their individual narratives and life trajectories are embodied in this literat ure, there is still a need to disrupt essentialized representations of their raced, gendered, and classed positions, reinforcing the point that no singular characterization for race-minoritized womxn exists in science and mathe matics. Their different experiences as womxn, daughters, sisters, and, for Krystal, as a m other, have shaped their experiences in mathematics and science. Likewise, their experiences in mathe matics and science have shaped their experiences as w omen, daughters, sisters, and mother. We call for even more studies that offer nuanced portraits of women in science and mathematics. Krystal, Priscila, and Sara share aspects of their stories against the backdrop of several assumptions and documented realities: (1) hegemonic masculinity and Whiteness continue to shape Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 71
mathematics and science; (2) narratives, especially those that are intersectional in nature (Collins, 1990; Crenshaw, 1991; Bruning, Bystydzienski, & Eisenhart, 2015), not only help to illuminate nuances in individual experiences but can be powerful tools to surface critique of structures and institutions; and (3) framing the discourse about race-minoritized womxn in science and mathe matics education solely in terms of representation and increased participation commodifies womxn and risks leaving oppressive structures and power relations intact while asking womxn to adapt to them; needed are empowering or radical visions for new and dif ferent forms of science and mathematics that respect and value womxn.
Theoretical Framework Recognizing that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) domains continue to operate as White male settler and colonial spaces (Martin, 2008, 2009, 2011; Malone & Barbarino, 2009; McGee & Martin, 2011; Mutegi, 2013; Battey & Leyva, 2016), we choose to decenter the colonial logics and preferences of White males (Smith, 2012; Anzaldúa, 2007; Gaztambide-Fernandez, 2012). Such spaces are characterized by (1) the exclusion of those who are not White from positions of power, (2) the development of a White frame that organizes the logic of t hese institutions and normalizes White racial superiority, (3) the historical construction of a curricular model based on the thinking of White elites, and (4) the assertion of knowledge and knowledge production as neutral and unconnected to power relations (Moore, 2007; Martin, 2008, 2011; Feagin, 2013). Th ese contexts can also be characterized as spaces that promote, valorize, and normalize the hegemonic masculinities that privilege heterosexual, White males (Connell, 1987; Ong, 2005; Johnson et al., 2011; Wilson & Kittleson, 2013; Solomon, Radovic, & Black, 2016). One way we do this is through theory. To honor theory from the standpoints of race-minoritized womxn, we draw on critical
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race feminism (CRF) as a way to not only move beyond the perspectives of White males but also to avoid centering the experiences of White w omen to represent the experiences of all womxn. And while we draw on scholars of CRF, we work collectively to claim our own theorizations of our unique experiences. Our individual cartographies of experience are not always neatly captured by the theoretical literature, and we exert our own voices when and where needed. In the late 1970s and 1980s, feminist critiques (e.g., Harding, 1986; Tuana, 1989) of mathematics and science emerged that began to raise questions about White male dominance. However, these critiques were often generated by White w omen who normalized and centered their own marginality, overlooking the presence or absence of race-minoritized womxn in these spaces, thereby maintaining the Whiteness of STEM. White women, for example, have been the greatest beneficiaries of affirmative actions designed to increase the number of non-W hite male participants (Katznelson, 2005; Kohn, 2013). To the extent that t hese White w omen are linked to White males as wives, partners, and m others, these affirmative actions benefit White males, even when many White males oppose such efforts via claims about meritocracy and reverse racism (Bonilla-Silva, Lewis, & Embrick, 2004). The historical structuring of STEM has often contributed to t hese spaces being emotionally and physically taxing for race-minoritized womxn.
Intersectionality and Critical Race Feminism A number of recent studies have addressed the experiences of race- minoritized womxn in mainstream mathematics and science contexts, giving attention to how t hese womxn exercise their agency and voice in relation to the preferred identities, modes of being, and everyday structural forms of racism and sexism that help to maintain these spaces (e.g., Black & Williams, 2013; Carlone & Johnson, 2007; Chinn, 2002; Gonsalves, 2014; Johnson et al., 2011; McKinley, 2008; Ong, 2005; Oppland-Cordell, 2014; Solomon,
Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 73
Radovic, & Black, 2016). We set our work in intersectionality (e.g., Bruning, Bystydzienski, & Eisenhart, 2015; Crenshaw, 1991; Collins, 2000; Hull, Scott, & Smith, 1982; Lorde, 1984) and CRF (e.g., Evans-Winter & Esposito, 2010; Wing, 1996, 2000). As defined by Collins (2000) intersectionality is an “analysis claiming that systems of race, social class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nation, and age form mutually constructing features of social organization, which shape Black w omen’s experiences and, in turn, are shaped by Black women” (p. 299). In conjunction with Bruning, Bystydzienski, and Eisenhart (2015), intersectionality also suggests that “a girl or woman is never just a gender type; she is simultaneously gendered, raced, and classed (and many other things). . . . [I]n any given context, some categories w ill be salient while others are not” (p. 2). In addition to ideas drawn from intersectionality, we are particularly drawn to studies of CRF as it maintains a critical analysis of womxnhood from the perspective of race-minoritized womxn. CRF is a response to both critical race theory (CRT) and mainstream feminism movements as they fail to address the specific needs and realities of race-minoritized womxn (Davis, 1981; Wing, 2003). On the one hand, CRT centers analyses of racial oppression on the experiences of men of color and may, in praxis, obscure the relevance of gender analyses (Wing, 2003). Additionally, CRT may fail to fight against sexism in society at large and in communities of color in particu lar (Crenshaw, 1991). On the other hand, mainstream feminist movements have failed to understand the importance of race and its implication to the lives of non-W hite womxn. By ignoring race, mainstream feminism has focused its efforts on addressing the needs of upper middle-class White women, which further marginalizes and undervalues the experiences, voices, needs, and talents of race-minoritized womxn (Cleaver, 2003; Wing, 2003). Therefore, CRF scholarship is appropriate because it further conceptualizes analyses of race, gender, and class within all communities. Our approach to CRF as a theoretical framework is based on the tenets stated by Evans-Winter and Esposito (2010, p. 20): 74 Krystal Madden et al.
• Critical race feminism as a theoretical lens and movement purports that w omen of color’s experience, and thus perspectives, are different from the experiences of men of color and those of White w omen; • Critical race feminism focuses on the lives of women of color women who face multiple forms of discrimination, due to the intersection of race, class, and gender within a system of White male patriarchy and racist oppression; • Critical race feminism asserts the multiple identities and consciousness of w omen of color (i.e., anti-essentialist); • Critical race feminism is multidisciplinary in scope and breadth; and • Critical race feminism calls for theories and practices that simultaneously study and combat gender and racial oppression.
A theoretical framework of CRF allows for the interweaving of borderland theory and qualitative research that we apply in this paper. The following cartographic portraits highlight tensions in other frameworks and establish new spaces for advancing critical research. This melded space affords a direct connection to our implementation of both borderlands theory and portraiture.
Border Crossing Borderlands theory (Anzaldúa, 1987) highlights individual negotiations of the sociocultural values of different geographic locations, and the mandates to assimilate that each politicized space demands. Borderlands theory is “a project of resistance formulated as a set of processes aimed to guide the inner self of a colonized person in [her] struggle to achieve decolonization and liberation” (Orozco-Mendoza, 2008, p. 3). In studies of border crossing, feminist theorists highlight the performance of assimilation, while recognizing that race-minoritized womxn maintain a core identity that resists assimilation and serves as a passport back into native geographies. Anzaldúa examined notions of border crossing beyond the scope of traversing two worlds and suggested that Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 75
marginalized womxn experience a third liminal space in their navigations— a power f ul unlabeled in- between, where race- minoritized womxn can reconstruct identities beyond the hierarchies of the two worlds they inhabit. Anzaldúa (1987) embraced not only the open essence of a liminal in-between land that allowed for healthy code-switching, but also a space where the intellectual work done by race-minoritized womxn to exist in their domains was recognized, celebrated, and collective in nature. As noted by Anzaldúa (1987), the “psychological borderlands, the sexual borderlands, and the spiritual borderlands are not particular to the southwest. In fact, the borderlands are physically present wherever two or more cultures edge each other, where people of different races occupy the same territory, where the lower, middle and upper classes touch” (p. 19). For us, as race-minoritized womxn navigating STEM geographies, these liminal spaces are the cartographies of our collective voices as well as of interacting with an immovable force such as STEM.
Participants and Research Design The key informants for this chapter are Krystal, Priscila, and Sara. Krystal self-identifies as an African-American/Black woman. She grew up in Mississippi and is a single mother of two children. Krystal attended a historically Black university and is a first- generation college graduate. Krystal relocated to a midsize midwestern town where she attended a large, engineering-focused university for graduate studies. She is a former bench scientist, having worked in a biology laboratory as a part of her graduate education and in a laboratory-based science professionally. She is also a community college science teacher and former high school science teacher. Krystal is currently enrolled in a learning science doctoral program where her research interests focus on persistence of African American women in science disciplines. Priscila self-identities as an Afro-Brazilian woman. She grew up in São Paulo and moved to the United States to pursue gradu ate school in 2011. As she grew up in a mixed-race family in which 76 Krystal Madden et al.
Blackness was neither welcomed nor encouraged, it was a fter moving to a different context that she began to engage with and explore her Black identity. One of her first encounters with blatant forms of racial and gender discrimination in the United States happened while she was the only w oman and non-W hite student in a higher-level pure math class. In Brazil, she received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from a prestigious university. She is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in mathematics and science education. Her research interests include the experiences of self-identified Black womxn pursuing PhD degrees in STEM at predominantly White institutions in the United States and Brazil, with a special focus on their experiences with racism and sexism. Her research also focuses on tools and actions Black womxn have employed to succeed in those doctoral programs. Sara self-identifies as a Pakistani/United States citizen. She is a first-generation immigrant and naturalized citizen. Sara immigrated to the United States at a young age and assimilated quickly into mainstream U.S. culture. As she transitioned from girlhood to womxnhood, the patriarchy in both Islamic and Western culture asserted itself and played an increasing role in shaping her identity. She majored in mathematics at an elite private university and considered doctoral studies in pure mathematics before her identity as a pure mathematician was challenged in this private university context. She was a high school mathematics teacher for several years and continues to embrace that professional and personal identity. She is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in mathematics and science education. Her research interests include the lived experiences of race-minoritized womxn in STEM education both at the micro and macro level and the conditions in which access to education for girls in countries such as the United States, India, and Pakistan are denied or allowed.
Cogenerative Interviews and Dialogue We take up research methodologies that embrace the three womxn’s subject narratives as cogenerative authors of their own Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 77
experiences but that also position these cogenerative narratives as addressing historic inequities in STEM disciplines. The theoretical perspectives that inform the data presentat ion and interpretation include CRF (Berry, 2010; Wing, 2000) and liminal transformative theorizing, the narrativizing of multilayered identities that allows for complexities beyond White patriarchal identity categories (Anzaldúa, 1987; Lockhart, 2006; Yosso, 2005). Critical race feminists (e.g., Evans-Winters & Esposito, 2010; Wing, 2000) have long named White supremacy as endemic to dominant epistemologies and research methodologies (Ladson- Billings, 2000; Patel, 2015; Smith, 2012). The data for this chapter come from semistructured life-story interviews and cogenerative discussions with the three womxn. We appropriate the term “cogenerative” to highlight that the interviews for this project were not intended to reproduce relations of power between those asking and answering the questions. Krystal, Priscila, and Sara are friends, confidantes, and colleagues. They have shared and reflected on aspects of their life experiences before deciding to engage in this project. In addition, Priscila had taken a doctoral course offered by Danny Martin, a co-author for this chapter, that focused on race, identity, and agency in mathematics and science education. At the time of this project, Krystal and Sara were enrolled in the current offering of that course. While acquaintances, the three womxn knew Victoria (Vicki) through her work with Danny at their institution and her decolonial research on race, gender, and class intersections in the history of schooling. One organizing conversation, three interviews, and two additional reflection conversations took place for this project. The organizing conversation involved all five authors and was an opportunity to strategize about how to approach this chapter and what issues might be highlighted. At the end of the organizing interview, it was decided that Krystal, Priscila, and Sara would pair up in all combinations to interview the third w oman. The three women worked to generate an agreed upon protocol that would help to initiate the conversations. Those interviews, each about one hour in length, w ere videotaped and shared with Danny and Vicki, 78 Krystal Madden et al.
co-authors and advisors on the methodology of this project. The three women met to identify and discuss the emergent themes from those interviews. Vicki and Danny then interviewed the three women for approximately one hour to discuss their individual interviews and issues that converge and diverge across them. All five authors then met to discuss our individual and collective perspectives on the interviews. Although the interviews and cogenerative dialogues produce a significant amount of data in serv ice to exploring their individual mathe matics and science experiences across their intersecting subject narratives, the three women jointly characterize their narrating and remembering as liberating due to the shared meaning-making that emerges in their coauthoring. The five authors decided that, rather than reduce this substantial data in truncated ways and in traditional question-response format, we would allow each womxn to compose a narrative portrait that would allow her to exercise agency in reflecting on her own interview and the interviews of the other womxn. The advantage of this approach is that it allows each womxn to act as cartographer in mapping out the unique roles of race, gender, class, and place in her mathematics and science experiences (Brah, 2005).
Emergent Themes In order to highlight themes from the interviews and related discussions, each w oman was asked to reflect on her interview and related discussions and then develop a cartographic identity of important themes representative of her experiences as a woman of color inside and outside of science and mathematics. Through the cogenerative process of interviews and analytical discussions, a key theme of cartography began to emerge. With all the authors pre sent, all three women added this theme to their ongoing reflection, and used the final formal meeting to “map” their existences in the White patriarchy of STEM—both individually as well as in concert with each other’s narratives. The identity cartographies that have emerged as part of this process reflect the Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 79
important themes representative of their experiences as race- minoritized womxn inside and outside of science and mathematics. These maps are presented in figures. While there is much more complexity than is encapsulated by these static representations, the maps depict how particularly powerful subjectivities, contexts, cultural influences, hopes, aspirations, risks and protective factors, coping mechanisms, and goals have continued to shape their lives. For each w oman, the maps provide just one indication of how t hese powerf ul forces interact. Closer examination of the maps reveals the intersections and interconnections of each of the women. While there are marked differences in their narratives, t here are particular ideas that hold true for all of them. By reflecting on their personal stories, retelling those stories, and communicating their experiences with each other, Krystal, Priscila, and Sara found similarities in their stories that crossed the boundaries of race, class, spirituality, and their own realities as women. The narrative portraits that follow the maps help to illuminate some of the themes.
krystal’s identity cartography Krystal’s map (Figure 4.1) is constructed with a central theme of academic “success.” Success is in quotations as its meaning has been reshaped and redefined for Krystal through engagement in this process. Motherhood was another theme that could have been central because it is such a major part of existence for her. The choice to use academic “success” as a central theme, however, speaks more closely to the lifelong pursuit that Krystal has been working toward. The truth is, however, that success has not yet been realized because it is being constantly redefined by the changing of life. The boxes represent places where Krystal has felt boxed in with shadowed words indicating invisibility. Deep love is a central theme in her support systems, as reflected by the use of heart figures. Th ere are also marked intersections between her identity as a Black w oman and a mother, being defined by both race and gender as well as motherhood.
80 Krystal Madden et al.
fig. 4.1. Krystal’s Identity Map
Single, black motherhood
priscila’s identity cartography Priscila’s map (Figure 4.2) is centered on academic experiences and her Afro-Brazilian womanhood, represented by congruent ellipses as they are equally relevant to her narrative. The connections and intersections between these two elements are fluid and complex as they change over time and in different moments of her life. Sociocultural and geographic contexts, support systems, and “the dream” are influential components to the above-mentioned ele ments and impact Priscila’s experiences and identity in varied levels and (un)collectively. The bubbles constitute factors within the influential components that are made salient in Priscila’s narratives. Th ese factors are not fixed and interact across categories as well as between themselves, such as in the case of family, which is linked to both “systems of support,” the dream, and self-racial identification, which is informed by social construction of race and migration.
sara’s identity cartography Sara’s map (Figure 4.3) is centered on academic experiences and her Pakistani/United States womanhood. In Sara’s map and narrative, time acts as a continent and perimeter. It opens opportunities while other bounda ries close. Each bubble is analogous to smaller land masses connected to larger countries and are interconnected by bridges (arrows) constructed by the social interactions and experiences in her life. Some of t hese bridges are strong and span miles, while others are in disrepair. Yet, not only do these land masses and bridges inform whom Sara has become (and continues to become), it can be argued that a reverse effect on these land masses has occurred as well. Bridges allow travel in both directions. Insofar as Sara was impacted by patriarchy in both academia and personally, her actions t oward, for example, South Asian patriarchy had a demonstrable effect on the relationship with her family and extended Pakistani community. The flavor of South Asian patriarchy, at least in the very localized setting Sara’s narrative takes place in, has 82 Krystal Madden et al.
Sociocultural and geographic contexts
fig. 4.2. Priscila’s Identity Map
Social contruction of race
Culture of STEM
Priscila’s Afro-Brazilian womanhood
fig. 4.3. Sara’s Identity Map
Socio cultural/ socio economic contexts
Sara’s Pakistani Muslim-American womanhood
South Asian patriarchy
Culture of STEM & genius
Research on STEM and
STEM schools for women and
changed. The map, as it is drawn, is a simplified visual represen tation of the myriad, intersecting components that play a role in Sara’s identity.
Portraits The borderland is produced by feelings of alienation and discomfort with the dominant culture that denies “others” as equals and rejects them for all that they represent. However, the borderlands is not only a space created by p eople’s discomfort, it is something else (Orozco-Mendoza, 2008, p. 43). The ways their Black, Afro-Brazilian, Pakistani, and gender identities have been read in concert with or in opposition to other salient aspects of themselves help to render mainstream mathe matics and science contexts not only as White institutional spaces marked by hegemonic masculinities but also as spaces warranting decolonization from all forms of oppression. The portraits below highlight that race, class, and gender may not be enough when considering race-minoritized womxn in science and mathematics. That is, intersectionality is even more complex than typically portrayed in the literat ure on race-minoritized womxn in science and mathematics. Fanon (1963) noted that “decolonization, which sets out to change the order of the world, is clearly an agenda for total disorder” (p. 2). He also noted that decolonization “implies the urgent need to thoroughly challenge the colonial situation” (p. 2). In other words, no aspect or context of coloniality should go unexamined. In this spirit, we ask the three w omen to engage in radical imaginaries (Kelley, 2002) that do not simply call for ameliorating and lessening the conditions of mathematics and science by leaving the current system intact. Rather, we present their re-envisionments for new and different systems of science and mathematics.
krystal My cartographic journey is one riddled with both victories and failures, glowing with both triumphs and hardships. My story is Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 85
not the lone voice of Black womxnhood in science. It is just one story that makes up the distinctiveness of our collective struggles— one that is primarily experienced between the poles of resilience and challenge, and not uncommon for p eople who experience my same positionality. Without sharing my entire educational autobiography, I present first that I was a m other before I was a wife, recognizing perhaps that society often fronts these descriptors for race-minoritized womxn as statements of worth. I am now, also, divorced. Because my own mom was a single mother and life dealt us many hardships, I contrived different ways to try to escape the tribulations of her life, but—like her—I am now a single mom working hard e very day in search of my own success. In my childhood, I was aware of her challenges to provide for her c hildren and hoped for myself to escape the difficulties that seemed to be connected to single motherhood. I worked to access a different life through marriage, higher education, and new geographies. But t here was no escape. Th ese w ere not the causes of her hardship. Though I have done t hose things I thought would save me from t hese challenges, I have found no refuge. The context of our marginality is not our oppression—it is that we are marginalized at all. Because of this I lean on faith. Faith has strongly shaped me, grounds me even within oppressions, and is a major part of my resilience. The personal struggles of my mom brought structural hurdles for me, also: I had younger siblings whom I had to care for so my mom could work. Despite this, I still benefited from academic offerings, maintaining high grades and active involvement in school. School was a resting place for me. I found sanctuary in reading and doing school work. School was a place where I experienced great success; it was the t hing I was good at. To a certain extent, it was the escape from my circumstances, and I believed those circumstances could be conquered. My mother always encouraged me to strive for excellence academically, and for as far back as I remember I was successful in all schooling. From elementary through high school, I performed well academically. I was a part of many extracurricular activities and 86 Krystal Madden et al.
community programs. I even found myself praised in my community for my accomplishments. Some of those activities afforded me opportunities and funds to travel as well as scholarships to attend college. I chose to attend a historically Black university for my undergraduate education. I had been awarded a full academic scholarship and chose to major in biology, with hopes of becoming a medical doctor. On one occasion, I recall feeling discouraged from majoring in biology to become a physician. This advisor, a w oman, thought I should consider what I would do if I was not successful in my pursuit. Nonetheless, I continued on as a biology major and became rather involved in the department. She was right, however: I did not make it to medical school. This was not for lack of trying. I applied for medical programs more than once but was not granted direct admission into medical school. While I attended my university, I am not sure that race and gender or even socioeconomic status were direct contributing factors. I was comfortable in my skin b ecause there were so many other people like me in that space. The school afforded me several opportunities to participate in STEM programs (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) and graduate preparation programs (i.e., Ronald McNair), and was the home of faculty who constantly pushed me to strive for higher education. While there, I did multiple internships and began gaining laboratory experience early. For a first-generation college graduate, it was important that I had professors and o thers show me how to navigate the foreign space of science. The importance of an environment where structural oppressions felt erased has helped me reflect on the entirety of my STEM experiences. At my undergraduate institution, the science department’s head, chair, and several of my professors were non-W hite men. This did not take away my agency, however. Several of my professors and directors of the science research programs in which I participated were race-minoritized womxn, often Black womxn. They mentored and encouraged me to participate in internships and other programs. These interactions and mentorship with Black Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 87
womxn in positions of leadership were empowering. I navigated my academic space with confidence and felt a sense of belonging and acceptance into the STEM community. I was not an anomaly in this supportive space. Up u ntil this point, I felt like I was on top of my game academically. While life had not been easy, I had succeeded in school and I was “going to make it.” I had a golden opportunity to leave home and make a great life for myself. I had been unsuccessful in my initial application to medical school, but I was going to try again. I was ready for the world! The world did not treat me as kindly as I had hoped, unfortunately. When I first entered graduate school, I was no longer at the front of the class and questioned my belonging in this academic and laboratory space. The internship programs I participated in were at large universities but w ere made up of mostly minoritized students. Th ese w ere great experiences but did not quite prepare me for life at the predominantly White institution that I attended once the internship program was over. I found it more challenging to assert myself in the large classes where there were very few Black students. Additionally, I felt geographically and emotionally isolated. I also began my journey to motherhood shortly a fter beginning graduate school. Work in a laboratory was challenging while pregnant and even more so after I became a m other. I also had to find additional resources and income to care for my child. The added workload left less time for school work. Long work hours are common in a scientific laboratory. This was challenging for a new mother. I began searching for support systems, but single motherhood was both an isolating space and an immense weight. That, coupled with struggles I was having in class and at home, caused me to lose the confidence I once had as a research scientist and scholar. I responded well personally, academically, and spiritually to separatist geographies, but that did not transpose well to predominantly White spaces. Consequently, my intended academic journey was again altered and I was unsuccessful in my initially intended pursuits. I was the girl who had the golden chance to make a life for herself but blew it. Now, at least I can try to do that for my kids; but 88 Krystal Madden et al.
the truth is that I have a Black son and a Black daughter, and no matter what I do, they will still be treading rough waters. I am aware that the structural hurdles are hard to escape, and have a burden to teach them resilience in the face of this irrefutable fact. I have found that even now, single motherhood is a rewarding and challenging space. And though I am older and do not feel as lonely in this place as I did when I was twenty-three years old, I recognize the seclusion it can create. Realizing the stereot ypes placed on Black womxn about single parenthood also makes living in this reality challenging. This is a direct parallel to my professional and academic experiences and aspirations: for race-minoritized womxn in science, there is a critical need for support systems for womxn who are also mothers. I experienced anxiety and feelings of inferiority as a Black woman and single m other during a period of immense vulnerability. Now, my vulnerability has transformed into a source of strength. After all, watching my own single, Black m other was the ultimate lesson on motherhood. Providing for my children as well as leading a path to empower them is a driving force, but it is an intellectual process rife with small and big complexities. While I try to always do this in productive ways, I find myself trying to prepare my children, particularly my daughter, for the hard life that may await her. I want my children to have strong arms to tread this w ater in case the world dishes them the same cards. My daughter says she wants to become a doctor. I tell her with confidence that she can be anything she wants to be. That is what my own mother told me. That is what I believed. And even though I know historical realities and structural constraints that have been designed to place p eople like my mom, my d aughter, and me on the margins in the field of science, I w ill continue to tell her to keep striving for it. A fter all, my original belief in just one golden chance has grown into a new belief, where faith and reality live together—and that I can build more chances for myself even when my reality reflects otherw ise. I am currently in a doctoral program and I am redefining what success looks like for me. I am still the girl who had to golden Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 89
chance. This time I w ill make it. This testimony w ill be one of per sistence, resilience, and triumph. I w ill show my children what it looks like to build the strong arms needed to swim in the current we must endure. My story has evolved into a testimony that can help me continue this conversation. I hope to empower and encourage other race-minoritized womxn, particularly those with the responsibilities of motherhood, to exercise their agency. The fact that I can acknowledge my struggles and still be in my current place academically is a testament to my resilience, despite the structural hurdles I have had to overcome.
priscila I am an Afro-Brazilian woman, born and raised in Brazil surrounded by my parents, six siblings, relatives, and friends. A fter college graduation, I moved to the United States in order to further my education. Yet, before I focus this narrative on my academic experiences in STEM, it is important to explain my understanding of racial identities. I chose to start this narrative with race because, as I developed a critical understanding of my experiences in the United States and Brazil, race became a salient aspect of my identity and of what it means to exist in these two divergent contexts. Moreover, there are significant differences between the social construction of race in my home country and in the United States, which inform my understanding of race. First, different from the United States, racial categorization in Brazil goes beyond the maintenance of closed racial groups such as Black, White, Native American, Asian. Th ere, the mixing of the races resulted in a different racial category referred to as Parda. Notwithstanding the fact that Parda is the only mixed-race racial category officially used by the government, it does not specify the races of mixed individuals. For example, as the daughter of a Black father and a White m other, I’d considered Parda, and my friend who is a descendant of indigenous and White people is also Parda. Unofficially, other terminologies have been applied to describe mixed-race individual, such as morena/o or mulata/o used to describe p eople like myself, cafuzo for descents of Black and 90 Krystal Madden et al.
indigenous, mameluco for the mixing of White and indigenous, and jussara for the mixing of White, Black, and indigenous. Based on the history of racism in Brazil, t hese terminologies have been continuously contested by differ ent racial groups. Many Afro-Brazilians disregard the term morena or mulata by stating that these labels are used to erase the history of Africanidade in Brazil as they work in f avor of White supremacy. In spite of their contestation, some mixed-race individuals prefer to identify as morena/o and do not perceive themselves as Afro-Brazilian. Thus, it is possible and quite usual for mixed-race African descendants in Brazil to not identify as such, comfortably seeing themselves as a different racial group; my siblings are some of those in the latter group. The second reason why race is salient to my story is based on the fact that I grew up in a family in which Blackness was neither welcomed nor accepted. My own racial identification was deeply influenced by my experiences in the United States. In addition to learning how to exist in a different social and cultural context, I was forced to make sense of my racial identity in this new space and felt inspired to challenge my own understanding of race in Brazil. Today, as I develop a critical comprehension and consciousness about the history of racism and colonization in my home country, I proudly identify as an Afro-Brazilian woman who is aware of the White supremacist ideologies guiding and delimiting social and cultural systems—including science and mathematics—in Brazil and the United States. More pertinent to academia, my experiences in the United States and Brazil differ greatly. The differences result from f actors that are (in)directly related to race and gender, such as migration from a racially different country, the culture of academic spaces, and racial and gender stereot ypes about Black women in STEM. My geographic transition from a majority non-W hite country to a vastly White environment is one of the most important factors in the divergences between my academic experiences. In Brazil, it was unnecessary to explain my racial identity as I belonged to a large group of the population formed by mixed-race individuals; Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 91
t here, we are the majority instead of the minority. A fter moving to the United States, I became part of the non-W hite group of minoritized people and was perceived as the rare species in White and non-W hite spaces. In the United States context, my racial identity was transformed into a peculiarity and required explanation. Countless times I had to explain my racial identity to t hose who w ere unable to figure me out based on the U.S. racial categories and repeatedly asked me, “But what are you?” In addition to my migration, cultural norms in Brazil are dif ferent from those in the United States. In particular, the culture of the academic spaces I belonged to in my home country differs from the ones I am embedded in t oday. For example, in Brazil neither I nor my classmates addressed professors by their last names, as is the protocol in the United States. At first, this seems to be a silly difference, but for me addressing o thers by their last names reinforces a great distance between people, a type of distance that was neither expected nor cultivated between professors and students in my former academic setting. Moreover, my college professors were invested in building community between classmates by encouraging teamwork, holding social events, and directing research groups for undergraduates. In my former university, college students were advised and prepared to pursue doctoral programs as well as encouraged to maintain social relations with professors and peers upon graduation. Thus, academic spaces, as I experienced them in my home country, were not only focused on professional and academic growth but also served as channels to build community and develop friendships. In contrast, the culture of my current university and, more specifically, the organization of my doctoral program do not offer many opportunities for students to bond and create friendships. Generally, we are neither encouraged to work in collaboration nor to establish relationships with professors and peers beyond academic spaces. Although efforts have been made to congregate students a few times throughout the academic year, this space seldom imparts the sense of community I was accustomed to and requires extra individual effort to overcome isolation. The first two 92 Krystal Madden et al.
years of graduate school w ere extremely difficult to bear and emotionally taxing. I wanted to quit and blamed myself for my loneliness. Fortunately, t here were supportive mechanisms—individual professors, classmates, staff, therapy, yoga practice, and family— that enabled me to continue focusing on my educational dream and understand the systemic oppression of graduate school. Because I see the potential for change in my current academic setting, I am cognizant that this space can also become a source of abundant emotional and psychological satisfaction not only for me but also for other race-minoritized women. Through this belief and my engagement with like-minded p eople, coupled with faculty support, I am able to exercise agency t oward this transformation as I build my own community and develop a supportive program for race-minoritized womxn in math and science education. In spite of the challenges, my current academic space has afforded me the opportunity to engage with critical thinkers and ethical researchers who are committed to disrupting imperialist White supremacist patriarchal structures within educational systems and trust in my potential to engage in this fight. While race and gender are salient to my academic experiences in the United States, they were not as obvious to me in Brazil. Furthermore, my race and gender did not render me inadequate to pursue a degree in STEM in my home country. While t hese fields are also male dominated in Brazil, my positive academic experiences with math and science empowered me to break that paradigm. While growing up, I was not bombarded with negative stereo types about my race and gender in-group as many Black women and girls are in the United States. In middle and high school I was praised for my academic accomplishments and cherished by teachers and school staff who looked after my success. I was raised and educated to believe that I could succeed in anything I set my mind to, including mathematics. In college, I was surrounded by scholars in positions of power who resembled my physical appearance. While I was an undergraduate student, the chair in my department was a woman, the Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 93
dean of my college was a w oman of color, and the chancellor of my university was also a man of color, and they w ere all from STEM fields. Th ese scholars were not only people who looked like me, but they w ere also invested in my success. They were more than role models; they were mentors. Here it is important to understand the distinction between role models and mentors, for the former simply exemplify that a certain group of p eople may have the chance to exercise a profession, but the latter guide the learner in how to conquer and succeed in such positions. In that sense, the scholars who looked like me actively helped to minimize the vulnerabilities caused by race and gender in STEM fields. In that environment, my membership in STEM was not blatantly challenged by discrimination. Certainly, discrimination existed, and I do not intend to overlook that here—like the time my Calculus II professor, a White man, honored a male classmate for his high marks but supposedly forgot to do the same for me even though I had achieved the highest score possible on the same exam, or when male classmates referred to the womxn in our class as tomboys, or when a White male instructor kept asking me if I was sure about taking that physics course despite the fact that I had worked on a research proj ect on the course’s topic for over a year. In spite of the discrimination I experienced, it was the exception rather than the norm, and during my five years of undergraduate school I perceived myself as an authentic member of the STEM community. In contrast to my experiences in Brazil, my membership has been challenged in the United States in several ways, since my first day of graduate school, when a classmate asked if I was lost while we waited for the start of our class, a pure math course. Besides the fact that I have never engaged with a professor who looks like me in my current university, more professors than I would expect—male and female alike, have been agents of oppression, such as a pure math female instructor who would laugh at my comments during class, taught sessions with her back facing me, and ignored my contributions all together. As an international gradu ate Black female student in STEM, I have encountered obstacles 94 Krystal Madden et al.
and limitations that challenge my dream of earning a doctoral degree and impacting the lives of other through mathematics. My experiences have caused me to take notice of the fact that the White patriarchal ideologies guiding the culture of STEM prevent Black women from entering the fields and harm those who dare to enter. During these three years of graduate school, I was led to believe that I do not belong in STEM even if I had belonged in the past, and that I do not fit in mathematics anymore. It is only through my understanding of systemic oppression against people like me that I am able to not internalize feelings of inadequacy and not blame individual people for the reality of the field. It is through this awareness that I make sense of oppressive structures as they were created to be that way and are legitimized by a system that devalues the intellectual capabilities and personal experiences of Black womxn, marginalizing our voices and our existence. Thus, it is only through the dismantling of this oppressive system that my voice, my experiences, and my success in STEM w ill r eally matter.
sara Math is an art form. It is grace personified, shape-shifting and tumbling like an acrobat. It is a first love—something I look back on with dual memories of sweetness and sadness. Math is a sentient continent, like a collection of intersecting land masses that conspire and whisper to one another. It turns out, though, that it is a continent on which I have overstayed my welcome. You see, I have a visa. I am h ere on borrowed time to tour and gaze at its majesty, but I am not meant to stay. The pathway to mathematical citizenship began the moment I learned how to count in the form of magnetic numbers on the refrigerator in our tiny, cramped apartment. Early on, my father taught my sister and me the importance of a quality education. He insisted that we become prolific readers, ask never-ending questions, and practice our ginti (counting) skills constantly in the back of his taxicab. I have fond memories of the simple pleasure one receives in the act of learning. Unfortunately, citizenship became a bit more Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 95
convoluted when I reached prepubescence. Suddenly, learning was no longer a game, but a stern requirement to fulfill. Part of Pakistani immigrant culture (at least the kind I experienced) is about one-upmanship through marriage, socioeconomic status, and educational level. Since my family was located in a lower- class bracket in a community of upwardly mobile Pakistani family friends, the only way my parents w ere able to carve statuses for themselves was through the educational achievements of their daughters. It is worth noting that d aughters in the Pakistani community I grew up in were held to a much higher academic and moral standard than sons. This difference is also observable later on with teenagers with respect to curfew hours, adherence to Islamic structures such as teetotalism and consuming non-halal meat, and acceptable Western friends. Both my sister and I are conditioned to be the best, always. Honor roll bumper stickers, straight As on report cards, trophies, awards, merit stickers, high test scores, and national honors society luncheons—you name it, we earned it. In high school, it was made clear that my ACT score, grades, and extracurricular distinctions were of supreme importance. Failure was, and is, not an option. In retrospect, I recognize that the hypervigilance on academics for my sister and me accomplished two very important goals: (1) to maintain cultural status, and (2) to control our sexuality. After all, if we w ere busy with schoolwork and competitions, it left l ittle time to engage in haraam (Islamically abhorrent) behavior and get into any sort of garbar (trouble but alluding to pregnancy) with boys. I recognize that, in their own way, my parents were doing their best to carve a life in a completely unfamiliar world, away from the normalized gender roles they grew up in. I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been to immigrate to a country totally alien from everything they were accustomed to in search of a better life. I am grateful to them and acknowledge my own privilege to have grown up in the United States. I have been forced to engage in the act of developing my own identity within the “in-between” 96 Krystal Madden et al.
space of Pakistan and the United States, yet I have not had to personally deal with some of the more horrific realities that some women and girls face in Pakistan (such as a lack of educational opportunities and forced marriage). A fter years of working toward academic excellence, I am granted my visa to attend a prestigious midwestern university. But, the visa only allows for one foot in the door, while the security officer behind the door very slowly and apologetically closes it in my face. This is made abundantly clear in the form of microaggressions and financial constraints. There is the “gaze” from fellow classmates (who are mainly White male undergraduates) when I ask a question for the umpteenth time in Complex Analysis. There is the social distinction between having taken and passed Honors Analy sis, (one of the toughest courses offered in the department) versus the lower analysis course (the one I ended up taking). There is the South Asian expectation of being a “good” Muslim girl by agreeing to an arranged marriage upon graduation and immediately starting a family. There is the fact that studying for the GRE costs money and time, neither of which I possess (I am too busy working three or four part-time jobs at any given moment so that I may continue my studies). There is also the realization that graduate applications are $50 to $60 apiece (so I choose wisely and apply for the programs I believe I might have a chance of getting into). Th ere are the rejection letters and the ultimate insult, getting accepted but only if I can pay for graduate school in math (an idea unheard of, as most programs provide fellowships so that students can concentrate on studying and live off a stipend). In order to play, I must pay, but the cost is much too prohibitive. The realization that I cannot move onto the next stage of higher level mathematics hurts. My visa has expired, and a decision is made. I cannot contribute to the field but perhaps I can nurture another’s ability to do so. The “traditional” patriarchal avenue of becoming a mathematical citizen has been closed to me. I chose to explore and honor my mathematical citizenship as a teacher instead. I spent nine years teaching in public schools. I deliberately Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 97
chose to work in high-need areas so that I could propel future mathematicians of color forward. I tried to incorporate social justice into my lessons, but was too naive about the realities my students faced. My heart sang when I watched students gain confidence, learn how to collaborate with one another, appreciate the elegance and artistry that goes into a proof, and, finally, understand what it takes to persevere. My heart ached when they came to school hungry, angry, tired, apathetic, and uninspired. I did my best to empower and heal from both sides of the looking glass, but unlike asymptotes, I had a limit. I taught in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Mexico City, and Chicago. Years passed. Sometimes I was invited to students’ h ouses for dinner and sometimes to their funerals. Th ere is no room for scar tissue; there are only the holes left by bullets. I burned out. I left teaching (at least for now). I promised myself that I would find another way. And so, I turned to academia only to find similar circumstances in a completely different field. There is an invisible stain that has permanently infused itself on all my applications requesting mathematical citizenship. This permeates academia at all institutional levels; a stain that is seldom discussed but exists just the same. It is akin to a wafting odor, pungent and offensive; like a subtle glance caught in your peripheral vision, fleeting and unacknowledged. It is there but we do not discuss it. Not really, anyway. For me, it is the parallel lived experiences of my students of color and mine in pursuing mathematics. My students, so many of whom have so much curiosity, potential, and desire to do well are ostensibly funneled out by the realities of disproportionate educational spending, access to resources, systemic racism, and other contributing f actors designed to maintain White supremacy. For me, a combination of the cult of genius mythology (Harron, 2015), the gendered expectations of being simultaneously a Pakistani/immigrant to the United States and woman, along with my f amily’s socioeconomic status, rendered my ability to move forward a standstill. The system has never been designed for p eople like me, and I am tired of prematurely expired visas. I maintain that a new type of citizenship is long overdue. 98 Krystal Madden et al.
Reflections Following the interviews and related discussions, the narrators (Krystal, Priscila, and Sara) reflected on the implications of this work to the present and f uture conditions of research about race-m inoritized womxn in mathematics and science. There is a troubling trend in academia to essentialize the experiences of race-minoritized womxn as one monolithic, homogenized entity. While each of us identifies as a racialized and minoritized w oman, it is important to note that our individual stories are unique to us and are not intended to essentialize or speak for all race-minoritized womxn. While we as narrators spoke our individual truths, certain central themes emerged during our post- interview debriefs. We found t hese commonalities both surprising and reaffirming. Some themes w ere shared between just two of us (Priscila and Krystal, Krystal and Sara, or Sara and Priscila), while other themes intersected with all three of us. Collectively, we found that through adversity, certain characteristics emerged, such as a need for supportive environments, a commitment to our communities, and motivation for our own work driven by our experienced realities. Ultimately, there is a mutual desire to transform the realities of race-minoritized womxn in White institutional spaces, particularly in science and mathematics. Our stories not only illustrate some of the challenges and triumphs that we face as race-minoritized womxn in mathematics and science, but also demonstrate that no single narrative accounts for the experiences of all w omen who have been racialized and minoritized in STEM or otherw ise. Conjointly, our stories speak to survivance (survival and resilience) in the face of different kinds of adversity. While we each continue to encounter racialized, gendered, and classed experiences, t hese t hings present themselves in different ways and in different intensities for each of us. Our stories also illustrate that we are developing more critical understandings of sociocultural and geographic contexts and of systemic structures within STEM that prevent us and other race-minoritized Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 99
womxn from entering and/or persisting in the field. Despite our survivance, we are aware that mainstream mathematics and science academic spaces w ere not designed for our academic success. The authors (Krystal, Priscila, Sara, Victoria, and Danny) have no interest in blaming isolated individuals or searching for singular solutions. In making suggestions for improvement, we are not calling for gentler and nicer forms of science that merely tolerate race-minoritized womxn or that invite us in only to then request us to turn blind eyes to oppressive structures. Instead, we agree that new and different kinds of science and mathematics are necessary and w ill only be reached by an inclusion of more voices in the development of these fields. While we fully acknowledge that the current systems are entrenched and that we exist within those systems, we refuse to perpetuate oppression. Th ese systems are so entrenched that they often lead the oppressed to believe that no other alternatives are possible and incentivize tokenism. However, our narratives highlight the need to dismantle systems that devalue and marginalize race-minoritized womxn. Thus, we invite readers to join us in reimagining such systems as well as the nuances and complexities of being a race-minoritized womxn.
Recommendations We end this chapter with recommendations, targeting institutional norms and practices that have, over time, served to make many STEM environments unwelcoming and oppressive to many womxn. These are not recommendations insomuch as they are unapologetic visions of ways STEM systems must be transformed to move beyond survivance. We demand more than performative wokeness in academia in which liberal allyship is largely constructed in the discourses of inclusion without attending to structural conditions of White and male institutional spaces. We recognize the current system of STEM as a mirror (and vector) of U.S. imperialism, settler-colonialism, and neoliberalism. When Gwendolyn Brooks writes “we are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond” (1970, 100 Krystal Madden et al.
p. 19), she too is radically imagining a world in which people are aware that what affects one must affect all. While the short-term goal is to move beyond mere inclusion of those who are marked as Other, we envision a new and differ ent STEM that is just, humane, life-valuing, and life-preserving.
beyond inclusion • We argue that we must move beyond simply having more race-minoritized womxn successfully matriculating in STEM. Mere inclusion risks leaving the fundamental nature of oppressive STEM spaces intact, with the added demand that womxn must adapt or leave. STEM environments should be subjected to audits that illuminate the conditions of these spaces. These audits may result in naming STEM spaces as particularly hierarchical in their continued centering of historic gendered and raced privileges.
beyond survivance • Survivance comes from being forced to navigate and survive violent and oppressive spaces that are anti-Black, patriarchal, and White supremacist in structure. It is time to move beyond this reality for race-minoritized womxn. It is time to stop maintaining disciplinary enclosures within STEM that demand race-minoritized womxn adapt-or-else. Rather, we demand to thrive peacefully and without oppressive violence. • We advocate for a range of social-psychological-emotional supports that are sutured into STEM education; supports that focus on the whole person rather than just technical training and survivance. These supports would not disconnect womxn from their multiple roles and identities.
reconciliation and reparation • We call for STEM, at all levels, to come to terms with its past and current practices, and the harm it has done to womxn. Part of that coming to terms would be broad and specific acknowledgements, apologies, and repair. Repair would include making Cartographies of Race, Gender, and Class 101
reparations of the type that would allow womxn to participate in STEM education f ree of financial, emotional, and psychological burden. Instead, we challenge all institutions to bravely and intentionally disengage from practices of harm and move towards practices of healing.
Notes 1. We apply this term intentionally for the purposes of both highlighting our connections and differentiating the politics of our histories, while also acknowledging the scholarship upon which the term is founded.
2. The term “White” has been capitalized in our chapter for the sake of consistency with the rest of the book.
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5 A Critical Examination of the Influence of Systemic Racism in Shaping the African STEM Research Workforce jomo w. mutegi
Ernest Gilbert has already beaten the odds. An African American male from the inner city of a large metropolis, he is now a second-year doctoral student of biology at Wheatfort University. This would be a significant accomplishment regardless of the university, but a degree from Wheatfort is especially significant. One of the nation’s highest ranked universities, Wheatfort is renowned for excellence in science and engineering. Despite the odds, those who knew Ernest as a young child would not be surprised. Ernest was a bookish young man who developed a keen interest in physics and astronomy. His interest goes back to elementary school, where he often preferred the com pany of good books over that of the neighborhood kids. Throughout childhood, this interest was nurtured by his family and community. So t hose who know him would not be surprised that Ernest is on the cusp of a promising biology research career. Those unfamiliar with Ernest (but familiar with research on the participation of African people in STEM careers) would not be surprised either. Ernest’s story reflects the predominant narratives found in this research. For example, as a young child he 107
expressed an early interest in science (Thomas, 1984); he participated in extracurricular science activities (Gilleylen, 1993); and he took advanced mathematics and science courses in high school (Griffin, 1990; Maple & Stage, 1991; Thomas, 1984). Th ese are the types of experiences, and dispositions that correlate with African American persistence toward STEM careers (Lewis, 2003). Extant literat ure describes the types of experiences and dispositions that distinguish persisters from nonpersisters. However, it tends to stop there. There is relatively little research aimed at describing the scientific practice of t hose who persist.1 What are the predominant disciplinary areas of STEM practitioners of African descent? What are the specific career tracks in which these practitioners find themselves? What types of research agendas do they pursue? More importantly, how does systemic racism influence those disciplinary areas, career tracks, and research agendas? This chapter is not about systemic racism as a fence—preventing promising aspirants like Ernest from becoming STEM practition ers. This chapter is about systemic racism as a series of gates— channeling the thought and be hav ior of promising STEM practitioners to change the structure and function of the STEM workforce of African people. In short, this chapter seeks to move toward an understanding of how systemic racism shapes the STEM practice of African people and who is being served by it. To be clear, this chapter is not aimed at reporting data to show the various ways that racism (systemic or otherw ise) is manifest. There is a definitive and growing body of work that makes this case (DeCuir-Gunby & Gunby, 2016; Dovido, Pearson, & Penner, 2018; Steele, 1997; Williams et al., 2012). Neither is it aimed at reporting data that show how racism leads to underrepresentation in STEM disciplines. It is well established that African Americans are underrepresented as STEM practitioners (Lewis & Collins, 2001; Lewis & Connell, 2005; Malcom, George, & Van Horne, 1996; Maton & Hrabowski, 2004); and racism as a causal factor in this underrepre sen ta t ion is a reasonable argument (Mutegi, 2013). 108 Jomo W. Mutegi
Instead, this chapter aims to begin an exploration of how systemic racism works to shape the STEM workforce of African people. H ere I will clarify two issues that might otherwise be problematic for the reader. The first is my characterization of African people. I operate from a Pan-A fricanist perspective. As it pertains to systemic racism, I understand the life conditions of African Americans to be essentially the same as the life conditions of p eople of African descent globally. For this reason, I generally refer to people of African descent or African p eople. When I do invoke a more specific term, such as African American, it is either with the intention of distinguishing this particular group of African people or it is an effort to accurately represent terminology used by another author or a research participant (see also Mutegi, 2011, 2013). The second is the salience of African American underrepresen tation in STEM disciplines. Although underrepresentation may not be a uniquely American phenomenon, in extant literat ure it is presented as such. Operating from a Pan-A fricanist perspective, I understand systemic racism to impact people of African descent globally. For this reason, this chapter works to broaden our understanding of the ways that systemic racism shapes the African STEM workforce beyond unequal representation. Although the narrative presented is that of an African American STEM doctoral student, the questions raised and the insights generated are germane to African p eople broadly.
Methods This study followed a case study design. Data w ere collected by means of two open-ended interviews. The interview protocol was informed by Spradley’s (1979) The Ethnographic Interview. Two specific elements used were grand-tour questions and open invitations to dialogue. The study participant was invited to “tell me about yourself, your interest in STEM, and your experience as a doctoral student.” Subsequent interview questions drew from the participant’s initial responses and were aimed at delving more deeply into the participant’s c areer trajectory. The initial interview Racism in the STEM Research Workforce 109
was ninety minutes in duration. The follow-up interview, which was sixty minutes in duration, was used to ask clarifying questions that remained after the initial interview. Analysis of interview data focused on identifying key elements in the participant’s story. Of particular interest were (a) the participant’s early interest in STEM and a STEM career, (b) points along the career trajectory that marked shifts that could be considered deviations from the intended career path, and (c) the impetuses for those shifts, especially those with roots in systemic racism. The story that is retold in the following pages is intended to serve as a starting point for examining the various ways that systemic racism works to shape the STEM practice of people of African descent.
Ernest’s STEM C areer Story Ernest came to the attention of Wheatfort2 faculty and staff while in m iddle school. During this time, he was offered a scholarship and membership in the prestigious Wheatfort F utures Program, a program designed to identify young children with special talent and interest in science and engineering. Wheatfort Futures provides supports for these children as they matriculate through high school and offers eligible students scholarships to attend Wheatfort upon graduation. As a freshman, Ernest attended Deepcrest High School, an arts-focused city school that enjoys a good reputation for academics. While at Deepcrest, Ernest became interested in acting and began considering acting as a c areer option. At the end of this year, however, Ernest’s m other learned that Wheatfort F utures would no longer be partnering with Deepcrest High School. So, she transferred him to Valburn Technical High School in order for Ernest to remain eligible for the Wheatfort Futures scholarship. The summer before his junior year, Ernest had an opportunity to attend a Wheatfort F utures biology research summer camp. The camp was held on the campus of Wheatfort University and gave Ernest his first in-depth experience with lab work. Ernest worked 110 Jomo W. Mutegi
in the lab of Dr. Alexander Haynes. He recalls d oing molecular biology laboratory investigations for the first time. Although Ernest was firmly committed to physics and astronomy, this experience opened his mind to the possibility of biology as an area of interest. During the camp, Ernest must have impressed Dr. Haynes, because he and only three other young men w ere invited to work with Dr. Haynes on weekends throughout that school year. Th ese school year sessions did not have the same positive impact on Ernest as did the summer camp. Rather than being engaged in a series of new laboratory investigations, Ernest found himself trying to make sense of academic research articles. Having difficulty making sense of t hese articles, he eventually became discouraged. Although he maintained a strong affinity for science as a disciplinary subject, he became convinced that a PhD was not for him. During his senior year of high school, Ernest earned a C in an AP physics course. This experience led to some soul-searching. He began reconsidering his intended major, leaning more toward a major in biology, which seemed a reasonable alternative a fter his positive experience with the Wheatfort F utures camp. Freshman year marked a period of profound transition for Ernest. He characterizes his adjustment to Wheatfort as a “culture shock.” Here is a young man who u ntil the age of ten lived in a predominantly Black neighborhood in inner-city Landisville, one of the five largest cities in the nation. When he was ten, his family moved to a predominantly Black neighborhood in inner-city Chipley, one of the fifteen largest cities in the nation. As a high school sophomore he attended Valburn Tech, which has a student population that is over 80 percent Black and Hispanic. By contrast, fewer than 4 percent of Wheatfort’s undergraduates are African American. The whiteness of Wheatfort was not simply a cosmetic aberration. In fact, it is telling that Ernest describes his experience as culture shock. In colloquial terms, culture shock connotes surprise at new food, sites, dress, and customs. However, in anthropological terms, culture shock connotes more than mere surprise. It Racism in the STEM Research Workforce 111
connotes distress. Depression and anxiety are two of the more common responses associated with culture shock (Irwin, 2007). Given the aggression that p eople of African descent have historically experienced at the hands of whites, it is not surprising that when describing his culture shock Ernest also expresses a sense of vulnerability. He describes being nervous, uncomfortable, and functioning with his guard up in anticipation of possible aggression. In short, he is being expected to function in a hostile environment. And when working to understand Ernest’s career trajectory, it is helpful to foreground the role of this hostile environment in shaping many of his key decisions. Freshmen at Wheatfort do no enter the university with declared majors. Although students begin taking courses with an eye t oward a given major, they are required to wait until their sophomore year to make formal application to a degree program. As a freshman, Ernest began taking courses that would fulfill the requirements for a double major in physics and biology. However, by this point he was no longer strongly committed to physics as an area of study. One of his reasons for pursuing a double major was that he “wanted to prove that [he] could get good grades, especially in math.” He wanted to prove to himself that he belonged at Wheatfort. Freshman year, Ernest took two physics courses. He earned a C in one course and a B+ in the other course. He describes the results as mixed. One consequence of the grades earned in these two courses was that Ernest abandoned the physics coursework altogether. He did not want t hese courses to negatively impact his GPA. A second consequence was that Ernest abandoned any remaining notion that he might pursue STEM studies beyond his initial four-year degree. It was also during his freshman year that Ernest began to surround himself with faculty of color. This strategy would serve to provide security and relative stability for him throughout the remainder of his undergraduate and doctoral studies. One of the faculty of color instrumental to Ernest’s career trajectory was Dr. Gillermo, who introduced Ernest to the Louis Stokes
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Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program. LSAMP is a program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and, according to the program solicitation, “is aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of students successfully completing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate degree programs, and increasing the number of students interested in, academically qualified for and matriculating into programs of graduate study.” Participation in the LSAMP program provided Ernest an opportunity to join a lab, gain research experience and earn additional money. It is through the LSAMP program that Ernest met and began working in the lab of Dr. Garza. Ernest worked in Dr. Garza’s lab throughout his undergraduate degree program and has remained in this lab for the first two years of his doctoral studies. Ernest credits Dr. Garza with providing many positive experiences as well as numerous examples of other minority scientists. Ernest also points out that Dr. Garza’s lab and membership in LSAMP provide him the opportunity to do lab work throughout the summer. Th ese added months of study allow him to read more, learn new techniques, and think more deeply about his research. A third faculty member of color, Dr. Layla Ellison, was also instrumental in Ernest’s career trajectory. Dr. Ellison is an African American faculty member who organizes and implements a boot camp experience for incoming freshman STEM majors. Dr. Ellison made a personal call to Ernest’s m other during his senior year at Valburn, insisting that Mrs. Gilbert enroll Ernest in the Wheatfort boot camp. As it turns out, the boot camp provided an important experience for Ernest. It is where Ernest met a number of other minority STEM majors. Th ese students formed a core peer group for Ernest throughout his time at Wheatfort. It is these peers to whom Ernest turned as he worked to cope with the culture shock described previously. In addition to organizing and implementing the boot camp, Dr. Ellison was also responsible for helping to refocus Ernest’s efforts toward doctoral work during his freshman year. Perhaps sensing the challenges that
Racism in the STEM Research Workforce 113
freshman STEM majors face, Dr. Ellison met informally with Ernest and a few of his peers partway through their freshman year. She shared her own experiences as a STEM major at Wheatfort. That sharing was instrumental for Ernest, who explained that “just hearing her talk about it reassured me that I could do it too.” From this point on, Ernest has been resolute in his efforts to earn his doctoral degree in biology. He has for that entire time worked in Dr. Garza’s lab. Ernest is currently working on a proposal for a fellowship to fund his research with infectious agents. This topic was given to him by Dr. Garza. What has changed throughout this time is his specific research focus. Ernest’s own interests lie first in studying biotechnology, specifically the culturing of organs, and second in studying neurodegenerative diseases. These two areas reflect his interest in research that has translatable results. Ernest explains that translatable research projects are important because they are more likely to be funded. Long term, Ernest sees himself working to impact African communities positively, though this is limited to “encouraging more Blacks to go into science.” Ernest does not see how his research work could benefit people of African descent: “I know that the research I want to do won’t necessarily be directly beneficial to the Black community.”
Directions for Future Research Ernest’s story is a rich one. It speaks to many known challenges faced by STEM aspirants of African descent as they seek to become STEM practitioners. It also reinforces the merits of many interventions that have been advocated over the years as a means of ensuring more STEM practitioners of African descent. Ernest’s story raises several questions that could serve to guide future research on the ways that systemic racism influences the complexion of African STEM practice. I have organized t hese questions into two broad categories: the role of academic dislocation and the role of enticements.
114 Jomo W. Mutegi
Academic Dislocation: Being Pushed Out vs. Being Pushed Around Examinations of the STEM c areer participation of p eople of African descent are generally concerned with students who persist in STEM careers as opposed to those who do not persist. Such studies often work to distinguish the various traits, experiences, or dispositions of t hose who are pushed out of STEM as compared to those who remain. Ernest’s story draws attention to another concern. While he was not pushed out of his pursuit of a STEM career, he was certainly pushed around. He began as a m iddle school student with an interest in physics and astronomy. Positive experiences d oing biology research while in high school and working in Dr. Garza’s biology lab as an undergraduate student, coupled with negative experiences taking physics courses in both high school and college, worked together to push Ernest away from a career in physics and astronomy and toward a career in biology. Even as a doctoral student in Dr. Garza’s lab, Ernest has experiences of being pushed around. He is pushed to do research on infectious agents in pursuit of a research fellowship. His interest in the culturing of organs and neurodegenerative diseases can be seen as the result of the push provided by the perceived interest of funding agencies. It is this pushing around that I characterize as academic dislocation. It is the academic version of population dislocation (Fuller, 2016; Loewen, 2006; Wilson, 1992). Not unlike population dislocation, which results in the loss of material, social, and h uman resources (Saegert, Fields, & Libman, 2011), academic dislocation also results in loss of resources, as students must stop and start again, learning new foundational material, building new relationships, and acclimating to new rules, roles, and routines. A few broader questions for ongoing research are: To what degree is academic dislocation of STEM students of African descent pervasive? What are the mechanisms by which academic dislocation takes place? How are these mechanisms manifestations of systemic racism? And how does academic dislocation shape the STEM practice of African p eople? Ernest’s story reveals that u ntil Racism in the STEM Research Workforce 115
he found security through LSAMP and a safe haven in Dr. Garza’s lab, he was pushed around quite a bit. He was pushed from one disciplinary interest to another. He was pushed from one long-term educational objective to another. He was pushed from one specific area of research to another. He was even pushed from one high school to another. Ernest’s story also reveals a number of mechanisms by which academic dislocation might occur. Financial incentive was a major mechanism. It was the mechanism that pushed him to switch high schools. It was the mechanism that pushed him to Dr. Garza’s lab. It is the mechanism that pushes him toward certain areas of research. Validation by o thers was also an important mechanism. For Ernest, grades earned in courses served to validate his STEM competence. Lack of validation in his physics courses helped to push him away from physics as an area of study. If this phenomenon of academic dislocation is pervasive in the experience of STEM aspirants of African descent, then we might also consider how it shapes African STEM practice. Are STEM aspirants of African descent pushed away from STEM disciplines that have the air of being more challenging (such as physics)? Do funding or validation push them away from research agendas that might more readily benefit people of African descent?
Enticements to STEM Practice In a lecture titled “Special Education,” Amos Wilson said, “We often tell our children to learn to read. But we never answer the question, ‘Read for what?’ Colin Powell reads very well, and he uses that knowledge to drop bombs on Black p eople.” Similarly, STEM educators often advocate for policies, programs, and practices aimed at attracting p eople of African descent to STEM fields. We have not, however, been very explicit about what we expect them to do once they are in STEM fields. So, our enticements are often ineffective. One possible consequence of ineffective enticements is that we drive away potential STEM practitioners. Again, 116 Jomo W. Mutegi
Ernest’s story is instructive. Although he was not driven from STEM work completely, the effect of the enticements was ambivalent. Sometimes they w ere attractants (e.g., biology summer camp, or research with Dr. Garza). Other times they w ere repellants (e.g., research with Dr. Haynes, or physics coursework in his freshman year). A second possible consequence of our enticements is that they fail to tap into the drive that many STEM aspirants have to improve the social condition of African communities. Research has found that p eople of African descent gravitate toward serv ice professions in disproportionately great numbers. It is believed that this tendency reflects an interest in doing professional work that enhances the community. The fact that Ernest was unable to articulate for himself a role as a doctoral-level biologist wherein he could work to improve African communities speaks to the limitations of the enticements used to attract him and the educational experiences he has had thus far. One area of ongoing research could work to distinguish those aspects of STEM c areer enticements that serve as attractants from those that serve as repellants. Given that the prevailing approach tends to focus on upsizing the number of African p eople in the STEM workforce, it might be useful to engage in thought-work around the efficacy of this idea. Another approach might be to engage in right-sizing the number of African people in the STEM workforce. Such an approach would likely change recruitment efforts from trying to draw greater numbers of students to STEM to working with students to craft c areer plans that meet their unique life goals. Building on students’ interest in serv ice professions, a second area of ongoing research could focus on the effectiveness of presenting the serv ice aspects of STEM work as a recruitment tool for students of African descent. Related to this work might be scholarship aimed at curriculum modification. Curricula could be modified to (a) underscore the potential for service-oriented STEM work in various STEM disciplines, and (b) support students as they work to craft service-oriented STEM careers. Racism in the STEM Research Workforce 117
Actionable Recommendations for Practitioners and Policymakers • STEM career aspirants of African descent would benefit from preparation for STEM c areers as early as middle and secondary school. Such preparation would go beyond a focus on content and deal instead with the social aspects of becoming (and being) a member of a community of practice. This might include: ° the role of a research mentor and other advocates, ° strategies for identifying research mentors and other advocates, and ° the relative importance (and sometimes unimportance) of grades. • STEM career aspirants of African descent would benefit from a clear sense of how to engage in STEM professions such that their work may contribute meaningfully to African communities. This might include: ° selection of niche areas of work, ° positioning themselves for effective advocacy, and ° models and strategies for channeling resources and expertise to African communities.
One cautionary note for practitioners and policymakers is that to effectively implement actionable strategies for STEM career aspirants of African descent requires courage and strategizing in the face of staunch resistance. Often there is resistance when p eople of African descent are offered opportunities exclusive of non-Black groups. In response to the resistance, we sometimes capitulate and make t hese opportunities available to everyone, at which point they cease to be something that is beneficial to African people. The real ity is that STEM career aspirants of African descent share an extensive history of systemic oppression and racism; and in their pursuit of STEM c areers, they must navigate social structures that have grown from that history. To be successful in their pursuit requires that they be provided space and time to understand the prevailing social structures under the guidance of professionals 118 Jomo W. Mutegi
who have, to some degree, navigated them successfully. And they must do this independently of their peers who do not share this history.
Notes 1. The work of Willie Pearson stands as a rare exception (e.g. Pearson, 1986; Pearson & Bechtel, 1989).
2. Throughout this report pseudonyms are used to refer to specific institutions, p eople, places and programs.
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African Americans in science: Directions for f uture research. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 9, 361–373.
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Lewis, B. F., & Collins, A. (2001). Interpretive investigation of the
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considerations and reasons for enrolling in advanced science courses. Negro Educational Review, 56, 221–231.
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6 They Shall Not Be Moved Black Students’ Persistence as Engineering Majors dorinda j. cart er andrews We s hall not, we shall not be moved We s hall not, we shall not be moved Just like a tree that’s standing by the water We s hall not be moved —African American spiritual
In a fashion similar to the way that gospel singer, actress, and civil rights activist Mavis Staples vocalizes African Americans’ strong faith in God through the African American spiritual “I S hall Not Be Moved,” Black undergraduate students majoring in a variety of engineering fields often remain like trees planted by the water with roots that extend to a stream (see Jeremiah 17:8, King James Version). Th ese students embody the mindset that they w ill weather the storms that come along during schooling, with an expectation of obtaining a degree in their STEM major and pursuing their professional dreams. I was one of these students. In the fall of 1991 I arrived at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) as a college freshman. I attended a predominantly White high school and was one of few Black students in the advanced placement math and science courses. E ager to continue 122
excelling in these subject areas at the college level, I was all too familiar with what this experience could be like for a Black female entering a postsecondary predominantly White learning context, majoring in a White-centric and male discipline. Prior to the fall quarter, I participated in a six-week summer bridge program called Challenge.1 This program acclimated me to attending college and taking classes with college professors, in addition to providing me with an institutional support mechanism through the Office of Minority Education and Development (OMED) and a peer network of support made up of other Black and Brown students. I majored in industrial and systems engineering. In my calculus and differential equations classes, I was one of few Black students or the only one. Both my race and my gender w ere minoritized identities in my major courses. I often experienced impostor syndrome (Robinson et al., 2016) and racial battle fatigue (Smith, Allen, & Danley, 2007) from perceiving that I had to prove wrong to my peers and professors the assumed societal stereot ype that my Black female body was not smart enough to learn amongst my White and male peers. Although OMED was an intellectually and identity affirming space, many of my classes w ere not. This was not a result of personal attacks from students, but rather because the culture and climate of engineering did not allow for the institution or the College of Engineering and its various degree programs to cultivate learning spaces where culturally diverse bodies, identities, and perspectives felt respected and included. Although I was challenged by these hostile learning environments, my memorable experiences while pursuing my engineering degree include sustained support through individuals in the OMED office and through the academic and social programming offered by the office. Additionally, I was a member of supportive study groups and student organizations that helped foster my academic and social success at Georgia Tech. It has been seventeen years since I worked in the corporate sector as an industrial engineer; however, my work as a racial justice educational researcher and scholar includes lifting up the voices of Black students who are marginalized by race, class, and/or They Shall Not Be Moved 123
gender in their schooling contexts. This includes Black students who are pursuing engineering degrees in predominantly White institutions. This work is important, because few studies focus on Black students’ educational experiences to degree completion in their field (e.g., Anderson & Kim, 2006; Russell & Atwater, 2005). Even fewer studies take a strengths-based approach to understanding the factors that contribute to these students’ persistence in their majors. I have a special affinity to Black engineering students, because I was one of them. Recently I conducted individual interviews with seven Black engineering students who are members of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter at their predominantly White university. This was not a typical research investigation. Rather, I wanted to learn from these students, through informal, semi-structured interviews, about their experiences as Black students navigating the College of Engineering and their degree programs. Specifically, I was interested in understanding factors that contributed to students’ persistence in their engineering major. My interview questions focused on (a) the culture and climate of students’ degree program and of the College of Engineering; (b) students’ reported sources of support and motivation for finishing their degree; and (c) students’ experiences, if any, with racial and/or gender discrimination. Based on what we know from existing empirical research (e.g., Beasley & Fischer, 2012; McGee, 2016; McGee & Martin, 2011), I expected to hear students describe multiple experiences with racial and gender discrimination while pursuing their degrees. However, I found t hese interviews to be more instructive about factors that contribute to these students’ degree persistence and completion. In this chapter, I share insights from five of these Black students regarding factors that contribute to their persistence in their engineering major while also highlighting the nuances of experiencing racial discrimination as engineering students. Th ese students’ reflections on their academic experiences not only underscore the challenges of degree persistence while Black but also help the field better understand what is necessary and sufficient for
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Table 6.1 Student Demographics family members who are engineers or in stem c areers
Dad, chemical engineer
Materials science engineering
No immediate f amily members in STEM fields Cousin studying to be a mechanical engineer No immediate f amily members in STEM fields; one aunt a medical doctor God-sister, engineering degree but not currently using it
type of high school attended
Predominantly White private high school Predominantly Black public high school Predominantly Black public high school Predominantly Black public high school Predominantly White, private, parochial, all-g irl high school
helping Black students with engineering degree completion at the undergraduate level. The five engineering students (Table 6.1) attend a large Midwestern, predominantly White university. There are nine departments in the College of Engineering. The college offers several offices, programs, and student organizations specifically targeted to students of minoritized racial and ethnic groups and w omen (Table 6.2).
Preparedness for STEM Major Research indicates that racial disparities occur in STEM because fewer Black and Latinx students are prepared for STEM in high school (Tyson et al., 2007). The students I interviewed had varying opinions of their high school preparation for pursuing a STEM degree. David and Jasmine (both chemical engineering majors)
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table 6.2 Offices, Programs, and Student Organi zations for Minoritized Students title
Diversity Programs Office Future Engineers Michigan Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (MI-LSAMP) Women in Engineering American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChe) National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Society of W omen Engineers (SWE) Women in Computing
type (office, program, student organi zation)
Office Program Program Program Student organization Student organization Student organization Student organization Student organization Student organization
only took precalculus prior to college, and David stated that his high school mathematics courses did not prepare him for a major in chemical engineering. Both David and Jasmine had to enroll in what is considered a remedial math class at their university. This course is designed for students who did not receive adequate mathe matics preparation in their high school and need to meet certain mathematics prerequisites in order to apply to their major field. The course has a history of enrolling large numbers of students of color, and this has been an issue of concern for years. Derek discussed feeling unprepared for his major coursework in college based on his lack of ability to engage in problem-solving work at the high school level and his limited exposure to STEM classes. When reflecting on his first year of college, he said, “The one t hing that I saw compared to other students is that they kinda knew how to problem-solve a little better than I did. I noticed this once I was trying to get into the College of Engineering. I think physics, um, and also upper level math classes, would have helped me.” Derek had the opportunity to take a 3D modeling class in high school that he considered one of his only early introductions 126 Dorinda J. Carter Andrews
to engineering. Eli felt like his high school experience prepared him for his major in chemical engineering. In high school, he took AP chemistry and organic chemistry. Eli considered these courses, in addition to his calculus and robotics classes, to have provided him a solid foundation for his engineering coursework in college. In their study of eleven African American undergraduate seniors in a biology degree program at a predominantly White research institution, Russell and Atwater (2005) found that students reported perceiving one of the most critical f actors in their academic persistence was participation in advanced science and mathematics courses as part of their high school college preparatory program. My conversations with these Black students provided insights on the degree to which having STEM-related classes as well as advanced-level science and math courses in high school places students on a stronger path to degree attainment in an engineering field and also enhances their self-efficacy to persist in their STEM major. Some of the students discussed being members of STEM- related clubs/organizations while in high school, such as NSBE, Jr. These programs helped better familiarize students with STEM professions and identify other students with similar interests while in high school. Attending a K-12 school in a setting where STEM-related activities, courses, and clubs are present provides an opportunity for students to cultivate an affinity for STEM professionally at an earlier age (Sahin, 2013).
Culture and Climate I also asked students to describe how the culture of the College of Engineering and their classes affected their academic experiences. I was interested in this area, given what we know about the culture of STEM fields as being racially hostile, highly competitive, and reflective of White male supremacy (McGee, 2016). STEM higher education remains stratified by race, and thus, Black, Brown, and Indigenous students remain marginalized and at the bottom of what some researchers call a racialized STEM They Shall Not Be Moved 127
hierarchy (Martin, 2009). However, among t hese students, t here were generally positive feelings about the College of Engineering and their departmental major. This could be due, in part, to the fact that two of the students w ere sophomores and had not yet applied to their major area. Their limited perspective on the College of Engineering and their degree program is informed by their inexperience with faculty in those areas. Several students described the climate as one in which “everyone is willing to help everyone.” Desia gave an example of a student once moving his seat next to hers in class in order to help her with an assignment. Students also discussed the college’s efforts to create an inclusive environment, particularly for freshmen, by providing a variety of events where students can meet each other and find out about institutional and programmatic supports available to them throughout their college career. The word “inclusive” was used several times by nearly all the students when describing the culture and climate of the college and the university. Eli did mention that he found the environment to also be competitive; however, it was not apparent that this cultural feature was an impediment to his success at this juncture of his studies.
Race and Discrimination For some students, race was not as salient in their college experience. When students were asked if they experienced the classroom differently as a Black student, the answers varied. Jasmine felt no pressure to prove that she was as smart (or smarter) than her peers, and Desia indicated that she never noticed any differential treatment based on her race. She recognizes that her status as a Black female in computer science is rare, but “overall it’s been fine. I haven’t had, like, many problems. We’re not thinking so much about our differences as much as we are thinking about how are we gonna get this done.” David also agreed that he had not noticed any differential treatment toward him based on race. Despite these perspectives, Eli described the climate of engineering classes as different for him based on his race. He found it challenging to 128 Dorinda J. Carter Andrews
work with non-Black classmates because of cultural differences and not simply due to racial background. He said, “Uh with minorities, it’s a lower amount in the classes. It’s predominantly White classes. And sometimes it makes it kinda hard to work with each other, not necessarily b ecause of racial background but b ecause you’re not accustomed to working with certain types of people.” Eli also described the shock of arriving at a predominantly White university a fter attending a predominantly Black high school: “It’s kinda like a culture shock. I’d say it makes it kinda hard to connect with people sometimes, but that’s why I got involved in DPO [Diversity Programs Office]. It makes it a bit harder just b ecause you don’t see people who look like you. It’s kinda discouraging, cause, you say to yourself, ‘I wanna go into this field, but I d on’t see enough people who have done it and who have made it to such a degree of high stature.’ ” Eli views race as impacting his overall college experience. He is impacted by how others perceive him as a Black male, and he actively seeks out institutional resources, physical spaces, and social supports for managing the culture shock of attending a predominantly White institution. The Diversity Programs Office (DPO) and other places like it can serve as identity-a ffirming counterspaces (Carter, 2007) for Black engineering majors. Th ese are spaces that reject the White male oppressive culture of engineering by affirming and cultivating the identities of Black students and other students of color. While discrimination was not the most salient theme across our conversations, students did discuss experiences with racial microaggressions (Pierce et al., 1978; Solórzano, Ceja, & Yosso, 2000) and what they perceived to be discriminatory acts committed by peers and professors. Desia recalled an instance when three Black students w ere working collaboratively in class and the professor came and sat near them. She stated that the professor did not do this with White students who worked collaboratively. Eli described a recent experience working on a group project with two White peers. When it was time for his group to present their poster to the teaching assistant, a White male in the group presented Eli’s They Shall Not Be Moved 129
portion instead of letting him talk: “A fter he did my part, he stopped. The first girl went, then he went, then it was supposed to be my turn, but the guy just talked over me and did my part. . . . There were times when we were mixing materials and collecting data, and he’d try to check what I’d done and the other group members would be like, ‘You just saw him do it.’ So with him I kinda felt it, but when he actually did my part of the presentation, that was my confirmation.” Eli had been sharing a learning space with this student whom he assumed took issue with him because he was Black. He perceived that his White groupmate treated him this way b ecause of his race. The emotional and even physical taxation this can potentially cause Eli is demonstrative of racial b attle fatigue (Smith et al., 2007). Eli was subject to having to manage perceived and real instances of racial discrimination from this particular student at the expense of his own peace of mind in his classes and in group work. David, Jasmine, or Derek could not recount any instances in which they had experienced discrimination. However, Eli’s story regarding his group experience highlights the need for institutions and faculty to be aware of, and strategically responsive to, how Black students and other students of color can be subject to racial discrimination in subtle and overt ways in the learning context.
Sources of Support and Motivation “They [other Black students] can see themselves d oing it. The only reason I made it is cause I could see myself doing it. I almost became obsessed with it.” —Derek For many of the students, their ability to persist in their major was dependent on their I-can/I-w ill attitude. The quote above illustrates a driving force for Derek to persist as a material science engineering major. He could envision himself completing the degree and working professionally as an engineer. While students’
130 Dorinda J. Carter Andrews
comments indicated their high self-esteem and high degree of self- confidence, they identified several f actors beyond self-motivation that they perceived contributed to their persistence in the College of Engineering. For example, Desia talked about attending tutoring sessions that w ere provided through the Diversity Programs Office in the College of Engineering, as well as studying with classmates. She said, “It’s also finding other people who can relate to you in that course, and then study, study, study!” Desia had developed the strategy of identifying other students who had previously taken a course in which she was enrolled or who w ere taking the class at the same time as her but were not in her section, and she actively sought out their help with studying. “I try to do things myself first, but I’m willing to spend time with o thers who can help me,” she said. All the students discussed participation in programs run by the College of Engineering as a major factor that contributed to their persistence in their engineering major. Jasmine and Derek spoke of the utility of attending the summer bridge programs that prepared them for their college experience as engineering majors. For Jasmine, the Engineering and Science Success Academy (ESSA)2 helped demystify the first year of college and what coursework would be like: “It got me more acquainted with what college would be like, um, the expectations I guess. We had a really rigorous schedule. We had recitations from, like, 6:30 p.m. to like 10 p.m. We took college classes, but they w eren’t for credit. The whole program was like two credits . . . it was really like a family, b ecause everybody we had met through that program we continued to see throughout the school year. It helped me feel more included, so I didn’t feel so alone when I got here.” In a similar way that the Challenge program helped me, the ESSA program helped Jasmine and other students of color pursuing engineering degrees become acclimated to the academic and environmental aspects of college and also develop an affinity group peer network. Derek also participated in a summer program prior to his freshman year in college. This was a one-week program that
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helped him acclimate to what college would be like, and he credits this program as being beneficial to his success in the college of engineering. In addition to summer bridge programs, students discussed involvement in student organizations as instrumental in their per sistence. Active membership in organizations such as the NSBE, the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), and Women in Engineering (WIE) allowed students to not only cultivate networks that would be instrumental for their professional trajectories, but also develop kinship networks that helped them maintain a sense of self. Th ese groups also affirmed students’ racial and intellectual selves. In many ways, student organizations also served as identity-a ffirming counterspaces (Carter, 2007). They allowed students to be their authentic selves while also cultivating their professional identities. When asked about the utility of NSBE and NOBCChE, David stated: “For me, it’s like, um, having other people who are, like, in the same mindset as you cause they are in similar majors and are goal-oriented like you.” Jasmine joined WIE so that she would “have a mentoring experience with an upperclassman.” She found the experience of developing a relationship with a female upperclassman who could help her navigate the coursework and overall academic landscape of chemical engineering to be very useful. Jasmine now serves as a mentor for a freshman student. Desia is currently an officer in the university NSBE chapter and credits NSBE with helping her obtain internships and meet students in her class who can share old tests and quizzes with her. Derek founded the Biomedical Engineering Society at his university and was the president for the first two years. He started the organization because the university did not have a lot of information for biomedical engineering students at the time. He has also been an active member of NSBE. When asked how he sees participation in these organizations as beneficial, Derek stated, “the networking, the different people I meet, um, some of the information that I get to learn about. It kinda helps me figure out what career path I wanna take.” Like several other students that I spoke 132 Dorinda J. Carter Andrews
with, Derek acknowledges that consistent participation in t hese groups presents a challenge for time management. However, t hese students are willing to try and strike the delicate balance of extracurricular participation with academic studies so that they can work to affirm all aspects of their self while persisting in their major. All of the students spoke very highly of the Diversity Programs Office as a source of support for them. When discussing the culture shock he experienced coming to a predominantly White university from a predominantly Black high school, Eli stated that he got involved in DPO so that he could connect with more Black students. When asked about family as a source of support and/or motivation, some of the students reported being motivated to complete their engineering degree out of a sense of obligation to their families. Derek stated that “my w hole f amily was depending on me to do it.” However, other students, like Jasmine, did not feel family pressure to do well. In all instances, it was clear that these students wanted to make their f amily members proud, but their sense of obligation to complete their degree programs was primarily to self.
The Pressure to Prove Something Feeling like one has to prove their intellectual worth is nothing new for Black students in a variety of learning settings. Typically this concept applies to Black students perceiving that they have to prove wrong negative stereot ypes that they perceive White peers and other peers in the classroom have about them. However, t hese students talked about a different type of proving wrong concept. For Desia, she had a self-imposed pressure to prove that she belonged in her major and could obtain an engineering degree: “I’ve kinda like set the bar pretty high, especially like with my parents. ‘Cause I went to like this prestigious predominantly White high school and then I come here and me an African American female in a STEM field, and then a lot of my family members are not in college or not d oing well so I feel like I gotta come through for the family. . . . I think I put it [the pressure] on myself. ‘Cause They Shall Not Be Moved 133
I’ve always been taught that the worst thing you can do is make your f amily look bad, so I don’t want to make my f amily look bad.” Derek described feeling the need to prove wrong any preconceived notions o thers might have about his intellectual abilities, and, like Desia, he perceives this as a self-imposed pressure. When asked if he feels like he has to prove himself, Derek said, “Oh all the time. ‘Cause I’m the only one in t here. So I’m kinda representin’, you know, almost like my w hole race in the class . . . I just feel like a lot of Black engineers, um, they don’t really make it out. They switch their major, and so teachers, um, maybe they d on’t have a lot of Black students, and so their opinions of Black students w ill be based on me.” Both Desia and Derek have something to prove to themselves, but the driving factors are different. For Desia, her need to “prove wrong” stems from wanting to continue her reputation of success from her high school years and also not wanting to let her family down. It is less about the perceptions that her White peers or professors might have about her. For Derek, he is explicitly linking his need to prove something wrong to what he perceives his professors might think about him. His perception that he has to represent all Black people through his class engagement and performance is another way in which racial battle fatigue manifests itself in predominantly White learning spaces. Yet t hese students w ill not be moved, and they continue to persist despite the environmental racism that leaves them susceptible to a psychological and behavioral dance in the learning context.
Students’ Advice on Degree Persistence In the spirit of lifting up the voices of these talented Black students, I asked them what advice they would give to other African American students who are trying to persist in an engineering major. Not surprisingly, students gave tips that would support much of what existing literat ure states for Black students learning in predominantly White spaces. Derek suggests seeking the right resources and surrounding yourself with other students “who may 134 Dorinda J. Carter Andrews
not be Black and maybe came from a more prepared high school and can teach you something.” Derek feels he did not get the adequate math and science preparation at the high school level that he needed to begin his freshman year strong. Thus, he believes that while fictive kinship with same-race peers is necessary while pursuing an engineering degree, there are other students in a degree program who can be helpful, who may not share the same racial background but have a wealth of knowledge in STEM areas and/ or strategies for academic success. Befriend them and learn from each other. David had similar comments, suggesting that students “find someone who is goal-oriented, motivated, they know what they want to achieve” and develop a friendship with them. Jasmine recommends not letting underperformance in one class dissuade you from persisting in a major. Desia recommends joining an organization. “Find a group of people, even if it’s just in one of your classes. People have different ways of thinking about things that could help you. Find other p eople in your major to help support your success.” When asked to provide advice for engineering professors on how to assist their Black students with persistence in engineering, most students suggested, “Make students feel welcomed.” Derek said, “Bestow upon students the passion you have for engineering.”
Concluding Thoughts ese individual conversations were enlightening regarding the Th students’ experiences persisting as Black STEM-major students. While they do experience racial microaggressions and are susceptible to the pressure to prove something to themselves and o thers, students also find support in what they perceive to be a generally inclusive culture and climate within the College of Engineering through its programs and the university’s student organizations that are STEM focused. While several of the students did not have an immediate family member with a STEM background, they all cited their parents and families to be a source of motivation for them and to be fully supportive of their degree completion. They Shall Not Be Moved 135
My conversations with t hese five students underscore the continued need for universities and colleges of engineering to continue to identify ways to address students’ experiences with racial microaggressions and susceptibility to stereot ype threat and the “prove wrong” construct. Additionally, institutions need to better understand the role of pipeline programs in helping Black students be better prepared to be successful in an engineering major not just through a six-week summer intensive program but also through university-school partnerships that begin as early as elementary school and focus on cultivating STEM c areer identities in Black youth. It is instructive for us to examine existing partnerships that do this well to create more opportunities for more youth throughout the nation. Lastly, we cannot continue to overlook the larger culture of engineering that perpetuates oppressive epistemologies, pedagogies, and practices rooted in eugenics and White supremacist ideals. This culture is a toxic part of the fabric of higher education institutions and is harmful to the overall vitality and success of Black engineering students. The negative implications for engineering students who are persisting while Black will remain if colleges, programs, and individuals do not identify policies and practices that support the full humanity of Black students. Based on the voices and experiences of the STEM majors that I interviewed, the following recommendations, if followed, can ensure that Black students who are pursuing STEM degrees flourish in their college experiences as trees planted by the water, with roots extending out: • Early introduction to STEM courses in middle and high school contribute to students’ preparedness for college majors and help build their confidence and self-efficacy for success. K–12 practi tioners and school leaders need to ensure that Black students have access to opportunities to enroll in courses that cultivate their interests in engineering and help sustain that interest. Working with students and families to ensure students know what options are available to them in their schools and communities is central to preparedness for success in a STEM major. 136 Dorinda J. Carter Andrews
• Students’ participation in STEM clubs and organizations at the K–12 level also helps build confidence and self-efficacy for students. Utilizing these institutional structures as a way to engage Black students with Black community members who are already in the field in their major is paramount. Black students need to see and talk to individuals who look like them and are excelling professionally in a STEM career. Clubs and organ izations at the K–12 level can help build students’ social and cultural capital and foster networks for success as STEM majors. • Summer bridge programs have proven successful for helping Black students acclimate to college life by experiencing coursework and inclusive programming that helps them learn how to navigate the college process and even their major field. College and universities need to continue to partner with local high schools to build effective bridge programs that allow Black students to gain the skills that are necessary and sufficient for their success. • Higher education institutions need to ensure that affinity groups exist for Black students on campus, and that students have adequate information about programming that supports their healthy development while pursuing a STEM degree. Further, universities must be intentional about having individuals and offices in place that are committed to ensuring that all students learn in a welcoming, equitable, and discrimination-free climate. • College instructors and professors need training that helps them understand the ways that “prove them wrong,” racial microaggressions, and other toxic concepts manifest as a result of and in relation to their behaviors in the classroom. Further, faculty need to establish professional learning communities amongst themselves to ensure accountability toward implementing culturally relevant and responsive pedagogies and practices in STEM classrooms.
While this list is not exhaustive, the recommendations that I have provided shed some insights on steps that can be taken to They Shall Not Be Moved 137
ensure the success of Black STEM majors on their trajectory from K–12 to postsecondary education. If adults can commit to strengths- based approaches to supporting Black students’ persistence in STEM majors, students w ill not be moved.
Notes 1. To learn more about the Challenge Program, see http://omed.gatech .edu /content /challenge-0.
2. For more information about the ESSA, see https://w ww.egr.msu.edu /dpo/programs/essa.
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7 Determinants of Mental Health and Career Trajectories Rationale and Design of the Engineering and Computing Doctoral Experiences Survey (ECDES) ebony o. mcgee, william h. robinson, dara naphan-k ingery, stacey houston ii, and gabriela león-p érez
Two African American researchers, one who is an associate professor in engineering and mathematics education and one who is a professor in electrical engineering, joined forces to investigate the institutional, technical, social, and cultural factors that affect decision-making, c areer choices, and career satisfaction of doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty from engineering and computing who have been marginalized by race and/or gender. We also examine the ways those factors contribute to the current underrepresentation of these marginalized groups in engineering and computing faculty positions. We pay special attention to increasing the numbers of Black faculty in these positions due to the history of their gross underrepresentat ion. Our research, funded by the National Science Foundation and Vanderbilt University, began with a multifaceted approach toward understanding the challenges for Black engineering and
computing doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty, and was later expanded to investigate the doctoral experiences and c areer decision-making of engineering and computing doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers of all racial backgrounds. We began the current investigation with a comprehensive institutional analysis, based on data from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE Data Mining Tool, 1998–2018), of over 350 colleges and universities, collecting data such as the race of all the doctoral students, the rank and gender of engineering faculty, and the number of Black engineering PhDs produced. We conducted 130 extensive individual and focus group interviews with doctoral students/candidates and postdoctoral researchers, as well as with engineering faculty, engineering administrators, and minority program directors representing a variety of institutions across the country. As a result of our preliminary findings, we directly addressed the lack of participation of Black scholars in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty positions by developing a mentoring web portal—the Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative (EDEFI): http:// blackengineeringphd.org—that provides on-demand videos from faculty on the topics of race and race-gender dynamics in academia. Finally, we conducted the Engineering and Computing Doctoral Experiences Survey (ECDES), a national survey of doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars in engineering and computing of all races and genders. The ECDES is designed to examine several key factors, including (a) the c areer trajectories, (b) the role of mentoring in advising, teaching, and research experiences, and (c) the m ental health and well-being of engineering doctoral students, doctoral candidates, and postdoctoral scholars, as well as (d) their sentiments about becoming faculty members. The purpose of this chapter is twofold: (1) to highlight the importance of a survey that measures racial disparities and the impact on underrepresented p eople of color in these academic disciplines, and (2) to describe the design
Mental Health and Career Trajectorie 141
and construction of our survey and the methodology followed to collect the data. The organization of the chapter is as follows: Section 2 provides context for the historical underrepresentation of racial and ethnic groups within the disciplines of engineering and computing. Section 3 introduces the ECDES as the instrument designed to investigate the underlying factors that affect mental health and career trajectories of doctoral students. Section 4 describes the procedures used for implementing the ECDES, including the characteristics of the participants and the sampling methodology. Section 5 describes the measurement capabilities of the ECDES. Finally, Section 6 concludes the chapter and describes f uture contributions enabled by the ECDES.
Racial/Ethnic Underrepresentation in Engineering and Computing Departments Increased diversity w ill not only improve the quality of engineering and computing design, but can also benefit populations that are often devalued or underserved. Th ere have been numerous intervention programs to diversify the fields of engineering and computing, but, despite t hese efforts, gross disparities still exist in doctoral enrollment rates and degree attainment of students of color. Black students are among the most underrepresented of all racial and ethnic groups. For example, out of 70,026 full-time students enrolled in engineering doctoral programs in the United States in 2017, only 1,150 (1.6 percent) were Black (Yoder, 2017). In terms of degree attainment, only 196 (1.7 percent) of all engineering doctoral degree recipients in 2017 were Black (Yoder, 2017). Their underrepresentation in the field of computing is even more severe—in 2017, only 1.1 percent of doctoral degrees in computer science, computer engineering, and information where awarded to Black students (Zweben & Bizot, 2018). Black graduate students are also the most underrepresented of all racial and ethnic groups at research universities with very high research activity, which are institutions with the largest research infrastructures and often the 142 Ebony O. McGee et al.
greatest level of support for graduate students (Okahana, Feaster, & Allum, 2016). The underrepresentation of Black students in engineering and computing doctoral programs is further paralleled by underrepre sentation of Blacks in the faculty ranks. While there have been concerted national efforts to promote diversity among engineering and computing faculty for more than forty years (e.g., see Chubin, May, & Babco, 2005), most institutions still do not reflect societal demographics among their faculty. The total number of tenured and tenure-track engineering faculty in the United States increased by 12 percent from 2009 to 2017 (Gibbons, 2009; Yoder, 2017), yet this increase was not reflected in all racial/ethnic groups. For example, the percentage of tenured and tenure-t rack Black engineering faculty decreased from 2.5 percent in 2009 to 2.3 percent in 2017, the lowest it has been in a decade (Gibbons, 2009; Yoder, 2017). The proportion of tenured and tenure-track Latinx1 faculty remained relatively unchanged, going from 3.5 percent in 2009 to 3.9 percent in 2017. In comparison, the representation of tenured and tenure-track Asian faculty increased from 23.3 percent to 26.9 percent during the same period (Gibbons, 2009; Yoder, 2017). Similar patterns of underrepresentation are observed in the field of computing. In 2017, Blacks accounted for only 1.9 percent of all computing faculty in the United States (Zweben & Bizot, 2018). This pattern of underrepresentation is even more apparent at the institutional level. Specifically, the percentage of institutions with at least 5 percent Black faculty decreased from 12.3 percent in 2008 to 10.6 percent in 2015 (Yoder, 2017). Faculty members play crucial and multifaceted roles in the engineering and computing profession, helping to discover, promote, and disseminate advancements in technology as well as engage in capacity building by training a future workforce of multicultural, multiracial engineers. They are critical in diversifying the field because they serve as role models and evidence that successful engineering careers are possible (Griffin et al., 2010; Bettinger & Long, 2005). Thus, the presence or absence of racially underrepresented engineering and computing faculty can affect Mental Health and Career Trajectorie 143
the recruitment, training, and success of students of color for generations. There is evidence that Black students are substantially more likely than White and Asian students to lose interest in faculty careers while earning their doctorates (Gibbs et al., 2014). Th ose who do pursue academic c areers tend to become frustrated and even leave academia due to the barriers they encounter, such as becoming mired in an uncertain tenure process (Diggs et al., 2009). A recent study revealed that younger cohorts of faculty in STEM fields tend to be more diverse than their more senior counter parts—but this increased diversity does not include Black faculty. In other words, younger cohorts in the STEM fields have similar numbers of Black faculty than older cohorts (Li & Koedel, 2017). This incongruity of access to science and engineering education and employment is not generated in a social vacuum, but rather is patterned by multifaceted, sociohistorical legacies of power and privilege or the lack thereof. In this context, we set out to learn about the experiences of Black engineering and computing doctoral students and assess w hether these experiences help to explain the low numbers of Black faculty in t hose fields.
the engineering and computing doctoral experiences survey The ECDES, funded by the National Science Foundation, is a study of doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars of all races and genders in the fields of engineering and computer science. The ECDES is one research element of the research group, EDEFI (pronounced “edify”), which investigates the institutional, technical, social, and cultural factors that affect decision-making, career choices, and career satisfaction for engineering and computing doctoral students, doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty who have been marginalized by race and/or gender. EDEFI also looks at the ways in which those factors contribute to the current under-representation of these marginalized groups in engineering and computing faculty positions. EDEFI pays special attention to increasing the numbers of Black faculty in these positions. 144 Ebony O. McGee et al.
The goal of the ECDES is to examine the factors in the career decision-making of engineering doctoral students, doctoral candidates, and postdoctoral researchers, with a special emphasis on understanding the racialized and race-gender experiences of underrepresented groups of color. Further, we seek to explore the role of institutional characteristics, professional development experiences, and health status in the participants’ decisions about pursuing a career in the professoriate.
Conceptual Framework Figure 7.1 provides an overview of the conceptual framework guiding this research effort, which relates doctoral student characteristics and experiences to health outcomes and c areer trajectories. Racial/ethnic identity is foundational to our conceptual model. Specifically, we intend to explore how the relationships among personal characteristics, doctoral experiences, institutional characteristics, c areer trajectories, and mental health might vary depending on one’s race/ethnicity. In our framework, participant characteristics impact the experiences of postdoctoral researchers and doctoral students in engineering and computing departments. The specific experiences of focus interest are discriminatory experiences and professional socialization, both of which have known impacts on the success of STEM graduate students, as well as students in the education system more broadly. The main outcomes of interest are mental health outcomes and career trajectories. However, it is our hypothesis that mental health, as shaped by participant characteristics and participant experiences, is an important factor in participants’ consideration for where they envision their future selves. Variables that make up the participant outcomes component of the survey are thus designed to stand alone as key dependent variables, and the m ental health variables, specifically, are expected to serve in a mediating capacity. Doctoral students from underrepresented groups are faced with additional stressors that do not restrain their majority-group peers. Mental Health and Career Trajectorie 145
Participant Characteristics SES Age Sex Nativity Family structure Year in program Educational history Professional Socialization Teaching experience Research experience Academic activity
Interpersonal Relationships Mentoring Faculty advisement Social support
Career Trajectories Preparation for, attraction to, and likelihood of seeking careers in higher education, industry, nonprofits, government
Mental Health Outcomes Anxiety Mastery Life satisfaction
fig. 7.1. Framework Relating Doctoral Student Characteristics and Experiences to Health Outcomes and Career Trajectories
Race/Ethnicity and Ethnic Identification
Discrimination Racial discrimination Gender discrimination Heightened vigilance
Institutional Characteristics Level of research activity; institution type; department faculty and student demographics
Therefore, we also seek to assess quantitatively the role that race plays in the complex pathways to the professoriate. Finally, institutional characteristics serve three purposes in our conceptual framework: (1) they serve as important, independent predictors of participant experiences (i.e., discrimination and socialization); (2) they serve as key, independent predictors of participant outcomes (i.e., mental health and career trajectories); and (3) they serve as moderators in the relationships among participant characteristics, participant experiences, and participant outcomes. The inclusion of variables that measure intuitional characteristics reflects our assertion that context matters.
Sampling, Recruitment, and Data Collection Procedures Our goal was to collect data from 1,000 participants from institutions across the United States. Survey construction began in the spring of 2014 with reviewing literature and collecting instruments. From the fall of 2014 u ntil the first data collection period, the survey was iteratively tested and revised among samples of engineering and computing doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers. Due to administrative constraints and in order to maintain participant confidentiality, the sampling frame was created at the institutional level rather than the student level. To obtain this sample, we used information from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Engineering Data Management System (ASEE, 1998–2018) to create a list of all U.S. engineering institutions with at least five full-time graduate students enrolled in the year 2015. This resulted in a total population of 200 institutions with over 65,000 doctoral students. A fter we obtained this list, the survey responses were solicited in two waves. For the first wave of data collection, which was distributed in February of 2016, invitations to participate and information about completing the online survey were sent to the administrative personnel of fifteen randomly selected institutions and ten purposively sampled institutions with which one of the authors had existing professional relationships. The second wave Mental Health and Career Trajectorie 147
was distributed to another random sample of twenty-five institutions in January of 2017. All but two institutions agreed to participate. The administrative personnel from the participating institutions then forwarded the information about the survey to the doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers in their departments. While we were not able to directly control which students received an invitation to participate in the survey, based on ASEE enrollment data, we estimate that approximately five p ercent of all students enrolled in the sampled institutions agreed to participate and responded to the online survey. Student emails w ere collected to distribute $15 gift cards and to enter the participants into a raffle that awarded Apple Watches to the winners. However, to ensure anonymity, the names w ere separated from the survey material.
sample characteristics A total of 1,587 doctoral students and 62 postdoctoral researchers from 65 different colleges and universities participated in the study. Roughly 81 percent of respondents (1,031) completed at least 75 percent of the survey items. Table 7.1 presents a summary of the participants’ characteristics. For the purposes of this chapter, we are focusing on the doctoral students only. Seventeen p ercent of participants w ere from an under represented minority group, 41 percent w ere non-Latinx White, 31 percent were Asian, and 11 percent identified as other race or multiracial. Among these underrepresented minority students, more than half w ere Black, 46 percent identified as Latinx (any race), and 1 percent were American Indian or Alaska Natives. Forty-eight percent of all participants were born outside of the United States. Over a third of the sample w ere women. The mean age of participants was twenty-eight years. Almost half of participants were born outside of the United States, more than a third were married or living with a partner, and 10 percent had children under eighteen years old. Almost 60 percent of participants indicated that their personal incomes in 2015 w ere less than $25,000. Our sample represents a wide range of family socioeconomic backgrounds. Participants were asked about their families’ incomes 148 Ebony O. McGee et al.
Table 7.1 Participant Characteristics (N = 1,032) Race/Ethnicity Underrepresented minority Black Latinx American Indian/Alaska Native White Asian Multiracial/Other
19.6% 11.4% 7.6% 0.6% 42.5% 32.8% 5.2%
Age, mean (s.d.)
Non U.S. citizen
Married/Living with partner
Have c hildren under 18
Personal income in 2015 Less than $25,000 $25,000–$49,999 $50,000 or more
57.0% 35.4% 7.6%
amily income during high school F Less than $25,000 $25,000–$49,999 $50,000 or more
28.5% 20.2% 51.3%
Mother’s education High school or less Some college Bachelor’s degree Graduate/Professional degree
22.9% 15.9% 33.6% 26.8%
Father’s education High school or less Some college Bachelor’s degree Graduate/Professional degree
20.5% 11.7% 28.6% 37.9%
First-generation college student
Attended community or junior college
Year in the PhD program First year Second year Third year Fourth year Fifth year or more
28.6% 19.0% 18.6% 13.7% 20.0%
when they were in high school. While almost a quarter of respondents’ parents had high school education or less, more than 60 percent had parents with bachelor’s degrees or higher. In terms of their previous educational experiences, 14 percent of the participants were first-generation college students, and 13 percent attended community or junior colleges. Finally, almost half of participants were in the first or second year of their PhD program; the rest were in their third year or beyond.
survey mea sures Given the overall goal of the ECDES—to examine race and gender variation in the experiences and career decision-making of doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers—the survey includes a host of measures to help paint a vivid picture. In this section, we highlight the various components of the survey instrument, as well as specific questions and constructs within each component. A summary of the measures included in the ECDES and relevant citations appear in Table 7.2. The section is organized to reflect our conceptual framework (Figure 7.1).
participant characteristics The online survey includes items that capture participants’ demographic characteristics, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, nativity, family structure, year in program, educational background, and socioeconomic status (SES). Within socioeconomic status, the survey includes indicators of childhood SES, which are important predictors of adult well-being (Cohen et al., 2010), as well as current SES. These demographic characteristics w ill serve as control variables in analyses, as well as important independent and moderating variables in analyses predicting participant experiences and participant outcomes.
participant experiences Professional Socialization. Defined as “the processes through which individuals gain the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for successful entry into a professional career requiring an advanced 150 Ebony O. McGee et al.
Table 7.2 Summary of Domains Assessed in the Survey and Instruments Used domain
Mental Health Inventory, short version (MIH-5)
Berwick et al., 1991
Perceived Stress Scale
Life satisfaction Mastery
Satisfaction with Life Scale Mastery Scale
Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983 Diener et al., 1985
Mentoring Functions Scale
Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure Revised Stereo type Vulnerability Scale (SVS)
Everyday Discrimination Scale
Williams et al., 1997
Racism-Related Vigilance Scale
Campus Climate Scale
Clark et al., 2006 (developed by David R. Williams for the 1995 Detroit Area Study) 2013–2014 Higher Education Research Institute (HERI)— Campus Climate Module
Stereot ype threat
Pearlin et al., 1981
Woodcock et al., 2012
Assessment of several domains of m ental health, including depression, anxiety, and affective disorders Extent to which life situations are regarded as stressful Assessment of global life satisfaction Extent to which one’s life chances are regarded as being under one’s own control Extent to which mentors are regarded as providing career and psychosocial functions Degree of identification with one’s ethnic group Captures feelings of being at risk of conforming to stereot ypes about their social group Captures experiences of interpersonal discrimination that are chronic but usually minor Extent to which individuals engage in activities to protect themselves from potential experiences of discrimination Measures feelings about the campus climate relative to race, gender, and sexual orientation
level of specialized knowledge and skills” (Weidman, Twale, & Stein, 2001, p. iii), professional socialization is intended to foster the development and acclimation of doctoral students into the roles associated with the discipline (McGaskey, 2012). Through the doctoral education process, students are socialized to further their ability to solve societal and technological problems as f uture faculty members (Gardner, 2008a, 2008b; Boud & Lee, 2009; McGee et al., 2016). Our survey measures professional socialization and development in three domains: (1) mentoring and advising, (2) teaching and research experiences, and (3) scholarly activities. Mentoring relationships with faculty provide graduate students with psychosocial (i.e., counseling) and instrumental (i.e., career guidance) support that enables them to navigate the academic environment and helps them become a part of a disciplinary community (Noe, 1988; George & Neale, 2006). In the ECDES, we ask a host of questions about mentoring and compare it to advising. For both, the survey includes measures of mentoring quantity (i.e., number of mentors), characteristics (i.e., same sex or ethnicity as participants), as well as quality. We also include a measure of mentoring support adapted from Dreher and Ash’s (1990) scale that was originally developed to measure mentoring in work settings. In general, faculty are often drawn to their positions due to their enjoyment and capacity in teaching and research activities. Therefore, teaching and research experiences can figure prominently in faculty members’ attitudes t oward t hese activities and in their pursuit of the professoriate (Lindholm, 2004). We hypothesize that the same is true of doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers during their training, and that teaching and research experience w ill predict greater interest in academic faculty positions. A section in the ECDES is dedicated to capturing participants’ teaching and research activity, including w hether they have (1) taught lab or discussion sections, (2) served as a teaching assistant in a science or engineering course, or (3) taught their own STEM course as an instructor of record. Their engagement in research activity is also captured, including, for example, w hether 152 Ebony O. McGee et al.
participants have personally designed or conducted original research projects, presented original research at an academic research conference, or served as a peer reviewer for a scientific journal. In addition to teaching and research experience, other scholarly activities, such as publishing, engagement in original research, conference attendance, receipt of research awards—all of which we query in the ECDES—a re important factors to consider when assessing c areer interests. Roach & Sauermann (2010) found that PhD scientists w ere more attracted to academic trajectories when they had “a taste for science,” which includes valuing research autonomy, authoring publications and presenting research at conferences, collaborating with o thers outside of one’s institution, and receiving peer recognition. Students from racially minoritized groups, as well as w omen with the necessary academic ability, may leave STEM fields if they experience chilly academic contexts rife with barriers that diminish their perceptions of success in such environments (Seymour & Hewitt, 1997; Ong et al., 2011). However, positive mentoring experiences, constructive professional socialization, and academic activity—interrelated factors that we classify under “professional development”—can moderate the negative impact of discrimination on mental health (Williams & Williams-Morris, 2000; Pascoe & Richman, 2009; Robinson et al., 2016). Discriminatory Experiences. As shown in our conceptual model, it is likely that negative experiences based on racism2 and discrimination can decrease satisfaction with PhD programs and interest in an engineering or computing career, particularly the professoriate. We capture discriminatory experiences in the educational lives of marginalized students through several measures of discrimination and responses to discrimination. Everyday discrimination refers to recurrent indignities and irritations or “chronic, routine, and relatively minor experiences of unfair treatment” (Williams et al., 1997, p. 340). The ECDES includes one of the most widely used measures of discrimination: Mental Health and Career Trajectorie 153
the Everyday Discrimination Scale. This scale was developed by David Williams and colleagues (1997) to capture experiences of interpersonal discrimination that are chronic but usually minor. The ECDES includes the follow-up questions that probe the perceived reasons for experiencing discrimination. Additionally, several questions about gender discrimination experienced at participants’ current institutions are asked, including questions about the individual who committed the acts of gender discrimination. A similar concept, racial microaggressions, was developed to explain a subtly present but persistent and cumulative form of racism that has transformed over the generations from overt and blatant forms to more covert, indirect, restrained, and ambiguous demonstrations, which greatly impact the lives of African American people and other persons of color. Microaggressions, both within and beyond the classroom, can have cumulative effects that contribute to self-doubt, frustration, and isolation, leaving students feeling both invisible and hyper-v isible, as their experiences are omitted, distorted, invalidated, and stereot yped. Stereot ype threat, which captures feelings of being at risk of conforming to negative stereot ypes about their social group, is measured using the seven-item Revised Stereot ype Threat Vulnerability Scale (Woodcock et al., 2012). Heightened vigilance is measured using the Racism-Related Vigilance Scale3 (McNeilly et al., 1995), which captures the extent to which individuals engage in activities to protect themselves from potential experiences of discrimination. Lastly, the survey includes a measure of campus climate that was adapted from the Higher Education Research Institute’s Faculty Survey—Campus Climate Module. This mea sure captures the extent to which their institution is welcoming to individuals from minoritized backgrounds.
participant outcomes ental Health Outcomes. Understanding the general m M ental health and well-being of doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers is impor tant because untreated mental health prob lems are a 154 Ebony O. McGee et al.
significant contributor to attrition from graduate school (Turner & Barry, 2000). The ECDES includes several measures of psychological well-being, including life satisfaction (Diener et al., 1985), perceived stress (Cohen, Kamarck, and Mermelestein, 1983), mastery (Pearlin et al., 1981), and m ental health inventory: MHI-5 (Berwick et. al, 1991). In addition, we asked participants about their use of psychological counseling serv ices during their doctoral training, including the reasons for service utilization. Doctoral students’ overall mental health, measured by various indicators such as life satisfaction, perceived stress, and mastery, predicts their per sistence in their programs (Turner & Barry, 2000) and is also likely to be positively associated with c areer decisions to remain in the academy professionally. Career Trajectories. Given that the ultimate goal of the ECDES is to understand the f actors influencing the career decision-making of engineering doctoral students, doctoral candidates, and postdoctoral researchers, variables that mea sure the participants’ career aspirations are the heart of the survey. The plethora of questions on future career plans is intentional in the sense that they are meant to capture the multitude of ways that students weigh their c areer options. Specifically, participants rate their likelihood of pursuing c areers in several fields immediately following completion of their (post)doctoral programs, including private industry, entrepreneurship, government agencies, nonprofit organization, K–12 education, and higher education. They are asked separately about the attractiveness of c areers in these fields, putting job availability aside. Th ese questions are intended to gauge the participants’ career intentions in the context of several options available to them. Participants also indicate the preferred geographic locations for their next career, which may indicate the extent to which some students limit themselves based on geographic preference. Several questions focus specifically on faculty careers. Changes in faculty c areer desires can be abstracted from two questions: one that asks participants to think about their openness to pursuing faculty c areers when they first entered graduate school and another, Mental Health and Career Trajectorie 155
which asks about their current openness. The survey also includes a set of questions that considers when students might be considering the professoriate as career option (i.e., as their next c areer move or at some point in their career). In addition to the general willingness to pursue faculty c areers and timing, participants are also asked about the factors that would make an academic institution attractive (e.g., availability of funding, minority serving institution status, prestige), and they are asked to list up to three institutions to which they might consider applying, including the likelihood that they would realistically be considered for the positions at each institution. Th ese measures of f uture career plans provide multiple ways of assessing whether and to what extent participants are considering faculty positions. For example, it may be the case the students of color are open to faculty positions. However, the attractiveness and availability of positions in other industries outweigh that openness.
institutional characteristics Institutional context plays an important role in shaping the experiences and outcomes of doctoral students. For example, the participation in teaching and research activities depends on the availability of t hese opportunities, which can be influenced by the institution that our participants are attending. To capture the role of context, we appended institutional data to our survey data. The two key variables that we included were institution type and department demographics. To obtain this information, the ECDES data w ere merged with data obtained from the ASEE Engineering Data Management System (ASEE, 1998–2018) as well as Carnegie classifications (“Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education,” n.d.). Our results revealed that 79 percent of engineering doctoral recipients graduated from “R1” universities characterized by “very high research activity,” and the remaining 21 percent graduated from “R2” universities characterized by “high research activity” (National Science Board, 2016). A majority of engineering doctoral
156 Ebony O. McGee et al.
students attend research-intensive universities where external funding is the principal guarantee of promotion and tenure because it increases the institutions’ available funds (Greene & Van Kuren, 1997). Thus, many engineering doctoral students may witness firsthand many of their professors and advisors’ preoccupation with securing funding for research, while de-prioritizing socialization and preparation for other faculty responsibilities, such as teaching and serv ice (Wulf & Fisher, 2002; Linse et al., 2004), which could discourage their pursuit of an academic c areer. The demographic makeup of engineering departments—an immediately obvious characteristic when students first matriculate— might also influence students’ career choices. According to Kanter (1977), the relationship between members of a minority group and the majority group are qualitatively different depending on their numerical proportions. Initially, individuals from minority groups, including Blacks, Latinx individuals, Native Americans, and women, are so few in numbers that they serve as “tokens” and are treated as prototypical representatives of their social group, not as individuals (Kanter, 1977). At a certain point, minority group members achieve a “critical mass” (typically 15 percent), at which point they are visibly noticeable and can wield greater influence in decisions affecting the group (Beutel & Nelson, 2005). Note that simply attaining a critical mass through greater recruitment efforts, however, does not ensure that minority group members w ill receive better treatment.
race/ethnicity and ethnic identification In addition to the standard measure of self-identified race, the ECDES also includes a measure of ethnic identity. Specifically, the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) (Phinney, 1992), which measures the degree of identification with one’s ethnic group, is included in the survey. As the name suggests, the MEIM is designed to be used with multiple ethnic groups. Though original racial group identity measures were designed to be used with a single racial group, extant literat ure that uses single racial
Mental Health and Career Trajectorie 157
group identity measures highlights the importance of including a similar measure in the ECDES. Extant theoretical and empirical work in psychology, sociology, and social psychology has demonstrated links between racial identity and positive psychosocial adaptation (Cross, 1991; DuBois, 1973; Sellers et al., 1997; Sellers et al., 1998). Although research in this area is still emerging, it is generally accepted that a less salient Black racial identity is associated with poorer outcomes, whereas a strong and positive group affiliation is related to more positive outcomes (Chavous et al., 2003; Oyserman, 2008; Sellers, 1993). Racial identity is also based on one’s perception that an individual shares a common racial heritage with a particular racial group (Cross, 1991; Helms, 1990; Sellers et al., 1997). The literat ure on racial identity development among Black students also suggests that realistic beliefs about race play a protective role in their lives. Students who identify strongly with their racial group are better able to negotiate potentially negative environments, deal with discrimination and prejudice, and have high self-esteem (Bowman & Howard, 1985; Harpalani, 2002; Rowley & Moore, 2002; Sanders, 1997). Our conceptual model (see Figure 7.1) may suggest that we are treating race as an independent variable that somehow influences all of the other f actors in the model. However, conceptualizing race as an independent, causal variable is problematic because it is not the individuals’ racial identity per se that impacts their doctoral experiences and outcomes, but rather societal reactions to perceptions of an individual’s race (or gender) (Holland, 2008). Rather, we will be testing the interactions of the participants’ self-reported race or ethnicity with the various factors in predicting our outcome measures.
Conclusion Diversity has become a top priority in many engineering and computing colleges and departments across the country. However, many organizations have failed to reflect societal demographics
158 Ebony O. McGee et al.
within their student and faculty ranks. The purpose of this chapter was to describe the rationale and methodology for the ECDES, a survey funded by the National Science Foundation. The ECDES was developed to assess the experiences and career plans of doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers in engineering and computing. The original survey instrument captures personal, institutional, and departmental characteristics; racial and ethnic identification; experiences of discrimination during the doctoral program; and professional socialization. Moving forward, we w ill assess how these factors relate to career aspirations and trajectories (e.g., attraction to and likelihood of a c areer in the professoriate, ideal post-PhD residential locations) and to mental health outcomes (e.g., depressive symptoms). We w ill also explore mediators and moderators of t hese relationships. Ultimately, we aim to gain a better understanding of the c areer trajectories of Black PhDs and postdoctoral researchers in engineering and computing, and tap into the technical, societal, and cultural influences that impact their career decision-making. Research findings from this survey w ill shed light on the experiences of Black doctoral students, the barriers that they face during their graduate tenure, and how t hese f actors inform their f uture plans. For example, while mentorship is a critical mechanism for professional development that can socialize students into a career in the professoriate (Noe, 1988; George & Neale, 2006), the ECDES w ill help to determine w hether some participants benefit more from this resource than others. Moreover, findings w ill have practical implications for doctoral programs by providing evidence- based guidance regarding issues that need to be addressed within departments in order to foster retention of Black graduate students and other students of color, as well as to facilitate their transition into academic c areers. Increasing the retention and persistence of underrepresented groups in the professoriate should include strategies that have the potential for reducing the detrimental effects of racialized stressors in academe.
Mental Health and Career Trajectorie 159
Acknowledgments This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers EEC-1361025 and EEC-1444908. We also want to recognize Dasom Lee for her contributions to this chapter.
Notes 1. We use “Latinx” to decenter the patriarchal nature of and gender
binary within the terms “Latino” and “Latina” and to cover all the LGBTQ+ possibilities.
2. Marable (1992) defined racism as “a system of ignorance, exploitation, and power used to oppress African-A mericans, Latino/as, Asians,
Pacific Americans, American Indians and other people on the basis of ethnicity, culture, mannerisms, and color” (p. 5).
3. Originally developed by David R. Williams for the 1995 Detroit area study.
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The Way Forward for Students, Faculty, and Institutions: Strategies for STEM Success
8 Lessons from PreK–12 to Support Black Students in STEM Higher Education h. richard milner iv and abiola farinde-wu
In this chapter, we highlight some of the pressing raced1 and racialized issues and challenges that Black students face in preK–12 educational systems that can shed light on their experiences in STEM higher education. In the simplest argument, Black2 students tend to be grossly underserved in the entire preK–20 educational system (Howard, 2010; Irvine, 1990; Milner, 2010, 2015). For instance, research shows that many economically disadvantaged Black youth attend overcrowded, dilapidated urban schools that are poorly funded, have fewer resources, and possess fewer highly qualified teachers (Kozol, 2005; Milner, 2015; Zeichner, 2003). Ultimately, this chapter calls for greater attention to the preK–12 pipeline; we need to study and know more about how Black students’ experiences and realities in preK–12 can influence their capacity, experiences, and outcomes in STEM higher education domain(s). Indeed, academicians and practitioners are not necessarily “talking” across the educational literature bases, but we argue they should be. According to the National Research Council (2011), in 2006 underrepresented student groups comprised 28.5 percent of the U.S. national population, but only 9.1 percent of college-educated 169
science and engineering professionals. This percentage is disconcerting because in higher education, studies suggest that perceived or a ctual issues of discrimination and racism can make it difficult for Black students to engage on campus in ways that their White peers are able to (Cleveland, 2004; Harper, 2015), and their racialization is particularly acute in STEM campus environments. Students of color may feel unwelcomed and isolated on predominantly White campuses due to structural forms of racism. Th ese racialized issues that Black students experience in STEM environments have been conceptualized as racial microaggressions (Sue & Constantine, 2007), stereot ype threat (Steele & Aronson, 1995), and racial taxing that can lead to racial battle fatigue (Smith, Yosso, & Solórzano, 2006). Further, McKinney de Royston and Farinde (2018) argued that in many educational contexts race operates as a master category that perpetuates a racial storyline that “science is for White people” (p. 204). Uncomfortable, unwelcoming, stressful, and hostile STEM environments can take a toll on students of color and cause health challenges and wellness issues that may result in talented students of color making decisions to protect their m ental health by dropping out of STEM majors (McGee & Stovall, 2015). The American Council on Education (ACE) (2005) found that many African American students received STEM degrees after six years at lower rates than their White and Asian counterparts. Although students across racial and ethnic backgrounds have challenges in college, McGee and Stovall (2015) maintained that surviving and thriving academically despite multiple encounters with racism or stereotyping may require a different type of resolve than do typical college student struggles like balancing work and class or overcoming difficult assignments. Confronted by racism, many Black college students find it difficult, if not impossible, to gradu ate from STEM college programs. Because students of color are disproportionately underrepresented in STEM fields, it is imperative that lessons are learned, and actions are taken to ensure that all racial-ethnic groups contribute their perspectives and skillsets
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to STEM advancement. Indeed, Riegle-Crumb and King (2010) declared that “the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are inextricably linked to national economic prosperity and innovation, occupying an esteemed status in the public eye. Participation in STEM has traditionally been the domain of White males, and correspondingly, researchers have long been interested in the topic of equity in STEM, examining how and why certain groups have more or less access, opportunity, and success in the educational trajectories leading to STEM occupations . . . From a social justice perspective, gender and racial/ethnic disparities in STEM fields represent a troubling instance of stratification” (p. 656). STEM higher education settings can be challenging spaces for Black students due to structural, systemic, institutional forms of racism, and we need to know more about their experiences in schools prior to their entry into college to develop support systems for them. In her compelling book, Black Students and School Failure, Irvine (1990) described persistent neglect and under-preparedness of schools to support Black students. Although conventional wisdom would suggest that Black students themselves are underperforming in preK–12 and postsecondary schools in the areas of STEM, a closer, more critical and nuanced analysis would suggest that it is the educational system(s) themselves that are not meeting the complex needs of particular students (McGee & Pearman, 2014) perhaps because the educational system is designed to reify cultural practices and ways of knowing of the White majority (Milner, 2015). Below, we frame three interrelated issues—what we outline here as imperatives—that are underexplored in higher education as analytic spaces to make sense of challenges Black students face in college. Th ese imperatives are framed to address a range of issues as they especially intersect with race and Black students in par tic u lar: (1) disproportionality in punishment and missed learning opportunities; (2) racially and culturally disaligned learning opportunities; and (3) under-nuanced discourse about achievement.
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Imperative 1: Disproportionality in Punishment and Missed Learning Opportunities It is difficult for Black students and students from any racial or ethnic background to experience a curriculum when they are being sent out of the classroom to the office. If Black students are not experiencing STEM-centered curriculum opportunities (e.g., hands-on science labs, coding, roller-coaster designing, robotics, etc.), how can we expect them to participate in and build knowledge, understanding, and transferable skills in t hese domains? By curriculum, we simply mean what students have the opportunity to learn. Black students are punished (in the name of discipline) more often and more severely than are White students. Discipline and punishment are not synonymous (Duncan-A ndrade, 2016). Discipline is essential for any of us—including students in schools. However, issues of disproportionality are related to the severe and perpetual punishment that Black students receive for “misbehavior” in public school classrooms. By disproportionality, we mean “there are more (or fewer) children from a particular group who are experiencing a given situation than we would expect, based on the group’s representation in the general population” (Oswald, 2016, para. 4). Disproportionality, disparity, and educational inequity begin early for Black students—males and females. Former United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the 2011–2012 Civil Rights Data Collection, at ocrdata.ed.gov, which allows online visitors to examine disparities between more privileged students and those whose first language is not English, students of color, those who live in poverty, and those with disabilities. For the first time since 2000, the database provides current information on approximately 16,500 school districts, 97,000 schools, and 49 million students. One of the most profound findings from the data was that, although African-A merican students represent about 18 percent of preschool enrollment, in the 2011–2012 school year they made up 42 percent of the preschool students who were suspended once and 48 percent of those suspended more than once. 172 H. Richard Milner IV and Abiola Farinde-Wu
In this way, structural inequity starts early in students’ educational experiences (U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, 2014). Considering that discipline disparities between Black and White students impact their opportunities to learn and experience science, it is not surprising that Black students are either absent from or underrepresented in undergraduate and graduate science courses and science c areers (Riegle-Crumb & King, 2010). Wang’s (2013) study linked such a lack of opportunity to engage in science to many undergraduate students’ intentions to major in STEM. Wang (2013) found that students’ intentions to major in STEM were impacted by the following: (1) twelfth-grade math achievement, (2) exposure to math and science courses, and (3) math self-efficacy beliefs. Th ese findings suggest that opportunities to engage in STEM-related tasks and activities, which may engender positive STEM experiences, could potentially impact students’ decisions to enter postsecondary STEM fields. Unfortunately, similar to preK–12 education tactics, if Black students do gain entry into higher education STEM programs, many are pushed out, experiencing racialized psychosocial distress in an often hostile environment (McGee & Stovall, 2015; Russell & Atwater, 2005). At preK–12, the findings in the literat ure are straightforward in that most disciplinary referrals originate in the classroom, and, more times than not, the referrals are for students of color and students from low socioeconomic background (Skiba et al., 2002). Administrators—t ypically disciplinary principals—have the power to suspend or expel students based on (1) their interpretation of the behavior described by teachers in the classrooms and (2) their interpretation of rules and policy violations. Logically, students’ academic performance suffers when they are not in the classroom. How can we expect students to succeed on STEM-related academic measures, both at the preK–12 and higher education level, when they are not experiencing STEM learning opportunities that allow them to participate in the types of learning necessary for them to be successful? Lessons from PreK–12 173
Many STEM teachers come from different racial-ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds than their students (Rodriguez, 2015). Moreover, some STEM educators are unprepared to teach STEM instruction using multicultural and culturally responsive pedagogical models (Farinde & Lewis, 2012; Rivera Maulucci, 2013). Considering t hese variables, discipline issues may occur in STEM classrooms. Examining the school discipline of Black males, Davis and Jordan (1994) analyzed data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, administered by the National Center for Educational Statistics. The researchers employed a two-stage, stratified, random sample of 25,000 eighth graders in 1,000 schools across the country. Davis and Jordan reported a connection between disciplinary practices and Black male achievement in middle schools. As the researchers explained, “the time teachers spend handling disciplinary problems is time taken away from instruction; Black male achievement suffers as a result” (p. 585). In short, instead of teaching these students, teachers spent much of their time attempting to discipline the students. Clearly, when students are not in the classroom because of disciplinary approaches and policies that put them out of the classroom, such as suspension and expulsion, these students are suffering academically (Milner, 2010). Less instruction time in STEM classrooms engaging in math and science coursework and activities during preK–12 education engenders fewer Black students who are adequately prepared to master postsecondary STEM skills and competencies (Tyson et al., 2007). Davis and Jordan explained that these disciplinary actions resulted in student classroom and school disengagement, and the students’ achievement suffered because the disciplinary practices served as “disincentives” (p. 586) for these students. One factor precipitating White, middle-class STEM teachers’ negative perceptions of Black students and producing inequitable STEM learning opportunities is cultural capital. Cultural capital— the knowledge, competencies, or dispositions Black students bring into classrooms—often conflicts with the dominant school
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currency (Bourdieu, 1986). Placing lesser value on Black students’ cultural capital, White, middle-c lass teachers may consequently penalize these students for their supposed cultural deficit (Valencia, 2010). Cultural capital suggests that some students (Black and Brown) endure different and difficult school experiences, while other students have a distinct advantage within a U.S. education system that is fundamentally rooted in White, Eurocentric cultural norms and values (Farinde & Allen, 2013). Expounding on this argument, Skiba et al. (2002) analyzed disciplinary records of 11,001 students in 19 middle schools in a large, urban Midwestern public school district. They reported a “differential pattern of treatment, originating at the classroom level, wherein African American students are referred to the office for infractions that are more subjective in interpretation” (my emphasis added, p. 317), whereas White students are referred to the office for more objective ones. The point that appropriate behavior is socially constructed and not universally accepted should be a serious concern in the g rand discourse of Black students’ opportunities to participate in STEM-centered curriculum. The subjective nature of teachers’ practices with African American students in this sense centers issues of race and racism. As an example, if an African American student talks back or mouths off to a teacher, the teacher may interpret this behavior as completely disrespectful and intolerable (Milner, 2006; Milner et al., 2018). The student may be behaving in this way due to peer pressure—not wanting friends to see him or her as weak. Disrespect or malice may not be at the core of the student’s actions. Rather, the student may be trying to survive and not experience ridicule from his or her classmates. Another example of how teachers’ subjectivities end in students’ referrals occur when African American students joke with a teacher after the teacher has attempted to correct their behavior; the teacher may misinterpret that behavior as being defiant or rude. The student, on the other hand, may use a joke at home with his or her parents to show that there are no hard feelings on this student’s part through the interaction. Teachers may find such behavior unacceptable and
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inexcusable—thus, a subjective interpretation is applied in the situation, and ultimately the student suffers the negative repercussions. Teachers and students do not ascribe the same meanings and intentions for the student’s behavior. Yet, teachers are assumed to be the most appropriate decision-makers in these situations as the adults with the power and control, while students have to suffer whatever the consequences. Although potentially unintentional, teachers have the power to shape disciplinary practices that can clearly harm Black students without any serious ramifications. What does this mean—the fact that teachers make unfair decisions or decisions based on their own, socially constructed frame of appropriate behavior? How do we support teachers and administrators in understanding how their own subjective interpretations can negatively impact Black student outcomes? The storyline in the empirical literat ure has remained relatively consistent over time: students of color—particularly Black and Brown students—and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds still disproportionately receive harsher exclusionary practices (see, for instance, Gregory, Skiba, & Noguera, 2010; Lewis et al., 2010; Skiba et al., 2011). Thus, it is essential for t hose in higher education, and perhaps especially t hose in the STEM-centered fields, to understand and respond to the reality that due to disproportionate punishment practices of Black students, t hese students miss important curriculum and learning opportunities. In other words, it is essential for those in STEM higher education to understand the important links between curriculum exposure and engagement of students and their potential outcomes and experiences in postsecondary education. When Black students are not in the classroom, they are missing powerful learning opportunities, and this means that STEM higher education officials need to understand how to address these missed learning opportunities once students enter higher education.
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Imperative 2: Racially and Culturally Disaligned Learning Opportunities When Black students miss important curriculum exposure and engagement due to their disproportionate punishment (i.e., being sent to the office and consequently suspended and expelled), they also experience instructional practices that are irrelevant to and inconsistent with their learning, interests, and motivation. In other words, as teachers in preK–12 classrooms enact the curriculum, they tend to do so in ways that do not honor, value, build on, or speak from the point of view of Black students and their cultural experiences and practices (Gay, 2010; Howard, 2010; Ladson- Billings, 2009; Milner, 2010, 2015). Eisner (1994) postulated several important forms of the curriculum: (a) the explicit curriculum concerns student learning opportunities that are overtly taught and stated or printed in documents, policies, and guidelines, such as in course syllabi, the common core standards, or on school websites; (b) the implicit curriculum is intended or unintended and is not stated or written down but is actually inherent to what students have the opportunity to learn; (c) a third form of curriculum, the null curriculum, deals with what students do not have the opportunity to learn. Thus, information and knowledge that are not available for student learning are also a form of the curriculum b ecause students are actually learning something based on what is not emphasized, covered, or taught. What students do not experience in the curriculum becomes messages for them. For example, if educators are not taught to question, critique, or critically examine power structures and students are not taught to question classroom content given to them by authoritative adults (Smith, 1985), students may be learning that it is not essential for them to critique the world in order to improve it. In STEM classrooms, the absence of p eople of color in STEM textbooks presents an implicit message to students. STEM textbooks that negate the contributions of African Americans propagate racial bias and posit the inability of people of color to engage in math and science (Sleeter & Grant, 2011). Lessons from PreK–12 177
From Eisner’s perspective, what is absent is essentially present in student learning opportunities through the curriculum. Although the election of President Barack Obama led some to believe that racism had ended and that issues of race were in the past, recent shootings in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Dallas, Texas, are just three examples that issues of race and racism are alive and, as critical race theorist Bell would argue (1980), permanent in society—and U.S. society in particu lar (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995). As Black students are experiencing these events, but they do not show up in the STEM curriculum, students are experiencing a powerf ul form of the null curriculum. Although these shootings are persistent and influence Black bodies and Black students’ emotional and psychological strain, the null curriculum sends a real and particu lar kind of message. To illuminate, although unjustifiable and counterproductive, the shooting of five White, Dallas police officers by a Black man, Micah Xavier Johnson (age twenty-five) of Mesquite, Texas, serves as a response to the perceived and real slow pace of prog ress in decreasing police shootings of Black people and Black males in particu lar (Amadou Diallo, twenty-three, shot dead while unarmed, February 4, 1999; Sean Bell, twenty-three, shot dead while unarmed, November 25, 2006; Oscar Grant, twenty-three, shot dead while unarmed, January 1, 2009; Trayvon Martin, seventeen, shot dead while unarmed, February 26, 2012; Jonathon Ferrell, twenty-four, shot dead while unarmed, September 14, 2013; Eric Garner, forty-three, choked to death while unarmed, July 17, 2014; Michael Brown, nineteen, shot dead while unarmed, August 9, 2014; and Antwon Rose, Jr., seventeen, shot dead while unarmed, June 19, 2018). The span, duration, and consistency of these police shootings of Black p eople are powerful examples of the slow pace of progress in reforming policy. To be clear, shootings of unarmed Black people are not about individual police officers’ decisions and actions. Rather, issues of police shootings of unarmed Black bodies suggest the need for major policy analyses for transformation and can 178 H. Richard Milner IV and Abiola Farinde-Wu
be powerful curriculum opportunities. In other words, the mere duration, the extended timespan, and range and number of police shootings of Black people suggest that problems of policing far exceed what an individual or a group of individual police officers do. The challenges are systemic and structural—individual police officers are behaving based on the systems in which they work and live. In simplest form, t here is a direct link between Black students’ racial identity and their outcomes. Instead of being immersed in actual science lessons, and being taught what they can do later in life in science careers, Black students in STEM classes do not receive the institutional capital necessary to be in the STEM pipeline because they are disproportionately likely to be removed from such opportunities by way of institutional discipline. Furthermore, they are instructed on the apparent unimportance of more severe forms of unwarranted, everyday violence against Black bodies through the “null curriculum.” When Black students witness the shooting of these Black p eople, they can feel added psychological and emotional strain, and yet do not have an opportunity to tease out and make sense of t hese real-world problems b ecause they tend to go under-addressed in schools. At a minimum, students need to have an opportunity to talk through their anxiety around these killings but tend not to have t hose opportunities in the classroom or beyond. This limitation is affirmed as data from the Civil Rights Data Collection show that about one in five schools across the country does not have a guidance counselor (Samuels, 2014).
Imperative 3: Under-Nuanced Discourse about Achievement Ultimately, disproportionality in punishment resulting in missed learning opportunities and racially and culturally disaligned learning opportunities in all classrooms, including STEM, result in under-nuanced and insufficient discourse about Black students and their outcomes. In short, in preK–12 learning environments, we need to problematize (and ultimately change) how we talk about Black student achievement. In her presidential address to the American Educational Research Association, Ladson-Billings Lessons from PreK–12 179
(2006) challenged us—educational researchers—to rethink the use of the achievement gap when discussing and explaining disparities that exist between different groups of students in education. Ladson-Billings (2006) concluded that in the United States there is not as much of an achievement gap as there is an “education debt” that the educational system owes to so many students it has poorly underserved. This education debt carries several important features, according to Ladson-Billings: historical debt, economic debt, sociopolitical debt, and moral debt. Employing these four frames as research and analytic sites, Ladson-Billings challenged educational researchers to reconceptualize and move beyond achievement discourse to address myriad layers of debt owed to so many students in education. Irvine (2010) explained that a perceived achievement gap shepherded through the language we use is the result of other gaps that seductively coerce people into believing that an achievement gap actually exists. Rather than focusing on a perceived achievement gap, from her analyses, Irvine recommended that attention should be placed on closing other gaps that exist in education, which cause theoreticians, researchers, policymakers, practition ers, and administrators to believe there is an achievement gap. For Irvine, other gaps that shape our belief in (and consequently our discourse about) an achievement gap include “the teacher quality gap; the teacher training gap; the challenging curriculum gap; the school funding gap; the digital divide gap; the wealth and income gap; the employment opportunity gap; the affordable housing gap; the health care gap; the nutrition gap; the school integration gap; and the quality childcare gap” (p. xii), and we would add a STEM equity gap. From Irvine’s perspective, when we address the many other gaps that structurally and systemically exist in educational practice, achievement results can improve. Irvine’s descriptions of gaps that exist in education beyond achievement can assist us in talking about gaps—if we must focus on gaps at all—to make sense of reality, particularly in urban STEM education. The gaps that Irvine described are pervasive in urban sociopolitical contexts as too many students have not 180 H. Richard Milner IV and Abiola Farinde-Wu
necessarily fared well in an educational system that can be described as broken at best. Elsewhere, building on Ladson- Billings’ charge, Milner (2012) argued that we should focus on opportunity gaps that exist in educational practices when attempting to make sense of, describe, rationalize, and explain unfortunate inequitable opportunities in some communities. This article elaborated on a framework to assist researchers, theoreticians, and practitioners in explaining opportunity gaps: (1) color blindness; (2) cultural conflicts; (3) myth of meritocracy; (4) low expectations and deficit mindsets; and (5) context-neutral mindsets and practices. In addition, further challenges and shortcomings are described, which are consequences of our focus on achievement gaps: • Achievement gap explanations of educational practices can force educational researchers to compare culturally diverse students3 with White students without compelling, nuanced, and illustrative pictures of the reasons b ehind the c auses of disparities and differences that exist between and among groups. • Achievement gap explanations can frame White students as the norm to which other racial and ethnic groups of students are to be compared (Foster, 1999).4 White students can be covertly and tacitly constructed as intellectually and academically superior to others. • Achievement gap explanations can force us into studying and conceptualizing students of color from a deficit perspective (González, Moll, & Amantí, (2005). Researchers focus on the perceived shortcomings of students rather than the assets that students and their families possess. • Achievement gap explanations can force us to focus on individual students as well as groups of students rather than inequitable, racist, and sexist structures, systems, contexts, policies, and practices that lead to perceived achievement gaps.5
While achievement gap discourse in education usually focuses on students’ scores on standardized tests, it may also concern Lessons from PreK–12 181
student graduation rates or even patterns in gifted and advanced placement courses. Standardization of policies and practices is at the heart of many reform efforts aimed to decrease and eventually eliminate achievement gaps. However, standardization, in many ways, is antithetical to the diversity that communities of people possess b ecause it suggests that all students live and operate in homogeneous environments with equality and equity of opportunity afforded to them (Ladson-Billings, 2000; Milner, 2007; Tate, 2008).6 Standardization reform efforts advance a sameness agenda when the playing field for many students of color, English language learners, and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds in urban environments is anything but even or level (Ladson-Billings, 2006). Results on outcomes such as standardized tests provide information about a particu lar socially constructed way of thinking about what students know and need to know. However, the results on standardized examinations only seem to report one dimension of a much more complex and nuanced reality of what students know. Moreover, results on standardized exams do not adequately explain why some students are not performing well or the other aspects of students’ knowledge that do not show up on examinations. Students’ outcomes on standardized examinations w ill vary based in part on the instruction and learning opportunities they experience, as well as on a host of outside-of-school variables such as poverty, employment or the lack thereof, and where students’ homes are located (Milner, 2013, 2015). Despite t hese areas of consideration, many universities mandate a certain standardized score be achieved to be considered “a fit” for admissions into a STEM college program (Walpole et al., 2005). Antithetical to standardized examination as the sole measure of knowledge proficiency, researchers and theorists socially construct what achievement means, as well as academic and social success. For instance, Apple (2006) stressed that educators must persistently question what knowledge is, how it is constructed and validated, and who decides the worth, value, and meanings of knowledge. Similar questions should be posed, it seems, about achievement. As with knowledge, 182 H. Richard Milner IV and Abiola Farinde-Wu
certain areas of achievement are privileged and valued over others, and t here appears to be a socially constructed hierarchy of which and what achievements and knowledge m atter more in comparison to o thers. Unfortunately, the knowledge and skills that students of color, those living in poverty, and English language learners possess are often seen as substandard or not as essential. In this sense, t here are societal high and low cultural ways of conceptualizing achievement and knowledge (Duncan-A ndrade & Morrell, 2005).7 Thus, we invite theoreticians, researchers, policymakers, prac titioners, and administrators to consider the following questions: (1) To what extent is achievement synonymous with learning? (2) What does it mean for a group of students to learn and achieve in one school community and not succeed in another? (3) Who decides what it means to achieve, why, and how do we know? (4) How do we address the kind of learning and knowledge acquisition that never show up on achievement measures—including high-stakes standardized tests? Addressing these questions—while complex and dynamic—can be critical for t hose in higher education, particularly higher education STEM programs. Indeed, as Haberman (2000) maintained, “language is not an innocent reflection of how we think. The terms we use control our perceptions, shape our understanding, and lead us to particular proposals for improvement” (p. 203).
Summary, Recommendations, and Conclusions In this chapter, we have discussed important insights about race and Black students’ experiences in preK–12 classrooms in ways that we believe those in STEM higher education w ill benefit from. There is a disconnect between the preK–12 literat ure base and that of higher education. We need to know more about the real experiences of Black students in preK–12 classrooms and how those experiences may influence t hese students’ experiences, interests, and capacity in STEM-related areas of higher education. In par ticular, we have drawn from three interrelated areas that we believe Lessons from PreK–12 183
are essential for higher education to consider in building micro- and macro-level analyses to advance students’ experiences in higher education: (1) disproportionality in punishment and missed learning opportunities; (2) racially and culturally disaligned learning opportunities; and (3) under- nuanced discourse about achievement. To be clear, we are suggesting that these imperatives are necessary for higher education consideration not only to develop potential programs and strategies to address challenges when Black students enter higher education but mostly b ecause those in higher education need to understand the reasons and rationales for Black students’ engagement, participation, and potential outcomes in STEM fields. Understanding very clearly that too many Black students have experienced racism in education systems that are unresponsive to their humanity is necessary as structures are established to advance what we know (and what we do!) in higher education STEM-related opportunities. Riegle-Crumb and King (2010) stressed that “disparities in who pursues STEM fields clearly remain and warrant sustained attention. Yet, too often, assumptions about differences between groups, whether the differences pertain to assumptions about their ability to succeed or their preferences to participate, are reinforced and subsequently lead to the creation of more disparities . . . therefore, it is crucial that we recognize diversity where it does exist, noting progress toward equity and offering empirical evidence that can impede the further perpetuation of stereot ypes about who belongs and STEM fields” (p. 662). Thus, much more attention needs to be placed on the STEM pipeline, as such attention can advance, theory, research, practice, and especially beliefs and ideologies about Black students and STEM. Specifically, higher education professionals can learn from preK–12 experiences of Black students through a series of sustained involvement, such as: • Mandatory antiracist training about Black students for faculty and staff; 184 H. Richard Milner IV and Abiola Farinde-Wu
• The development and maintenance of safe and affirming STEM spaces on campus for Black students to live, study, learn, and interact; • Intentional programs and initiatives to increase racial and ethnic diversity among faculty—especially Black faculty across different disciplines (with real attention placed on STEM faculty); • The development of opportunities for real dialogue with the entire school community—to speak truth about issues of race, STEM, and equity; • Through diverse stakeholder collaboration, the development of a conceptual framework and interrelated principles and tenets that build a strategic plan that explicitly works to deepen understanding of preK–12 Black students’ experiences and ways to support their m ental, psychological, emotional, and academic well-being (Farinde-Wu, Glover, & Williams, 2017).
Too many Black students are underserved in preK–12 sociopoliti cal contexts, and higher education has to be committed to deeply understanding t hese racialized issues in order to respond to the humanity of these students.
Notes 1. Race is constructed physically, not biologically, socially, legally, and historically (Milner, 2015). The meanings, messages, results, and
consequences of race are developed and constructed by h uman beings, not by some predetermined set of scientific laws or genetics. Genet ically and biologically, individuals are more the same than they are different. According to Nakkula and Toshalis (2006), “there is no biologically sustainable reason for establishing ‘races’ as distinct
subgroups within the h uman species. . . . R ace is a concept created in
the modern era as a way of drawing distinctions between p eople such that some might benefit at the expense of others” (p. 123).
2. We use “Black” and “African American” interchangeably throughout this chapter.
Lessons from PreK–12 185
3. Throughout this chapter, we use “culturally diverse” students to refer to African American students, Latinx and Hispanic American
students, students whose first language is not English, and t hose
living in poverty. We recognize that p eople and groups of people
possess layers of diversity; however, for the sake of space and clarity, we use “culturally diverse students.” In other cases, we use “students of color” to refer mainly to African American and Latinx American students.
4. It can be argued that White students are viewed as the norm by which all others are compared. Even when other racial and ethnic groups, such as Asian students, outperform White students on academic measures, they are still compared to the norm: White students.
5. Some sociologists would argue that it is actually ineffectual to focus
extensive amounts of time comparing one group with another (see, for instance, Carter, 2005).
6. Although similar, “equity” and “equality” are not synonyms. They are different in that “equality” means sameness, while “equity” is more responsive and context specific. Secada (1989) pointed to a major
difference between equality and equity. He wrote, “There is a history of using terms like equity and equality of education interchangeably. Though t hese constructs are related, equality is group-based and
quantitative. Equity can be applied to groups or to individuals; it is
qualitative in that equity is tied to notions of justice” (p. 23). Equity, according to Secada, is defined as judgments about w hether or not a
given state of affairs is just. For instance, equity in education may mean that we are attempting to provide students, regardless of their racial,
ethnic, cultural, or socioeconomic background, with what they need to succeed—not necessarily the exact same goals and visions across multiple and varied environments.
7. For instance, in literacy, knowledge about and achievement related to traditional canonical readings from authors such as William Shake-
speare or Charles Dickens are considered high culture while African
(American) literat ure written by authors such as Zora Neale Hurston
or James Baldwin, for instance, may be classified as low culture (from a White-dominated societal perspective).
186 H. Richard Milner IV and Abiola Farinde-Wu
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9 Black Males’ STEM Experiences Factors That Contribute to Their Success christopher c. jett and julius davis
Black males’ science, technology, engineering, and mathe matics (STEM) experiences have been a hot topic for practi tioners, researchers, and policymakers for decades. As a matter of fact, t here is a growing body of research focused on Black males’ educational experiences generally (e.g., Bonner, 2014; Brooms, 2017; Dancy, 2012; Harper & Wood, 2016; Howard, 2014; Warren, 2017) and STEM experiences specifically (e.g., Berry, 2008; Davis, 2014; Jett, 2013; McGee & Martin, 2011a; Moore, 2006; Sims, 2018; Stinson, 2013; Stone, 2008; Thompson & Davis, 2013; Thompson & Lewis, 2005; Wright, 2011). Thus, it is no surprise federal and state funding agencies, departments of education, school districts, administrators, STEM professionals, policymakers, and researchers have devoted increased attention to Black males’ STEM experiences, given their underrepresentation in t hese fields coupled with the challenges thrust upon them in the broader society, K–12 schools, and higher education classrooms spaces. This thread of educational research has examined their academic experiences from kindergarten through graduate school, adding diverse perspectives to existing understandings across the STEM educational continuum for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers. 192
One daunting challenge for STEM professionals, educators, policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders is to counter and erase the deficit messages, especially with regard to Black males (Toldson & Johns, 2016). As two Black male mathematics/STEM education researchers, we have countered deficit messages in our scholarship using critical race theory and African- centered frameworks (see Allen et al., 2018; Davis, 2014; Davis & Jett, 2019; Jett, 2013, 2016; Jett, Stinson, & Williams, 2015; Thompson & Davis, 2013). We strongly believe that race, culture, and social justice matter in Black males’ STEM experiences, and we challenge deficit ideologies about their inability to do STEM. As such, we actively work to ensure Black males are positioned to thrive in STEM disciplines. It is from this epistemological position that we collectively approach this area of research as well as this chapter, synthesizing some of the research on Black males’ STEM experiences. In this chapter, we draw from the available research on Black males’ K–12, undergraduate, and graduate experiences to extrapolate factors that have contributed to their success in STEM disciplines. In so d oing, we highlight and discuss three overarching factors that contribute to success for Black males in STEM— personal attributes, support structures, and culturally responsive and social justice instructional practices. These factors are not exhaustive, as t here are many others outlined in the research liter at ure. However, we have tailored our contribution herein to these three factors, given our desire to focus on what practitioners, researchers, and policymakers can do to enhance the STEM climate for Black males. We also seek to address crucial areas such as race and gender intersectionality and other STEM dynamics as echoed in the Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative (EDEFI).
Factors That Contribute to STEM Success for Black Males Based on the research literature, there are three overarching factors that contribute to Black males’ success in STEM from Black Males’ STEM Experiences 193
kindergarten through graduate school. We expound upon each of these factors to contextualize our contribution to this edited volume.
personal attributes First, there are a number of studies paying homage to the robust personal attributes Black males bring to the STEM teaching and learning dynamic (Palmer, Davis, & Thompson, 2010; Strayhorn, 2015). These personal attributes include Black males’ STEM resilience, confidence, motivation, agency, and spirituality, to name a few. We mention these attributes because they provide evidence across the literature of how Black males thrive in STEM contexts. Researchers have demonstrated that successful Black males in STEM areas develop an early interest in these subject areas and career fields, which boosts their agency in STEM (McGee & Martin, 2011a; Moore, 2006). More specifically, researchers have provided evidence that Black males exhibit confidence to master mathematics (McGee & Martin, 2011a), engineering (Moore, 2006), and computer science (Stone, 2008). This body of knowledge reveals that academically successful Black males have uniquely developed their STEM confidence, persisted in STEM fields, and ultimately achieved STEM success. With these studies, Black males’ personal attributes such as being confident and resilient were predicated on the prior success they experienced learning STEM content. On another note, Black males in STEM fields experience challenges and barriers along racial lines (McGee & Martin, 2011a). Even when they encounter racialized experiences in STEM classes with White STEM faculty, students, and administrators, Black males continue to draw from personal attributes to persist in STEM courses, programs, and majors, which further demonstrates their resilience (McGee & Martin, 2011b; Moore, Madison- Colmore, & Smith, 2003). Interestingly, there are some Black males who do not persist in t hese hostile environments (Moore et al., 2004). However, researchers have found Black males develop
194 Christopher C. Jett and Julius Davis
coping mechanisms to help them deal with the challenges and barriers they experience in STEM (McGee & Martin, 2011b; Moore, 2006). They have also found that some Black males’ experiences in racialized STEM spaces provide them with motivation to excel in their studies. In all, Black males’ personal attributes are central to their unique identities and contribute to their persistence in STEM. In many cases, Black males develop an academic posture that leads them to a stronger sense of purpose, racial pride, confidence, and commitment to their STEM work (McGee & Martin, 2011a; Moore, Madison-Colmore, & Smith, 2003). We concur with Leonard and Martin (2013) that parents, educators, and researchers must see the brilliance in Black students (see Leonard & Martin’s edited volume for chapters unpacking mathematical brilliance among Black students) and affirm their natural giftedness. In other words, Black males’ personal attributes and strengths must be used as a foundation for learning, since personal attributes have been found to validate them as competent STEM learners.
support structures Moreover, research has clearly demonstrated that Black males have various support structures to assist with their STEM studies (Hrabowski, Maton, & Grief, 1998; McGlamery & Mitchell, 2000; Thompson & Davis, 2013). The individuals who support Black males to be successful in STEM fields usually consist of family members, peers, and school professionals, and research shows Black males who thrive in STEM fields have at least one of these support persons in place (Berry, 2008; Moore, 2006; Noble, 2011). In many cases, Black males have more than one support person to help them navigate and achieve success in STEM. With these support structures, family support is one of the most salient regarding Black males’ STEM experiences (Berry, 2008; Maton, Hrabowski, & Greif, 1998). There are many family members who support and help Black males attain success in STEM, including grandparents, parents/guardians, siblings, aunts,
Black Males’ STEM Experiences 195
ncles, and cousins. Successful Black males are reared in both u single-parent and two-parent households, as well as in other f amily structures, and family support ranges from teaching, tutoring, exposing, and/or assisting them with developing deeper understandings of STEM topics and concepts to advocating for them to gain access to specialized STEM academic programs. Peer support is another key element of Black males’ success in STEM. Research has shown Black males achieve at higher levels and excel in STEM disciplines when they are in a network or community of like-minded Black male peers (Hrabowski, Maton, & Greif, 1998; McGlamery & Mitchell, 2000; Noble, 2011; Thompson & Davis, 2013). To facilitate this, Black males have been placed in academic cohorts, learning communities, and study groups with other Black male peers to help them achieve and excel in STEM (Hrabowski, Maton, & Greif, 1998; Maton & Hrabowski, 2004; McGlamery & Mitchell, 2000; Moore, Madison-Colmore, & Smith, 2003). Th ese groups provide Black males with opportunities to be tutored in STEM areas whereby they can synthesize challenging STEM concepts and subsequently thrive in t hese areas (Maton & Hrabowski, 2004). Additionally, K–12 and higher education professionals (i.e., STEM teachers and faculty) are important support structures for Black males to achieve and excel in STEM disciplines (Hrabowski, Maton, & Greif, 1998; McGee & Martin, 2011b; McGlamery & Mitchell, 2000; Moore, 2006; Noble, 2011). The relationships and interactions Black males have and develop with their STEM faculty play a major role in helping them to be successful in STEM fields (Hrabowski, Maton, & Greif, 1998; Moore, 2006). Along with that, Black males’ interactions with higher education faculty members outside of class and in mentoring experiences and relationships with them is important to their success in STEM spaces, especially with Black male STEM faculty (Hrabowski, Maton, & Greif, 1998). Research has also shown that Black males who are successful in STEM fields connect and have meaningful relationships with Black male STEM teachers that enhance their personal
196 Christopher C. Jett and Julius Davis
and learning experiences in classrooms and schools (Noble, 2011; Thompson & Davis, 2013). Beyond teachers, school administrators and counselors play a major role in providing Black males with guidance and access to STEM learning experiences (Polite, 1999; Thompson & Lewis, 2005). Many Black males also receive support by participating in academic or specialized programs that aim to improve their understanding of STEM ideas. The STEM research literat ure focused on academically successful Black males indicates that many of them have participated in STEM programs starting as early as elementary school and continuing into their higher educational experiences— both undergraduate and gradu ate (Hrabowski, Maton, & Greif, 1998). Th ere is considerable variation in the programs Black males have participated in, as some of the programs are in-school, out-of-school, and/or after-school programs (DiSalvo, Crowley & Norwood, 2008). Th ere are gifted and talented programs, honors programs, and advanced placement programs in K–12 schools that enrich and advance Black males’ understanding of STEM content. Similarly, there are programs within the higher education landscape such as honors programs, societies, and organizations that expose Black males to STEM programs and initiatives. STEM program personnel have sparked Black males’ interest in STEM, helped them strengthen foundational STEM knowledge, provided enrichment of STEM competencies, and exposed them to STEM role models and careers (DiSalvo et al., 2009; Hrabowski, Maton, & Greif, 1998). Certainly, not all Black males who are successful in STEM have taken part in specialized programs, so we are not suggesting that Black males must participate in these programs to be successful. However, we are advocating for families, K–12 constituents, and higher education professionals to inform and enroll Black males into STEM programs to take advantage of t hese support structures, especially those students who have expressed an interest in pursuing a STEM career.
Black Males’ STEM Experiences 197
Culturally Responsive and Social Justice–Oriented Instructional Practices The final success factor centers on STEM faculty and instructional leaders implementing culturally responsive and social justice instructional practices to support Black males in STEM (Gay, 2010). Culturally responsive teaching is a pedagogical framework that recognizes, values, and affirms the cultural backgrounds and experiences students bring to the classroom space. This cultural knowledge extends to Black males’ familial and community knowledge systems, and their rich cultural proclivities are used as a catalyst for learning within and across STEM disciplines. In a similar vein, social justice teaching practices use community, critical, and classical knowledge to teach Black males STEM content to address social issues and advance justice in said areas (Gutstein & Peterson, 2013; Pitts Bannister et al., 2017; Terry, 2010, 2011; also see Larnell, Bullock, & Jett  for a discussion of d oing this work to address racial justice). In implementing culturally responsive instructional practices, educators should infuse STEM practices that affirm, empower, liberate, and transform Black males’ lives and identities as STEM beings (Gay, 2010). Being culturally responsive entails building on Black males’ out-of-school STEM experiences and rich familial and community STEM practices. Specific culturally responsive instructional practices include having Black males author STEM autobiographies, complete social justice projects using STEM principles to address problems that heavily impact Black males, their families, and communities, and research historical and contemporary Black STEM professionals, to name a few (Jett, Stinson, & Williams, 2015; Terry, 2011). Such culturally relevant instructional practices could position Black males as STEM constituents and potentially lead to optimal levels of STEM success (Ladson-Billings, 2009). Undoubtedly, these culturally responsive instructional practices should draw upon multidisciplinary perspectives of race and gender to enrich the STEM learning experience, especially with respect to Black males. 198 Christopher C. Jett and Julius Davis
As a point of illustration, Terry (2011) assembled a team of Black male high school students and engaged them in culturally relevant and social justice mathematical tasks. Using critical race theory as a theoretical frame, he engaged Black males in analyzing mathematical data via trend analysis and graphical representation related to college graduation, homicide, and incarceration rates of Black males in the students’ localized community context to help them develop critical mathematics literacies. Terry shared mathematics- related topics that significantly impact the life and schooling experiences of Black men nationally and within the localized community context. He also sought to demonstrate that engaging in mathematics is a cultural activity rooted in the lives and experiences of Black males. These culturally relevant and social justice instructional practices must be extended in an authentic STEM interdisciplinary fashion to engage and support Black males in STEM more broadly.
Discussion ese three factors—personal attributes, support structures, and Th culturally responsive and social justice–oriented instructional practices—represent commonalities in the research literat ure that have proven to influence STEM success for Black males. Th ese similarities also represent a clarion call for the STEM community writ large as it pertains to what works for this group of students. Given that Black males are underrepresented in STEM fields, one implication from the findings in the literat ure is that more STEM programs must be developed to complement Black males’ personal attributes as racialized and gendered beings. As these findings substantiate, these programs should include various support structures and utilize culturally responsive and socially just instructional practices. This call for culturally responsive and social justice instructional practices recognizes the inherent challenges in advocating for this approach across the STEM nexus. There are some STEM (education) professionals and stakeholders who do not believe Black Black Males’ STEM Experiences 199
males are intellectually suited for STEM fields, who view STEM as racially, culturally, and politically neutral spaces, and who have no desire to teach STEM content from a culturally responsive and social justice paradigm (Powell & Frankenstein, 1997). Given what works for Black males, we advocate for professional learning and development sessions for STEM teachers, faculty, instructional leaders, and administrators to be designed from this paradigm. STEM (education) professionals also need curricular and instructional materials to support teaching from this perspective, as well as support with developing t hese materials. In our primary discipline of mathematics education, there are resources to assist STEM educators with creating such instructional materials (see Frankenstein, 1990, 2014; Gutstein, 2006, 2012; Gutstein & Peterson, 2013; Terry, 2010, 2011; Wager & Stinson, 2012). Other STEM disciplines should build on these existing resources to further advance this work and develop Black males’ critical STEM literacies. Another implication is for researchers and scholars to engage in STEM practices as a true interdisciplinary enterprise. Oftentimes, STEM research studies with Black males are relegated to one of the separate disciplines included in the STEM acronym, as opposed to in an integrated fashion. F uture work should design measures to determine how Black males think, reason, and make sense of STEM interdisciplinarily. This work should draw from thriving STEM organizations, coalitions, and task forces that push problem-based, applied STEM teaching, learning, and research in an empowering manner. It is also important to note that Black girls and women experience challenges in STEM fields, and the research literat ure similarly devotes attention to their dilemmas as racialized and gendered beings (see Charleston et al., 2014; Ireland et al., 2018; Perna et al., 2009). We recognize the difficulties that Black girls experience; however, our focus in this chapter is centered on the experiences of Black males, given the perilous labels often ascribed to them in the broader society. It is our hope that scholars from multiple disciplines critically examine the experiences of Black girls as well as other marginalized groups in their research to explore the 200 Christopher C. Jett and Julius Davis
complexities and nuances surrounding the intersection of race and gender. We recognize that neither is this chapter a quick fix, nor are other articles, chapters, books, and so on devoted to Black males intended to be quick fixes to Black males’ plight. Rather, we intend for this chapter to be an addition to the critically important work championing the factors that have proven to be effective for many Black males in STEM. In line with that, we urge researchers to further investigate what it means to be Black and male within the context of STEM. Future research should draw from the growing body of scholarship attending to issues associated with Black manhood and masculinity to further engage Black males in the STEM teaching and learning dynamic (Curry, 2017; Flowers & Banda, 2015; Neal, 2006). We also challenge researchers to draw from multiple theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches that attend to the salience of race and gender. The findings from such scholarly analyses could offer much to enrich our multidisciplinary perspectives of race and gender for true diversification in STEM.
Conclusion We hope that our discussion of these three factors precipitates a reimagining of STEM possibilities for Black males. This reimagination necessitates shifting from pathological constructs such as “dangerous,” “incompetent,” and “hostile” being ascribed to Black males to edifying constructs such as “literate,” “scholastic,” and “entrepreneurial” within a STEM context. If we as STEM (education) stakeholders are serious about improving the participation rates of Black males in STEM, then we must inject these perspectives in our work to further diversify the STEM landscape. The scholarship cited in this chapter provides the groundwork for us to do this work with vigilance and passion, and we must remain cognizant of the challenges Black males face when designing meetings, programs, and initiatives to further influence their success in STEM. Black Males’ STEM Experiences 201
In summary, the chapters in this edited volume offer additional insights to infuse multidisciplinary perspectives of race and gender to broaden the participation of diverse students in STEM. Once more, we reiterate that Black males face a unique conundrum in both the academic and broader societal terrains. To foster success in STEM for these students, STEM stakeholders must leverage what works to see an upward trend in the participation rates of Black males in STEM fields. Although we have argued in this chapter for this diversification to be inclusive of Black males, we are optimistic that this volume offers wisdom concerning the diversification of STEM among broader audiences. Capitalizing on what we know contributes to the success of Black males in STEM could propel more of them into STEM majors and c areer fields, and we hope that the STEM climate is one that supports the STEM development of Black male students by drawing on the research literat ure that showcases what works.
Final Recommendations In the spirit of this volume, we offer three actionable recommendations for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers to contribute to Black male success in STEM. • Recommendation 1: Learn from, utilize, and share the evidence- based practices regarding Black males in STEM. As this chapter substantiates, there are tons of lessons to be learned from the literat ure about the practices that support Black males in STEM. The lessons learned indicate that practitioners should value Black males’ unique personal attributes, maintain or devise support structures to assist in this domain, and implement culturally responsive and social justice–oriented instructional practices. Th ese evidence-based sources should be disseminated to practitioners to inform their day-to-day practices with Black males to ultimately support their STEM aspirations. • Recommendation 2: Partner with community-based organ izations to bolster Black males’ STEM trajectories. Th ere are 202 Christopher C. Jett and Julius Davis
many community programs, religious groups, and grassroots organizations that have proven track records of supporting Black males’ STEM pathways. Unfortunately, a lot of t hese success stories are neither researched in an “academic” sense nor published in the scholarly literat ure. However, the good news is that social media platforms are now making these STEM models, knowledge sources, and outreach activities visible. Therefore, we recommend for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers to partner with professionals from t hese archetypes to support Black males in STEM. • Recommendation 3: Design more strengths-based policies for Black males. As it stands, many of the existing policies in place are constructed as if there is a problem with Black males. Th ese policies typically lead to harsh disciplinary actions for this group. To be clear, t hese policies are found within the broader society as well as in academic enclaves. Therefore, we advocate for policymakers to create more policies that draw upon Black males’ strengths, talents, and gifts with the goal of supporting their efforts in STEM.
In closing, we challenge practitioners, researchers, and policymakers to implement the aforementioned recommendations and continue to support Black males in developing a deep understanding of STEM that can be used to transform their lives, families, and communities locally and globally.
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10 Understanding Barriers to Diversifying STEM through Uncovering Ideological Conflicts lindsay brown, alissa m. manolescu, laura provolt, aspen robinson, and kecia m. thomas
This chapter turns to the organizational psychology literat ure to explore how diversity resistance (Thomas, 2008) and deeply hidden conflicts in diversity ideologies manifest in ways that derail well intentioned and often heavily funded diversity efforts from successfully changing the complexion of STEM classrooms and workplaces. Specifically, we are interested in how persistent diversity related problems like the ongoing racial and gender disparities in STEM participation may reflect deep-seated differences in diversity ideologies (e.g., overarching frameworks of beliefs used to understand and interpret diversity and inclusion) between those who have historically led science in the United States (e.g., majority group members: White males) and the very populations t hese disciplines seek to attract (e.g., women and racial/ethnic minorities). Friedman and Davidson (2001) provide a useful framework on diversity conflict that may help explain persistent barriers to diversity in STEM. They use the terms “first-order” and “second- order” to describe two types of conflict that may manifest in 209
institutions or disciplines that we believe may derail diversity efforts. Examples of first-order conflicts include discrimination and harassment that institutions are often prepared to address through existing policies such as a nondiscrimination and anti- harassment policy. First-order conflicts are typically obvious to institutional members, and there is often agreement that a wrong is occurring or has occurred, and therefore there is a shared desire to address or eliminate it. For example, quid-pro-quo forms of sexual harassment are usually deemed as repulsive, and institutional members generally agree that perpetuators should be terminated or at the very least severely sanctioned or disciplined. Second-order conflicts are less transparent (Friedman and Davidson, 2001). Th ese types of conflict usually reflect unarticulated and hidden value or ideological differences that manifest in disagreements related to the origins or the solutions for a diversity dilemma. For example, although everyone may agree that quid- pro-quo forms of harassment are unacceptable, t here still may be disagreement related to why this egregious form of harassment exists and therefore what to do about it. Is quid-pro-quo harassment a result of only an individual’s bad choices and behavior, or is t here is a culture of patriarchy and sexism that is permissive of sexual harassment? The Friedman and Davidson (2001) diversity conflict framework has found utility across a range of diversity research questions. For example, it has been applied to understanding the legitimacy of diversity in the formation of organizational identity (Cole & Salimath, 2013) as well as defining socially responsible diversity management (Syed & Kramar, 2009). In addition, this perspective has been used to understand the experiences of specific underrepresented groups. Muñoz & Thomas (2006), for example, use the first-order/second-order framework to understand the experiences of LGBTQ workers. The current chapter connects most strongly with the work of Shore et al. (2010), who use the Friedman and Davidson (2001) diversity conflict framework to review and set a research agenda for inclusion and diversity in work groups. Our unique application of this diversity conflict framework 210 Lindsay Brown et al.
is how it may show up within STEM work groups, especially in the relationships among faculty mentors and their students and the subsequent impact upon students’ expectations, aspirations, and ultimately retention in STEM. Therefore, this chapter w ill examine STEM’s diversity challenges from both a first-and second-order conflict framework. We begin by further illustrating first-order diversity conflicts that persist in STEM. Subsequently, we turn to second-order conflicts and the ideological differences that may derail successfully resolving first-order diversity challenges. Finally, we use diverse mentoring relationships in STEM as an example of how unexamined diversity ideology conflicts may derail the opportunity to develop a more diverse and inclusive STEM community.
First-Order Conflict in the Workplace First-order diversity conflict manifests in instances of overt discrimination and harassment. Th ese incidents are typically patently obvious to observers and morally unambiguous, even to dominant group members (Friedman & Davidson, 2001). First-order diversity conflict often presents itself in the workplace as biased hiring or promotion practices, but can also include interpersonal tension due to prejudice or intercultural conflict and pressure on subordinate group members to conform to organizational norms (Cox, 1993). Though these issues are not confined to any one industry, they may be particularly salient in certain fields that have large disparities in participation by race and/or gender. For example, gender bias tends to occur more often when women comprise less than 20 percent (a critical mass) of a field (Kanter, 1977), such as is found in STEM fields like computer science, engineering, and physics. Furthermore, women who work in male-dominated occupations experience significantly more gender discrimination and sexual harassment than those in traditionally female roles (Mansfield et al., 1991). Although science is typically viewed as a meritocracy, the paradox of meritocracy argues that this system results in a Barriers to Diversifying STEM 211
favorable bias toward men, furthering inequity in terms of promotion and compensation (Castilla & Benard, 2010). These findings underscore some of the most pressing challenges facing STEM fields in efforts to increase recruitment and retention of women and ethnic minorities.
Evidence of First-Order Conflict in STEM The statistics regarding gender and ethnic diversity in STEM indicate that w omen and those of non-W hite, non-Asian ethnicities continue to be underrepresented. Persisting disparities in STEM participation by race and gender are examples of first-order conflicts; there is general agreement that this lack of diversity in STEM is a problem in need of resolution (Chen & Soldner, 2013). Yet differences in proposed solutions reflect the deeper divisions that have not been fully articulated or explored. For example, some interventions focus on STEM exposure and closing academic and knowledge gap to support STEM success by w omen and people of color. Other interventions focus on unpacking the STEM culture and ways in which the culture itself may be inherently resistant to diversity and inclusion efforts. Resistance to diversity and inclusion may be best understood as a combination of subtle and overt forms of resistance that occur at both individual and organizational levels (Thomas & Plaut, 2008). Examples of overt resistance to diversity at the individual and organizational levels include verbal harassment and intentionally discriminatory h uman resources policies, respectively. Overt forms of diversity resistance are far less likely than subtle forms of resistance (Friedman & Davidson, 2001; Thomas & Plaut, 2008). Subtle resistance to diversity at the individual level may include avoidance (Lott & Maluso, 1995) or social distancing behaviors (Thomas, 2005). Organizational level forms of subtle resistance to diversity include the job placement of employees based on racial or ethnic similarity to certain work groups, mentors, or customer bases, which may result in stunted career development for minority professionals (Thomas & Plaut, 2008). These subtle forms of 212 Lindsay Brown et al.
resistance and conflict with diversity are frequently unconscious yet pervasive among majority group members, which positions them as most detrimental to the success of diversity practices (Friedman & Davidson, 2001). Thus, we believe discipline-led self-assessments of second-order conflict w ill enable the STEM community to better understand how well-meaning diversity interventions, such as the focus on access to mentors, may derail efforts to recruit and retain diverse talent. In fact, we would argue that in addition to a concern about access to mentoring for underrepresented STEM students, we should also attend to the development of mentors and the quality of mentoring they provide.
Divergent Diversity Ideologies: A Source of Second-Order Diversity Conflicts Racial and gender disparities in STEM participation fail to be eliminated due to the inability of STEM faculty and leaders to recognize the differences in diversity beliefs between themselves and the underrepresented students and colleagues they hope to attract and retain. Diversity practices may be impaired by this second- order conflict (Friedman & Davidson, 2001) that arises in the form of resistance and backlash to institutional engagement in diversity recruitment and retention practices. Initiatives aimed at resolving different forms of first-order conflict, such as targeted minority recruitment, may be undermined by implicit beliefs and attitudes employees hold that these efforts represent unfairness. Furthermore, the change that may be initially produced by addressing first-order conflicts w ill not be sustainable if organizations do not also consider the presence and impact of second-order conflict (Friedman & Davidson, 2001). Even when interventions, such as diverse mentoring programs, are implemented with an espoused value for diversity, the underlying diversity beliefs guiding these and other interventions and practices may signal to underrepresented students resistance more than inclusion. The term “diversity ideologies” refers to the overarching framework of beliefs that a person uses to understand and interpret Barriers to Diversifying STEM 213
diversity and inclusion. Like subtle and overt forms of diversity resistance, diversity ideologies can occur at both the individual level and organizational level. Furthermore, multilevel methodologists suggest that higher-level (e.g., group, organizational) phenomena manifest as various combinations of individual-level phenomena (Chan, 1998; Kozlowski & Klein, 2000). Therefore, second-order conflict may occur when various groups present in an organization have different diversity ideologies that shape differences in their expectations of w hether or not diversity and inclusion are worthwhile goals to pursue, and, if so, differences in how to pursue t hose goals. This conflict is likely magnified as the size, history, and perhaps perceived legitimacy of one group and their ideology are associated with more power and authority than other groups present.
second-o rder conflict and diversity ideologies: color blindness and multiculturalism Two of the most prominent diversity ideologies to emerge from the literat ure are color blindness and multiculturalism. “Color blindness” refers to the downplaying or complete erasure of differences between identity groups (Bonilla-Silva, 2003; Neville et al., 2000; Plaut, Thomas, & Goren, 2009). Conversely, multiculturalism suggests that not only do tangible differences between groups exist, but these differences should be embraced, understood, and valued (Wolsko et al., 2000). Color blindness suggests that substantive differences between groups do not exist. Many dominant group members (e.g., Whites) have been socialized and rewarded for endorsing color blindness as a misguided way of vocalizing antiracism (Bonilla-Silva, 2003) and promoting inclusion of all p eople by endorsing statements such as “I d on’t see color, only people.” Color blindness may be associated with deeply held prejudiced beliefs (Bonilla-Silva, 2003; Richeson & Nussbaum, 2004) that manifest in individual resistance to organizational diversity efforts. While this sentiment that race should not matter is rooted in inclusion (Neville et al., 2000), the implicit message buried in the heart of color 214 Lindsay Brown et al.
blindness is that differences across vari ous domains associated with race (e.g., educational attainment, economic status, access to healthcare, incarceration rates) are not real; therefore, interpersonal and systemic racial prejudice and discrimination do not exist (Neville, Gallardo, & Sue, 2015). From this color-blind perspective, disparities (first-order conflict) are the result of minorities’ lack of interest, lack of talent, and/or lack of effort. In contrast, multiculturalism promotes the acknowledgement and visibility of group differences as a way of valuing these differences and individuals (Takaki, 1993; Yinger, 1994). Research has generally found that multiculturalism is linked to outcomes more conducive to promoting diversity and inclusion, relative to color blindness. Color blindness has been associated with worse intergroup functions, such as higher racist attitudes and less empathy for people of color (Burkard & Knox, 2004; Richeson & Nussbaum, 2004). In addition, multicultural approaches to support diversity and inclusion, from a color blindness perspective, may be perceived as wasteful and exclusive rather than inclusive of the members and interests of the majority group members (Plaut et al., 2011). Therefore, second-order diversity conflicts may result when individuals’ expectations and behaviors to support diversity come from divergent ideological origins. Consider the potential for conflict if colleagues charged with developing a diversity taskforce have different diversity ideologies. One might want to support diversity by minimizing differences, whereas another might want to highlight and celebrate them. If an employee does not accept or view the possibility of racial inequalities, particularly in the workplace (e.g., lack of access to mentoring and lower pay), then that employee is less likely to accept the need for diversity initiatives that target first-order conflict. A colleague more oriented toward multiculturalism would likely expect more conversation, activity, and evidence of an organizational commitment that show differences are legitimate and should be explored as an asset (Thomas & Ely, 2001). However, for someone with a color-blind ideology, there is essentially no need for these organizational diversity efforts Barriers to Diversifying STEM 215
or “remedies” (Friedman & Davidson, 2001, p. 132). Color-blind individuals may perceive t hese initiatives as unneeded and even unfair, potentially breeding resentment among these individuals, whereas a lack of diversity initiatives and attention could be perceived as negligent and unjust from the perspective of a multicultural colleague. The potential for second-order diversity conflicts then increase when one ideology is held by those who have historically held power while those lacking power and influence embrace a different diversity belief system. Relatively few individual characteristics are correlates of diversity ideologies—specifically color blindness and multiculturalism— except for race. People of color (i.e., Black and Hispanic individuals) are less likely to endorse color blindness than Whites (Neville et al., 2000) and are more likely to be aware of multicultural issues (Chao et al., 2011) and endorse multiculturalism (e.g., Ryan et al., 2007). The association between racial identity group and diversity ideology should not be taken lightly. This research suggests that the overwhelmingly White majority found in most STEM disciplines w ill be largely color-blind rather than multicultural. It is important that STEM organizational leaders understand that the ideological culture of the organization w ill be shaped by the individuals within it and that a diverse organizational member pool is the first step in buffering against the backlash and resistance that may surface in the ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion. A growing body of literat ure demonstrates that White color blindness has the potential to derail ethnic minority expectations regarding organizational diversity as well as their own per formance. White color blindness, especially in contexts that lack diversity, may signal identity threats (Purdie-Vaughns & Walton, 2011) to ethnic minorities that result in lessened work engagement, performance decrements on a cognitive ability task, lowered self-efficacy, and perceptions of risk for prejudice and discrimination, as we w ill review next. Color blindness and multiculturalism have been associated with different outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities. Plaut, Thomas, and Goren (2009) found that higher levels of White 216 Lindsay Brown et al.
employees’ color blindness predicted lower levels of psychological engagement of employees of color. Conversely, higher levels of White employees’ multiculturalism predicted higher levels of psychological engagement of employees of color. Moreover, this effect was found to be mediated by the perceptions of bias among employees of color. White employees’ endorsement of color blindness predicted higher ethnic minority employees’ perceptions of workplace biases, which in turn predicted lower ethnic minority psychological engagement. The opposite pattern was found to play out when White employees embraced multiculturalism. Analysis of interracial dyadic interactions also found that color- blind ideology negatively affects the behavior of White individuals, which has a subsequent impact on the cognitive state of ethnic minority individuals with whom they interacted (Holoien and Shelton, 2012). Specifically, dyads in which the White partner was primed with color blindness predicted greater cognitive depletion among ethnic minority partners. This depletion was partially explained by the behavioral prejudice of White partners t oward ethnic minority partners. Behavioral prejudice was measured by coding and rating the verbal and nonverbal behaviors of White partners during a video recording of the interracial interaction. White partner behaviors were coded for perceived prejudice, offensiveness, and devaluation of the importance of racial issues in response to a prompt about e ither modern racism or ethnic diversity in schools. This effect was not found when the White partner was primed to be multicultural. In another study, cultural minority followers in university work groups felt more identity threat and lack of inclusion compared to cultural majority followers when the work group leader endorsed color blindness (Meeussen, Otten, & Phalet, 2014). A work group leader’s endorsement of multiculturalism was positively linked to cultural minority followers’ perceptions of group acceptance and inclusion. This effect did not hold for cultural majority members. In sum, individuals who endorse multiculturalism, rather than color blindness, may be more likely to accept and approve of diversity practices aimed at resolving inequities between groups, because they are more attuned to Barriers to Diversifying STEM 217
intergroup differences and are better able to perform in intergroup interactions. Individuals who endorse color blindness are more likely to hold implicit biases and engage in discriminatory behaviors, whether intentional or not. This certainly could have implications for the ability of STEM faculty mentors and leaders to form productive relationships with underrepresented students and post-docs, considering that many of those in positions of authority and power are from ethnic majority groups.
Diversified Mentoring in STEM The consequences of color blindness in STEM on racial minorities may be most influential in mentoring relationships. Mentoring, a developmental relationship in which a protégé gains numerous forms of c areer and social support from a more senior mentor (Dreher & Cox, 1996), is consistently recognized as beneficial for the protégé, the organization, and often the mentor. Mentors provide coaching, sponsorship, protection, guidance, and developmentally appropriate but challenging tasks (Kram, 1985). In STEM fields, mentoring has a strong positive impact on students advancing in their studies (Haring, 1999; Pfund et al., 2006). These mentoring relationships can provide access to research experiences that help to sustain interest, narrow academic focus, and decrease minority attrition in STEM fields (e.g., Carter, Mandell, & Maton, 2009; Fechheimer, Webber, & Kleiber, 2011). Students from underrepresented groups may have a more difficult time finding a more naturally occurring and organic mentoring relationship within their discipline, especially given the research indicating that professors prefer White male students to others (Hernandez et al., 2013). A recent study of 6,500 professors who w ere sent emails from potential graduate students revealed that students who appeared to be White males received more positive and more frequent responses than those of other groups (Milkman, Akinola, & Chugh, 2015). Yet, when minority students are able to connect with a STEM faculty member, they have the potential to be successful. In a longitudinal study of Black and 218 Lindsay Brown et al.
Latino STEM undergraduates, participation in research was the primary factor in success over time, and was related to the development of a scientific self-identity (Hernandez et al., 2013). Likewise, w omen and racial minority undergraduates in STEM programs with greater gender and racial diversity among graduate students are less likely to leave the field (Griffith, 2010). Yet gradu ate students across disciplines are more likely to leave their programs if they feel socially isolated (Herzig, 2004; Lovitts, 2001). Academic and social realms tend to be more integrated in doctoral study (Tinto, 1993), so those who are not a part of the graduate program’s cultural default may feel excluded in their work and have fewer social alternatives than they may have had as undergraduates. In an environment in which one may feel isolated or alienated, a mentor who can provide guidance across multiple aspects of academic life can make a substantial difference in academic success. Thus, underrepresented students’ mentors may play an especially significant role. Ethnic minority students frequently experience difficulty identifying a faculty mentor (Thomas, Willis, & Davis, 2007). Mentoring relationships are often built around some similarities between mentor and protégé, which serve as the basis of identification and mutual liking (e.g., Kram, 1985). For example, a White male professor may be drawn to a young man who reminds the professor of himself at that age, leading him to reach out to the student. The persistence of racially segregated personal and professional networks often results in differential access to the benefits reaped by mentoring through network connections (e.g., DiTomaso, 2013; Ibarra, 1995). Could the young man mentioned previously be more likely to have some connection to the professor through his personal network than, for example, a Black female student who is first in her f amily to attend college? Even when mentors are available and willing to engage in diversified mentoring, the benefits of these developmental relationships can still differ by mentor race. Protégés of White male mentors tend to receive better career outcomes than those with female or racial minority mentors (Dreher & Chargois, 1998; Barriers to Diversifying STEM 219
McGuire, 1999). White mentors also appear to provide better financial outcomes than female or ethnic minority mentors. For example, a study of MBA graduates indicated t hose protégés who had developed mentoring relationships with White male mentors earned significantly more annual compensation than alumni with no mentors or t hose whose mentors where w omen or people of color. Having a woman or person of color as your mentor was the same financially as having no mentor at all (Dreher & Cox, 1996). White male mentors m atter to career progression and financial attainment, especially for members of underrepresented groups, who could likely miss out on the guidance that would be essential in navigating the academic and social hurdles encountered in a STEM discipline, a barrier compounded for t hose who may already be outsiders. Mentors and role models also impact the retention of underrepresented students, both by shaping perceptions of belonging and inclusivity in the field and by providing guidance and instrumental support. Positive social interactions and support from mentors and role models help students from underrepresented groups get accepted to graduate programs and remain in them (Charleston, 2012). Conversely, culturally insensitive interactions with academic role models can negatively impact minority students’ academic self- concepts and aspirations. Whereas White male mentors are found to provide the instrumental functions of mentoring, both women and persons of color provide more psychosocial support and likely a more multicultural and inclusive perspective. White faculty have also been shown to often engage with minority undergraduates from a color-blind perspective (e.g., using race-neutral or color-blind language), which leads these students to evaluate themselves as academically inferior and disinterested in research and graduate studies (McCoy, Winkle-Wagner, & Luedke, 2015): “Faculty perceptions of students may influence the way Students of Color perceive their academic abilities and potential to achieve success in STEM disciplines and in graduate education” (p. 225). In STEM, therefore, color blindness may then also cause STEM faculty to focus their diversity strategies on 220 Lindsay Brown et al.
enhancing the exposure of underrepresented groups to STEM and addressing perceived academic deficiencies rather than addressing dysfunctional cultures within STEM that repel minority students through identity threats. Many STEM disciplines have specific cultural norms that may be difficult to learn, and the climate in traditionally homogenous, male-dominated fields can appear hostile to newcomers. Particularly if they lack the social support and guidance offered by effective mentors, students from underrepresented and marginalized groups may have a difficult time learning the cultural norms of the organization (Gerholm, 1990). This environment can make it less likely that t hese students w ill be able to seek out and to engage in the type of departmental, institutional, and professional activities that are traditionally associated with success in graduate programs (Bair, Grant Haworth, & Sandort, 2004).
Expanding Diversity Ideologies in STEM Mentoring: A New Research Agenda In light of this literat ure, the STEM academic community likely has a strong color-blind ideology that unintentionally and negatively impacts the attraction, retention, and advancement of people of color. Given the research on how color blindness signals identity threat for ethnic minorities, color-blind faculty mentors may encounter unexpected difficulties establishing successful, productive, and developmental relationships. Faculty mentors’ diversity ideologies may be significantly related to minority students’ perceptions of bias and discrimination risk, assessments of their program’s climate for diversity, program engagement, and turnover intentions. Specifically, color- blind faculty may be more likely to mentor minority students who develop perceptions of greater risk for bias and discrimination, have lower assessments of their program’s climate for diversity, are less engaged, and have greater intentions to turnover (leave the profession and/or leave the discipline), compared to t hose who have faculty who are more multicultural in their diversity ideology. Faculty Barriers to Diversifying STEM 221
mentors’ diversity ideology likely also impacts minority students’ assessment of their mentoring relationship, such that the perceived quality is less when faculty are color-blind rather than multicultural in their diversity ideology (Thomas, Willis, & Davis, 2007). In addition, faculty mentors’ diversity ideology may be related to students’ assessments of the specific mentoring functions provided, especially since minority students are likely to be mentored by someone of a different race (Thomas, 1990). Students with color- blind faculty mentors may be expected to receive the instrumental functions of mentoring, such as a focus on their knowledge and skill development. Students whose faculty mentors are more multicultural are expected to be more likely to also receive psychosocial support such as encouragement, social support, and exposure to diverse networks. Faculty mentors may see the diversity disparity problem in STEM differently, depending on their diversity ideology, and explain its existence differently and therefore likely employ differ ent practices to recruit and retain diverse talent. Color-blind faculty mentors may direct attention to the preparation and competence of underrepresented students, while those with a multicultural perspective may seek to deconstruct the impact of the STEM culture and draw attention to the lack of resources available to these students. We expect these perspectives might then translate into different mentorship strategies and styles. Color- blind faculty mentors may utilize strategies to expose more students to STEM disciplines and focus on academic remediation and preparation. In contrast, multicultural faculty mentors may also be committed to understanding and improving the climate for minorities—for example, institutionalizing affinity groups, focusing on building inclusive programs, and expanding students’ networks with other minority students, scientists, and allies. It may be time for the STEM community to further investigate how diversity ideologies affect the quality of diversified mentoring relationships and the ultimate impact of faculty mentoring perspectives and behaviors on the persistence and career aspirations of underrepresented students. 222 Lindsay Brown et al.
Conclusion In today’s STEM classrooms and workplaces, individuals bring with them different diversity ideologies and cultural values that may or may not be consistent with those of the underrepresented students and scientists they hope to recruit and retain. This perceived contrast in ideologies and values may have implications for minorities’ success in classrooms and in developmental relationships, such as mentoring relationships and diverse developmental dyads (Museus & Quaye, 2009; Barker, 2007). Given the history of White male dominance in the U.S. STEM workplace in particular, STEM leaders must become comfortable uncovering unarticulated diversity belief systems and ideologies that may create opportunities for second-order conflict that contribute to persisting first-order conflicts such as disparities in participation. Leaving these diversity ideologies and value systems uninvestigated and unexplored limits the opportunity for STEM to create consistently welcoming and supportive environments for women and ethnic minority colleagues. Even with a slowly increasing number of degrees being awarded to members of underrepresented groups, the cultural and ideological norms in t hese fields are not guaranteed to change.
recommendations • The STEM community must be willing to engage in more social-organizational work to uncover its values, belief systems, and inherent diversity models and ideologies. • Climate studies are likely one vehicle for this type of investigation. Climate data examined by respondent age, ethnicity/race, gender, and even STEM specialty can help uncover areas for f uture diversity training and development. • Exit surveys of individuals who have left graduate programs or professional roles may also yield data that reveal ways in which reasons for turnover reflect deep-seated ideological differences and expectations. • In addition to training related to diversity and inclusion, STEM graduate programs and organizations should evaluate how Barriers to Diversifying STEM 223
uman resource systems, which are essentially tools for STEM h socialization, perpetuate diversity models that derail the achievement of diversity goals and impede the attraction and retention of underrepresented minorities. Having hard conversations centered on questions such as “What do applicants learn about our organizations when they have a site visit for their interviews?” and “In what ways are our values for diversity and inclusion evident in how we select, retain, and promote?” is an important first step.
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11 Next Steps Not Easy but Quite Necessary Solutions for a More Equitable STEM Learning Experience ebony o. mcgee and william h. robinson
Although solutions to the problems discussed in this book are complex and labor-intensive, they are necessary if the United States is to achieve the innovation needed to continue leading in STEM fields and if communities of color are to self-actualize their commitments to social justice. H ere we consider the contributions from each chapter and offer some possible next steps that answer the need for more diverse and inclusive STEM spaces. As Baber (chapter 1) addresses the normalization of the dominant culture and how it encourages the systemic racism that persists in postsecondary STEM education programs, we are reminded of the color-blind way that STEM education is presented. What if STEM education were accompanied with an understanding of frames such as critical race theory (CRT), racial battle fatigue, and impostorism as countertheories that challenge the current colorblindness of STEM education? STEM learners and facilitators would then be primed to recognize and challenge its current biases. Current STEM programs and curricula lack critical education on color-blind liberalism in STEM disciplines. Baber suggests a path to create racial equity by shifting the focus from students to the 230
redesign of programming. These reconstructions would renovate sociocultural communities around practices of equity and social justice to prevent underrepresented students from being obliged to assimilate, thereby expanding the creative potential of STEM. Continued research on systematic and structural racism should become a permanent feature of educational, social, economic, and political systems. This would help researchers to undo the products of the current system, such as racial microaggressions and racial battle fatigue. It could add long-overdue consideration of cultural and interpersonal racism, which regularly threatens the intentions, satisfaction, and c areer trajectories of STEM students of color. Reversing or at least reducing the force of systemic racism in STEM environments w ill make a more fulfilling STEM life possible for all participants. Full membership in STEM could make STEM more innovative and equitable and could significantly alter our technological f uture. In chapter 2, Chapman reviews the propensity for institutional practices and policies to advantage certain groups while disadvantaging and devaluing o thers, and recommends that the STEM community no longer ignore racial and gender marginalization in STEM. The structure of most institutions practically requires the racial camouflaging of students of color, and Chapman recommends a thorough examination of the invisible roles that institutions, STEM disciplines, and faculty communities play in reproducing societal biases in STEM. Chapman’s Thrive Mosaic framework creates holistic accountability measures designed to ensure that STEM learners are given an equitable academic experience. To create a healthy academic STEM student experience, Chapman provides a blueprint for STEM departments and colleges to conduct an environmental audit that allows them to examine themselves structurally, including an accurate assessment of faculty-community biases. A fter such an audit, institutions w ill be able to provide a more equitable and culturally rich environment. Taking up Chapman’s challenge would disrupt biased practices and create a social atmosphere that devalues microaggressions, encourages students to express the richness of their identities, Next Steps 231
and—optimally—a llows nontraditional students to more easily visualize a career in academia. In chapter 3, Cox draws a parallel between the birther movement and the constant need that w omen of color in STEM feel to prove their competence despite their accomplishments. However, it also offers an opportunity to recognize the complexities of existing in a body that is marginalized by race and gender. Cox’s usage of Hughey’s (2012) concept of birtherism advocates expansion of STEM student diversity as a necessity for exploring the social construction of belonging in STEM academia. She argues that White middle-to upper-class men have traditionally been viewed as the experts, which creates a sense of jus sanguinis (birthright by parents’ nationality) entitlement to knowledge production. Rather than question how limited access to the academy has influenced the present paucity of non-W hite, nonmale scientists, individuals who challenge the presence of women of color in STEM treat newcomers as interlopers. Alternatively, Cox compares jus soli (birthright by soil or natural-born citizenship) to the work that women of color in STEM accomplish to earn access to the acad emy. Cox’s work illuminates the fact that w omen of color in STEM are profiled, much like immigrants suspected of being undocumented, and constantly required to prove their qualifications (under discriminatory practices and irrelevant criteria). Cox’s work can be extended to focus on how this jus sanguinis versus jus soli distinction can interfere with the c areer trajectories of talented STEM students of color who are exhausted from continually proving their right to receive an advanced STEM degree. We are encouraged by Cox’s recommendations for women of color and administrators in STEM higher education. At EDEFI, our own analysis emphasizes the importance of leveraging professional networks for education or career advancement and support (McGee et al., 2016). Our additional recommendation is to establish a collaborative effort by administrators, staff, faculty, and students to create and sustain these crucial networks on campus by providing sufficient resources of time, talent, and money.
232 Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
In chapter 4, Madden and her colleagues warn against treating women of color as a monolithic entity. Especially in the context of STEM, resisting the urge to accept a single narrative is vital to understanding systemic structures and how they present barriers to w omen of color. Feminist critiques have historically been whitewashed, lacking an intersectional perspective and the voices of women of color. In this chapter, three women share their varied experiences in order to address the interaction among their many identities and the ways in which o thers identify them. They touch on a wide range of topics, including Black motherhood, geograph ical transitions, pregnancy, marriage, divorce, transitions from racially affirming higher education settings to predominantly White ones, international status, Islamic cultural upbringing, parental influences, the integration of academic and employment obligations, mixed cultural and racial heritage, oppressive academic practices and policies, and spirituality. We agree with the chapter’s authors that this evolution toward respecting and valuing the difference that women of color bring to STEM fields creates conditions for more innovative, inclusive, and equitable STEM. Additional narratives of w omen of color navigating STEM would help to reduce racialized stereot ypes and establish a richer, more complex co-construction of women of color in STEM. To that end, we are encouraged by the research produced through the National Society of Black Engineers, “Potential Ignored: A Collaborative Roadmap for Increasing African-American W omen in Engineering” (Fletcher et al., 2017). This report draws on the gendered racist experience using social science constructs that include stereot ype threat, intersectionality, tokenism, and biculturalism. The report also outlines systemic factors like pay inequities that disadvantage women of color. Partnerships between STEM researchers investigating inequities in STEM and organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers and the National Society of Blacks in Computing could result in more momentous and sustainable efforts and interventions.
Next Steps 233
In chapter 5, Mutegi uses the frame of systemic racism to demonstrate the troubled success of students of African descent who persist in STEM despite the academic dislocation that pushes them out of a STEM discipline that is perceived as more rigorous and socially valued and into a STEM discipline that seems more accepting of Black achievement. Thus, the fact that Ernest, through systemic racism, was shunted from physics to biology should be seen as a misrepresentation and misrecognition of his STEM talents rather than a Black male STEM success story. Mutegi’s research exposes connotations of various STEM fields and posits racialized reasons for the almost complete absence of students of African descent in certain STEM fields (e.g., astronomy, atmospheric sciences, earth sciences, and ocean sciences). We do not know where Ernest’s STEM c areer trajectory w ill take him, but we do know that the number of Black men in medical schools and in the medical profession is decreasing. For example, only 515 Black or African American men were enrolled in medical school in 2014 compared with 542 in 1978 (National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, 2018). Therefore, Ernest’s academic pathway is even more tenuous. F uture studies should focus on STEM fields with acute racial disparities and how Black students are pushed out of t hose particular fields. Additionally, studies on race and gender should zero in on the complexities associated with being a Black w oman in STEM and investigate how Black men also face gendered forms of racism. STEM researchers could benefit from the research of Smith and colleagues, who coined the term “Black misandry” and defined it as “an exaggerated pathological aversion toward Black men created and reinforced in societal, institutional, and individual ideologies, practices, and behaviors” (Smith, Yosso, & Solórzano, 2007). In chapter 6, Carter Andrews examines the persistence of Black undergraduate students in engineering majors. She found that (a) preparedness for the major, (b) culture and climate, (c) race and discrimination, and (d) motivation and support were all contributing factors to the degree attainment of Black students. While these undergraduate students are early in the pipeline, many of 234 Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
their experiences in engineering mirror what our research team has found at the doctoral level. For example, all the students in Carter Andrews’s sample cited their family as motivation for degree completion. In our 2016 paper examining the motivation of Black engineering students for PhD attainment (McGee et al.), nineteen out of forty-four participants indicated that family was a strong motivational force for pursuing a doctoral degree in engineering. Having something to prove was another theme that showed up across these studies. The undergraduates in Carter Andrews’s study said that having something to prove was a strong factor in their degree persistence, while our study found that doctoral students often mentioned that obtaining a PhD was a way to prove their intellectual abilities. It may be true that some of the factors that push students to persist toward their undergraduate degree can continue to motivate and push them during their graduate studies. Chapter 7 is motivated by an important racial demographic imbalance in the discipline of engineering. Compared to Whites and some Asians, t here are significantly fewer Black faculty members and Black gradu ate students in engineering, and Black graduate students are more likely to lose interest in faculty careers during graduate school. This result can be attributed to the lack of support systems and the racial barriers they encounter. The survey conducted by the EDEFI team has important empirical and theoretical implications. It addresses racial disparities in engineering and computing and provides ways to measure these disparities and understand the possible causes. With ECDES, researchers can investigate the critical f actors that affect doctoral students’ c areer decision-making and mental health outcomes. Moreover, because ECDES includes elements designed to mea sure why graduate students lose interest in pursuing a faculty career, it can also help researchers to understand the systematic and institutional discrimination that occurs in academia. Chapter 8 discusses the challenges, experiences, and characteristics of Black students in preK–12 and offers insights useful for those students in STEM higher education. The findings lead to identifying the reasons for Black students’ participation, Next Steps 235
engagement, and potential outcomes in STEM. Milner and Farinde-Wu considered factors such as (1) the disproportion in punishment and missed learning opportunities, (2) racially and culturally dis-a ligned learning opportunities, and (3) the under- nuanced discourse about achievement. These factors affect the formation of students’ STEM identities and continue to manifest throughout their studies in higher education. We agree that more investigation is needed to understand how preK–12 educational experiences shaped the success of Black engineering faculty. We can develop an interview protocol for Black engineering faculty that enables them to reflect on their preK–12 educational experiences and how those events influenced their decision to pursue STEM. In parallel, data can be collected from current preK–12 students in STEM programs to determine whether their experiences match the reflections of current faculty. By analyzing these data, EDEFI can examine the similarities and differences between Black students in preK–12 and Black students and faculty in higher education to determine best practices for diversifying STEM. In chapter 9, Jett and Davis use extant literat ure to identify three contributing factors to the success of Black males in STEM disciplines: (1) personal attributes of Black males, (2) support structures for Black males, and (3) supportive culturally relevant and social justice instructional practices. When considering the personal attributes that Black males rely on for their success, it is necessary to contextualize them within the institutionalized racism and oppressive structures that are also part of the STEM education experience. Too often, research takes a gap-gazing and deficit- oriented approach, but these authors take an asset- oriented approach in their interpretation of the research literature that makes valuable contributions to the conversation about Black males in STEM. EDEFI encourages continued inquiry into success factors coupled with the potentially harmful effects of institutional structures that negate those positive benefits. The historical context matters if we are to make strides to increase diversity in STEM. 236 Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
We suggest Slaton’s book, Race, Rigor, and Selectivity in U.S. Engineering: The History of an Occupational Color Line, as additional material to describe the landscape of STEM education In chapter 10, Brown and colleagues identified differing diversity ideologies—beliefs regarding diversity, including the origins of and solutions to diversity-related problems—as a critical impediment to the well-being and success of people of color in STEM contexts. These authors show how second-order conflicts can arise due to divergent diversity ideologies by focusing the reader’s attention on mentoring relationships between minoritized students and STEM mentors, who are often White men, due to the demographic makeup of many STEM departments. These relationships can be regressive when mentors embrace color-blind beliefs and practices that erase minoritized students’ racial differences, dismiss the effects of racism, and engage in deficit-based thinking about the students as opposed to the support structures and resources available to their students. Based on our own research as well as that of our colleagues across academia, the EDEFI research group has been interested in the relationships between doctoral students in engineering and computing who have been marginalized, and in their faculty mentors. Based on the knowledge we have gained, we have developed and implemented a coaching program that is intentionally color- conscious for Black doctoral and postdoctoral students interested in pursuing careers in the professoriate. We match students with Black engineering and social science faculty, who serve as coaches. Ideally, this programming would become more widespread. However, b ecause of the low proportions of underrepresented faculty of color and the reality that faculty of color cannot be solely responsible for diversification, minoritized students are currently and w ill continue to enter diversified mentoring relationships with mentors whose diversity ideologies can clash with their own. Future research that EDEFI and other researchers should pursue is collecting dyadic data on the diversity ideologies of students and their advisors, the practices of mentors, and the outcomes for students. The mentor’s beliefs that drive interactions with a student Next Steps 237
should be considered when assessing the impact of mentoring. Second-order conflicts arising from t hese ideological and unarticulated differences may be less transparent and less difficult to address, relative to more obvious first-order conflicts. As such, focused research should illuminate the effects and mitigating factors of t hese deep-seated belief systems.
References Fletcher, T., Ross, M., Tolbert, D., Holly, J., Cardella, M., Godwin, A., & DeBoer, J. (2017). Potential ignored: A collaborative roadmap for
increasing African-A merican women in engineering. http://w ww.nsbe .org/getattachment/ News-Media/ NSBE-News/ignored-potential / NSBE-Ignored-Potential-W hitepaper-2-27-17.PDF.aspx.
Hughey, M. W. (2012). Show me your papers! Obama’s birth and the whiteness of belonging. Qualitative Sociology, 35(2), 163–181.
McGee, E. O., White, D. T., Jenkins, A. K., Bentley, L., Houston, S.,
Smith, D., Robinson, W., & Botchway, P. K. (2016). The motivation
behind PhD attainment for Black engineering doctoral students:
Passion plus purpose. Journal for Multicultural Education, 10(2), 167–193.
National Academies of Sciences, E., & Medicine. (2018). An American
crisis: The growing absence of Black men in medicine and science: Proceedings of a joint workshop. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Slaton, A. E. (2010). Race, rigor, and selectivity in U.S. engineering: The
history of an occupational color line. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univer-
Smith, W. A., Yosso, T. J., & Solórzano, D. G. (2007). Racial primes and Black misandry on historically White campuses: T oward critical race
accountability in educational administration. Educational Administration Quarterly, 43(5), 559–585.
238 Ebony O. McGee and William H. Robinson
The editors thank the past and current members of our research group, the Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative (EDEFI). We thank Dr. Dara Naphan-K ingery for her assistance with editing the introductory chapter. We also acknowledge her key role with implementing the Professoriate Bound: Online Coaching for Black Engineering Scholars program. The editors thank all the doctoral students, the postdoctoral scholars, the faculty, the program coordinators, the administrators, the deans, and other institutional leaders who have participated in this research over the years. We are grateful for the scholars who contributed their expertise for our video-based mentoring series, as well as those scholars who also contributed chapters to this edited volume. EDEFI has received multiple grants from the National Science Foundation to support this work.
Notes on Contributors
lorenzo dubois baber is associate professor at Iowa State University. His research draws from frameworks in sociology and critical theory, and centers on the experiences of traditionally underrepresented students in postsecondary education. Dr. Baber focuses specifically on the topics of college readiness; persistence in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; and community college leadership. Each of t hese areas contributes to expanding postsecondary opportunities for underrepresented students and improving diversity across institutional contexts. He views this research as imperative for the continued advancement of social justice and equity in the United States. lindsay brown is a doctoral candidate in the Industrial- Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Georgia. She also serves as a doctoral fellow for the J. W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development. She has published work on workplace discrimination, mentoring, employee dissimilarity, and diversity in STEM. Her current research focuses on the impact of organizational diversity climate and community diversity on public safety serv ice providers’ beliefs about the community members they serve, the public safety occupation, and individual behaviors t oward clients. dorinda j. cart er andrews is associate dean for equity and inclusion for the College of Education and an associate professor
in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, where she teaches courses on racial identity development, urban education, critical multiculturalism, and critical race theory. She is also a core faculty member in the African American and African Studies Program. Dr. Carter Andrews’s research is broadly focused on racial justice and educational equity. She studies issues of racial justice in P–12 learning contexts and on college campuses, urban teacher preparation and identity development, and critical race praxis with K–12 educators. Her scholarship examines these issues by illuminating voices of youth and adults who have been historically and traditionally marginalized in schools and society. Dr. Carter Andrews is a former industrial engineer, high school math teacher, and kindergarten teacher and has teaching experience in suburban, urban, charter, and in de pen dent schools. She is the recipient of the 2018 Mid-Career Award from the Critical Examination of Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender in Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. In addition to numerous honors, she has given two TEDx talks on education—“ The Consciousness Gap in Education: An Equity Imperative” and “Teach Kids to Be Eagles: Overcoming Educational Storms.” Dr. Carter Andrews is coeditor of the Journal of Teacher Education. robbin chapman is associate dean for diversity, inclusion and belonging at the Harvard Kennedy School. Previously, she served as associate provost and academic director of diversity and inclusion, and lecturer in education at Wellesley College. Dr. Chapman earned her SM and her PhD degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and conducted research at the MIT Artificial Intelligence and MIT Media Laboratories. Her research interests include design and use of computational tools for learning in public spaces, and for supporting scholar activism. Dr. Chapman teaches a design-focused course, Learning and Teaching in a Digital World, and challenges students to reimagine how learning flourishes in partnership with digital technologies. Her publications include the book The Computer Clubhouse: Constructionism 242 Notes on Contributors
and Creativity in Youth Communities and chapters in Communities of Practice: Creating Learning Environments for Educators, Wiley Handbook of Learning Technology, Counter-narratives from Women of Color Academics: Bravery, Vulnerability, and Resistance, Diversifying STEM: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Race and Gender, and Thrive Mosaic Developmental Framework: A Systems- Activist Approach to Marginalized STEM Scholar Success. In 2016, MIT established the annual Dr. Robbin Chapman Excellence through Adversity Award to honor MIT undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate excellence in leadership. Dr. Chapman is a 2018–2020 Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer, currently serves on a number of nonprofit boards, and is regional liaison for the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, administered through the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. She provides executive coaching to senior leadership and is a consul tant to numerous organizations. monica f. cox, PhD, is professor and inaugural chair of the Department of Engineering Education at the Ohio State University. She is also the director of the International Institute of Engineering Education Assessment (i2e2a) and the CEO of STEMinent LLC, a company that houses educational assessment, Prepared to Be a Pioneer® professional development, and Quirky Time® media offerings. In 2011, she became the first African American w oman to earn tenure in the College of Engineering at Purdue University. Her research focuses on the use of mixed methodologies to explore significant research questions in undergraduate, graduate, and professional engineering education; to explore issues of intersectionality among w omen, particularly w omen of color in engineering; and to develop, disseminate, and commercialize reliable and valid assessment tools for use in STEM education. Dr. Cox has led and collaborated on multidisciplinary projects totaling approximately $15 million. She has also authored over 100 publications, including Excellence: Why Being Average is Never an Option (2018), “Ethics and Sustainability in Global Contexts: Studying Engineering Student Perspectives Through Photoelicitation” Notes on Contributors 243
(2018), and “A Strategic Blueprint for the Alignment of Doctoral Competencies with Disciplinary Expectations” (2016). Dr. Cox earned her BS in mathematics from Spelman College, a master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Alabama, and a PhD in leadership and policy studies from Vanderbilt University. julius davis, EdD, is associate professor of mathematics education in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development in the College of Education at Bowie State University. Davis has two main strands of research, on Black male students and teachers in urban schools. His research of Black male students critically examines their mathematical experiences and the impact of policies on them. Davis’s research of Black male mathematics teachers focuses on content and pedagogical knowledge, academic and professional experiences, and policies that shape their praxis. abiola farinde-w u is assistant professor of urban education in the Department of Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts–Boston. Her research examines the educational experiences and outcomes of Black women and girls. Highlighting how racial, social, and cultural issues impact the educational opportunities and treatment of Black w omen and girls, she investigates policies, structures, and practices that influence the recruitment, retention, and matriculation of this par tic u lar group. Complementing her research, her teaching and serv ice focus on preparing pre-service and in-service teachers for diverse student populations. Farinde-Wu has authored and coauthored numerous peer-reviewed studies and has also coedited a book titled Black Female Teachers: Diversifying the United States’ Teacher Workforce (Emerald, 2017). stacey houston ii is assistant professor in the Department of Criminology, Law & Society at George Mason University. His research interests center around understanding the causes and 244 Notes on Contributors
consequences of justice system involvement. Schooling and racial health disparities are two c auses and consequences that are central to his research agenda. Dr. Houston’s recent work explores the link between education, justice system involvement, and well-being. More specifically, his work investigates how disciplinary practices in early education contribute to involvement with the justice system, which, in turn, leads to health disparities across racial groups. Dr. Houston is working on a series of projects that focus on life course outcomes for youth as a function of justice system presence, or what he calls “justice system toxic reach.” Th ese proj ects investigate the role that residential proximity to justice facilities plays in deteriorating health of youth. In other words, this line of work investigates the ways in which justice system presence is a systematic environmental health hazard. Dr. Houston utilizes a wide-range of quantitative methods with large, longitudinal data sets. He has expertise in quasi-experimental research designs and has several years of experience with program evaluation. Dr. Houston is currently leading the evaluation of a United Planning Organization reentry program funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. christopher c. jett is associate professor of mathematics education in the Department of Mathematics at the University of West Georgia (UWG) in Carrollton, GA, where he became the first African American to earn tenure in the College of Science and Mathematics in 2017. His research investigates the mathematics experiences of high-achieving African American male STEM majors using qualitative methods and race-based frameworks and aims to broaden the participation of African American men in STEM. Dr. Jett was a member of UWG’s inaugural cohort of emerging leaders and participated in the Project Kaleidoscope STEM Leadership Institute during summer 2018. He received UWG’s 2016 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award, the 2018 Best of the West—Academic Affairs Strategic Imperative Award, and w ill receive the 2019 Early C areer Award from the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators. Dr. Jett’s Notes on Contributors 245
current research proj ect has been funded via the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) prestigious Early Career Development Award. He acknowledges this NSF support via Award No. 1553379 in the preparation of his chapter and offers that the opinions and recommendations in his chapter are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF. gabriela león-p érez is assistant professor of sociology at V irginia Commonwealth University. Her research interests include internal and international migration, the experiences of Latinx immigrants in the United States, and health disparities. Her most recent project examined the pre-and post-migration health trajectories of return U.S. mig rants, internal mig rants, and indigenous mig rants from Mexico. Other ongoing projects include research on Mexican skilled migration to the United States and the effects of stress, l egal status, and state policies on immigrants’ health and well-being. The underlying goal of Gabriela’s research agenda is to clarify the role of social, structural, and contextual factors in creating health and social inequalities, as well as to identify resources that improve the outcomes of immigrants and other minority populations in the United States. Her work is largely interdisciplinary, and she has collaborated actively with researchers in the fields of education, anthropology, psychology, public health, and medicine. Her research has been published in journals in the fields of medical sociology, public health, and demography. Gabriela received a PhD in sociology from Vanderbilt University, an MA in sociology from Texas A&M International University, and a BA in international studies from the Universidad de Monterrey in Mexico. Her doctoral studies were supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. krystal madden is a PhD student in learning sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago and adjunct instructor of microbiology. She holds a master of science degree in comparative pathobiology and is a former laboratory scientist. Krystal is an African American woman from Mississippi and an HBCU graduate. Her 246 Notes on Contributors
research interests include racialized identity and the persistence of African American women in science. alissa m. manolescu is a human capital consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she leads the design, development, and implementation of cybersecurity talent management solutions. She helps lead the firm’s Women in Cyber initiative to recruit, retain, and advance underrepresented populations in the cybersecurity field. She has conducted research on workplace diversity and inclusion in STEM, and has presented on the topic at the annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Ms. Manolescu holds an MA degree in industrial-organizational psychology from the University of Georgia. danny bernard martin is professor of education and mathe matics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research has focused primarily on understanding the salience of race and identity in Black learners’ mathematical experiences, taking into account sociohistorical forces, community forces, school forces, and individual agency. He is author of the book Mathematics Success and Failure Among African Youth (2000), coauthor of The Impact of Identity in K–8 Mathematics Learning and Teaching (2013), editor of Mathematics Teaching, Learning, and Liberation in the Lives of Black Children (2009), and coeditor of The Brilliance of Black Children in Mathematics: Beyond the Numbers and T oward New Discourse (2013). ebony o. mcgee is associate professor of diversity and STEM education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. Dr. McGee examines the impact of racialized experiences and bias on STEM education and c areer for racially minoritized students and faculty. She investigates how marginalization undercuts accomplishments in STEM through psychological stress, interrupted STEM career trajectories, impostor phenomenon, and other debilitating issues. h. richard milner iv (also known as Rich) is Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Education and professor of education in the Notes on Contributors 247
Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Previously, he was Helen Faison Endowed Chair of Urban Education, professor of education, professor of sociology (by courtesy), professor of social work (by courtesy), and professor of Africana studies (by courtesy), as well as director of the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh. His research, teaching, and policy interests concern urban education, teacher education, African American literature, and the social context of education. Professor Milner’s research examines practices and policies that support teacher effectiveness in urban schools. Professor Milner’s work has appeared in numerous journals, and he has published six books. His most recent are Start Where You Are but Don’t Stay There: Understanding Diversity, Opportunity Gaps, and Teaching in Today’s Classrooms (2010), Rac(e)ing to Class: Confronting Poverty and Race in Schools and Classrooms (2015), and These Kids Are Out of Control: Why We Must Reimagine Classroom Management for Equity (2018). jomo w. mutegi is associate professor of science education at Indiana University– Purdue University Indianapolis, and principal investigator of the (ES)2 STEM Learning Lab. His research is aimed at better understanding and disrupting systemic racism in the STEM education of p eople of African descent. Select publications include “ ‘Life’s First Need Is for Us to Be Realistic’ and Other Reasons for Examining the Sociohistorical Construction of Race in the Science Performance of African American Students” (2013); “ ‘Returning to the Root’ of the Problem: Improving the Social Condition of African Americans through Science and Mathe matics Education” (2017); and “The Snare of Systemic Racism and Other Challenges Confronting Hip-Hop Based Pedagogy” (2018). dara naphan-k ingery is an interdisciplinary social psychologist and postdoctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University with the Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative group. She is interested in the effects of racialized and gendered
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experiences of underrepresented and marginalized students in engineering on their m ental health and academic outcomes, as well as how mentoring mitigates their negative impacts. She is especially interested in how identity management strategies mediate the relationship between perceived discrimination and negative mental health outcomes. Her recent work has explored how marginalized students develop social justice concerns in engineering and the role this can play in attracting and retaining underrepresented students to the field. Dara graduated with her PhD in interdisciplinary social psychology and her MA in sociology from the University of Nevada, Reno. priscila pereira, born and raised in Brazil, is a PhD student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the coordinator of Mentoring con Ganas, a peer mentoring program for Latinx undergraduate students pursuing STEM majors. Her research focuses on the educational experiences of Black and Afro-Brazilian women in higher education in Brazil and the United States. In particular, she is interested in the ways in which racial, gender, and mathematical identities are co-constructed and influenced by academic experiences within and across different African diasporic social and political contexts. laura provolt, a doctoral candidate in the University of Georgia’s Industrial-Organizational Program, is currently collecting data for her dissertation, which addresses the role of informal social networks as a mechanism of systematic hiring discrepancies among mothers reentering the workplace. She recently completed an internship in organizational effectiveness at Novelis Inc in Atlanta, GA. Her master’s research addressed the role of mindfulness training on cognitive awareness and intentional control of unconscious racial and gender bias in the context of applicant evaluation. Before coming to UGA, Ms. Provolt earned bachelor’s degrees in psychol ogy and business administration-finance at Humboldt State University, California.
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sara rezvi is CPS instructional coach at the University of Chicago by day and a fourth-year doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Chicago by night. She coaches k–8th grade teachers how to teach mathematics from an experiential and social-justice model and has taught mathematics in grades 7 through 12 in New York City, Mexico, and Chicago. She is currently a graduate student at UIC working on her doctorate in mathematics curriculum and instruction, along with minoring in gender and w omen’s studies. Her research interests include critical race feminism, educational policy, phenomenological approaches, poetics, science fiction futurity, discourse analysis, and ethnographic methods. She has presented at TODOS (2018), CRSEA (2018), and IUPUI (2017) and is currently in the preliminary phase of her doctoral program. aspen robinson is a gradu ate student in the Industrial- Organizational (IO) Psychology Doctoral Program at the University of Georgia. Her research interests include workplace discrimination, minority experiences at work, and the impact of organizational diversity messages on individual outcomes. Aspen has published an article about Black lives in organization and has presented research on sexual minority employees’ diversity climate perceptions and on the relationship between gender and leadership self-efficacy at work. Aspen received a bachelor’s degree from UGA and a master’s degree in IO psychology from UNC–Charlotte. william h. robinson, PhD, is professor of electrical engineering and associate dean for academic success at Vanderbilt University. He is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and a lifetime member of the National Society of Black Engineers. kecia m. thomas is professor of industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology and African-American studies and the founding director of the Center for Research and Engagement in Diversity. Dr. Thomas currently serves as the sen ior associate dean for 250 Notes on Contributors
faculty affairs and diversity in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at UGA. She is an expert in the psychology of workplace diversity. Her scholarship and institutional engagements focus on the issues of strategic diversity recruitment, supporting diversity in STEM workplaces, and understanding the career experiences of high-potential women of color. She has directed over twenty dissertations and has trained a significant proportion of people of color in I/O today. She is the author of over fifty peer-reviewed articles and book chapters as well as Diversity Dynamics in the Workplace. She also served as editor for six other volumes. Her research has been funded by federal agencies, for-profit and nonprofit institutions, as well as corporate foundations. She is an elected fellow of both the Society for I-O Psychology and the American Psychological Association, as well as a recipient of the Janet Chusmir Award for Distinguished Serv ice from the Acad emy of Management. Dr. Thomas earned a BA in psychology and Spanish from Bucknell University (1988) and her MS (1990) and PhD (1993) in I/O psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. She is also a graduate of the HERS Management Institute at Wellesley College and the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program. victoria F. trinder is clinical assistant professor in curriculum and instruction and coordinator of the BA in urban elementary education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests include the development of teachers’ identities and the analysis of colonial landscapes in public education. Dr. Trinder’s scholarship currently includes the development of critical frameworks for teacher learning and unlearning in licensure programs that hinge specifically upon critical analyses of race, class, language, and gender; and the political knowledge for teachers necessary to mitigate the impact of t hese in White institutional spaces of education.
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Academic and Research Leadership Network, 8 academic dislocation, 115–116 accreditation, 60; agencies for, 49 achievement, under-nuanced discourse about (the perceived achievement gap), 171, 179–183, 184, 236 ACT, 96 advanced placement (AP) courses/ programs, 122, 127, 182, 197 affinity groups, 131, 137, 222 affirmative action, 55, 73 African Americans: in the ECDES, 140–144, 148, 149, 157, 158; and HBCUs, 30, 87; impact on, of preK–12 experiences, 169–185; impact on, of the perceptions of others, 130, 133, 134; improving the lives of, through research, 114, 117, 118; literat ure of, 186n7; in medical school, 234; in middle and high school, 12; participation of, in research, 218–219; persistence of, in STEM, 27, 108, 122–138, 159, 195, 234–235; and punishment, 172–176; rights of, in American history, 59; and STEM degrees, 2–3, 24, 25, 26, 30, 109, 159; as STEM faculty, 3, 9, 56, 60, 140–141, 237; in the STEM research workforce, as shaped by systemic racism, 107–119; in STEM textbooks, 177; working in Silicon
Valley, 3. See also Black boys; Black girls; Black men; Black women; Pan-A fricanism Akinola, M., 218 Alaska Natives, 148, 149 Allen, A., 175 Allen, K. M., 193 Allen, W. R., 115 Allum, J., 3, 142–143 Amantí, C., 181 American Council on Education (ACE), 170 American Education Research Association, 179–180 American Indians. See Native Americans American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), 141, 148, 156; Engineering Data Management System, 147, 156 Anderson, E., 124 anthropology, 7 anxiety, 89, 112, 146, 151, 179 Anzaldúa, Gloria, 72, 75–76, 78 Apple, M. W., 182 Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, 50 Aronson, J., 39, 170 Ash, R. A., 152 Ashcraft, C., 1 Asians, 90, 160n2; in the ECDES, 148, 149; among engineering faculty, 143, 235; as STEM students, 1, 144, 170,
Asians (cont.) 186n4, 212, 235. See also South Asian patriarchy assimilation, cultural, 27, 29, 31, 75 Association of American Colleges and Universities, 37 astronomy, 104, 107, 111, 115, 234 atmospheric sciences, 25, 26, 234 attrition: from graduate school, 154–155; minority, in STEM fields, 218; of WOC STEM faculty, 56, 58 Atwater, M. M., 124, 127, 173 Babco, E. L., 143 Baber, Lorenzo DuBois, 2, 10, 230, 241; on color-blind liberalism, 19–32 bachelor’s degrees: and parents of STEM graduate students, 149, 150; in science and engineering, for students of color, 2, 7, 25 Bair, C. R., 221 Baker, C. E., 3 Baldwin, James, 186n7 Banda, R. M., 201 Barabino, G., 4, 72 Barker, M. J., 223 Barry, T. R., 155 Battey, D., 72 Beasley, M. A., 124 Bell, Derrick A., 27, 28, 178 Bell, Sean, 178 Benard, S., 212 Bennett, J. C., 3 Bentley, L. C., 3 Berry, R. Q. , 192, 195 Berry, T. R., 78 Berwick, D. M., 155 Bettinger, E. P., 143 Beutel, A. M., 155 biases, 5, 10, 11, 13, 36, 38, 41, 48, 49, 218, 230; faculty community, 39–40, 231; gender, 211–212; in hiring and promotions, 211; identifying and disrupting, 48–49, 231–232; McGee’s research on, 7; perceptions of, among
minorities, 217, 221; propagated by textbooks, 177–178; STEM discipline, 39; unconscious, 37, 39, 44; and universalism, 22, 26. See also microaggressions; racism; sexism Biggs, J., 43 Bilimoria, D., 56 biology, 76, 87, 107, 110–111, 112, 114, 115, 127, 234 birtherism, 11, 53–64, 232 Bizot, B., 142, 143 Black, L., 71, 72, 73, 73–74 Black boys, 5; and the effects of punishment on achievement, 171, 172–176, 177, 179, 184; factors that contribute to STEM success of, 13, 192–203, 236. See also African Americans Black girls, 93, 200. See also African Americans Black men, 5; factors that contribute to STEM success of, 13, 192–203, 236; impacts on, of the perceptions of others, 129; killings of unarmed, 178–179; in medical school, 234. See also African Americans Black misandry, 234 Black w omen, 70, 76, 86, 200–201, 219, 234; and feminism/womanism, 11; identity of, 77, 80, 81, 85, 89, 90–91; and intersectionality, 55, 74; and motherhood, 80, 81, 86, 88, 89, 90, 233; obstacles faced by, in STEM, 86, 94–95, 101, 123, 128, 234; persistence of, in STEM, 76; in predominantly White settings, 88; stereot ypes of, 89, 91, 93, 123. See also African Americans Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo, 2, 23, 26, 73, 214 Bonner, F. A., 192 borderlands theory, 75–76, 85 Boud, D., 152 Bourdieu, P., 42, 175 Bowman, P. J., 158 Brah, A., 79
Brammer, C. N., 54 Brazil, 70, 77, 90–94 Breitzman, A., 1 Brickhouse, N. W., 19, 22 Bronstein, P., 56 Brooks, Gwendolyn, 100–101 Brooms, D. R., 192 Brown, J. W., 55 Brown, Lindsay, 13, 237, 241; on understanding barriers to diversifying STEM though uncovering ideological conflicts, 209–224 Brown, Michael, 178 Brown students, 123, 127, 175, 176. See also Hispanics; Latino/as; Latinx Bruning, M. J., 72, 74 Bullock, E., 198 Burkard, A. W., 215 Butler-P urry, Karen, 54, 55, 56 Bystydzienski, J., 39, 72, 74 calculus, 123, 127; precalculus, 126 Calderon, D., 23 careers, in STEM, 36, 117, 136, 212, 237; aspirations for, 118, 155, 159, 222; early interest in, 194, 197; faculty, as a v iable choice, 8, 235; and mentorship, 218, 219, 220; satisfaction with, 9, 140, 144, 155, 231; trajectories/development of, 45, 109, 110, 112, 140–159, 212, 220, 231, 232, 234. See also professional development; workforce, STEM Carlone, H., 71, 73 Carneg ie classifications, 156 Carter, F. D., 218 Carter, P. L., 186 Carter Andrews, Dorinda J., 241–242; on CRT and Black students’ persistence as engineering majors, 122–138, 234–235 cartographies, identity, 79–85 Castilla, E. J., 212 Ceja, M., 129 Chait, R. P., 56, 57, 58, 59, 60 Chan, D., 214
Chang, M. J., 40 Chapman, Robbin, 10–11, 231, 242–243; on student success in exclusive excellence STEM environments, 36–49 Chargois, J. A., 219 Charleston, L. J., 200, 220 Chavez, R., 56 Chavous, T. M., 158 chemical engineering, 25, 26, 125–126, 127, 132 chemistry, 39, 127 Chen, X., 212 Cherkowski, S., 43 Chinn, P. W., 71, 73 Chubin, D. E., 143 Chugh, D., 218 Civil Rights Data Collection, 172, 179 Claussen, S., 38 Clayton-Pedersen, A., 37, 40 Cleaver, K. N., 74 Cleveland, D., 170 climate of STEM spaces. See culture/ climate/environment of STEM spaces clubs. See extracurricular activities Cobern, W. W., 21 code-switching, 76 Cohen, S., 150, 155 Cole, B. M., 210 Collins, A., 108 Collins, P. H., 72, 74 colonialism, 85, 100. See also decolonization color blindness, 181; color-blind liberalism, 10, 19–32, 230; and critical race theory, 22; vs. multiculturalism, 214–218, 220–222, 237 community-based organizations, 202–203 community colleges, 31, 76, 149, 150 compensation. See pay inequities computer science, 8, 25, 26, 125, 128, 142, 144, 194, 211 conferences, academic, 60, 153
conformity, pressure for, 57, 154, 211. See also stereot ype threat Connell, R. W., 72 Connell, S., 108 consortia, 49 Constantine, M. G., 170 coping mechanisms, 80, 195 Council for Higher Education Accreditation, 49 counseling, psychological, 152, 155 counselors, school guidance, 179, 197 Cox, Monica F., 11, 232, 243–244; and the credibility of women of color in STEM, 53–64 Cox, T. H., 211, 218, 220 Crenshaw, K., 22, 55, 72, 74 Crisp, G., 30 critical race feminism, 72–75, 78 critical race theory (CRT), 9, 11, 12, 193, 199, 230; critical race feminism as a response to, 74; as a response to color-blind liberalism, 20, 22–24, 28, 31 Cross, W. E., 158 Crowley, K., 197 cultural capital, 20, 41–42, 47, 48, 137, 174–175 culture/climate/environment of STEM spaces, 124, 127–128, 151, 234–235; and biases, 38–40; in Brazil, 91–92; color-blind vs. multicultural, 209–224; competitive, 127, 128; gauging, in advance, 61, 63; hostile/ chilly/unwelcoming, 3, 4, 11, 38, 56, 112, 123, 127, 153, 170, 173, 194, 221; inclusive, 128, 135; reflective of dominant culture/White male supremacy, 95, 127, 134, 136, 170, 221, 230; ways to improve, 12, 100–102, 137, 152, 158, 202, 219, 222, 223, 231; for WOC, 53–63 culture shock, 111–112, 113, 129, 133 curriculum, 29, 180; explicit, implicit, and null, 177–179; exposure to, and
risks of disproportionality of punishment, 172, 175, 176; and service-oriented STEM work, 117 Curry, T. J., 201 Dagher, Z. R., 21 Dancy, T. E., 192 Danley, L. L., 115 Davidson, M. N., 209–210, 211, 212, 213, 216 Davis, A. Y., 74 Davis, Julius, 13, 174, 219, 222, 236, 244; on f actors that contribute to Black males’ success in STEM, 192–203 Davis, R. J., 30 decolonization, 75, 78, 85. See also colonialism DeCuir, J., 23 DeCuir-Gunby, J. T., 108 deficit-based thinking, 27, 36, 41, 48, 181, 193, 236, 237 DeJoie, C. M., 55 Delgado Bernal, D., 29 demographics, in STEM, 125, 157; and the ECDES, 146, 150, 156; and homogeneity/inequalities, 22, 24, 28, 143, 157, 158–159, 235 depression, 112, 151 Dewey, J., 23 Dezsö, C. L., 1 Diallo, Amadou, 178 Dickens, Charles, 186n7 Diener, E. D., 155 Diggs, G. A., 144 disabilities, persons with, 4–5, 172 DiSalvo, B. J., 197 discipline. See punishment, disproportionality in discrimination, gender/racial, 13, 137, 170, 221, 234, 235; and color blindness vs. multiculturalism, 215, 218, 221; as a first-order conflict, 210, 211; history of, 36–37, 48; in h uman resources policies, 212; measured in the ECDES, 145, 146, 147, 151, 153–154,
158, 159; mental health implications of, 5–6; student-reported experiences with, 124, 128–130; and WOC, 57, 58, 63, 75, 77, 94, 232 DiTomaso, N., 219 diversity, 142–144, 158–159, 186n3, 232, 236; connection of, with greater innovation and creativity, 1, 13, 142; ideologies about, differing, 13, 209–224, 237; importance of, for an increasingly global society, 12; minority faculty perceived as hires for the sake of, 60, 61; Programs Office for, 129, 131, 133; promoting, through inclusive excellence, 37; recognizing, where it does exist, 184; statistics on, 2; strategies for increasing, 4–5, 6, 31, 32, 185; and transformative resistance, 29; and universalism, 26–27, 28 diversity conflict framework (Friedman and Davidson), 209–218 Dixson, A. D., 23 doctoral programs/degrees, 60, 219, 237; and the ECDES, 12, 140–159, 235; and EDEFI’s mission, 9, 237; and the experiences of marginalized students, 4, 7, 11, 77, 78, 95, 107, 109, 114, 115, 117, 235; and faculty of color as a support system, 112–113; and a sense of community, 92, 219; and statistics on African Americans and Latinos, 2, 26, 30 double consciousness, 28, 70 Dovido, J. F., 108 Dreher, G. F., 152, 218, 219, 220 Duane, J., 56 Du Bois, W. E. B., 158 Duncan, Arne, 172 Duncan-A ndrade, J., 172, 183 Dunnavant, J., 3 dyadic interactions, 217, 237–238 Eagan, M. K., 4 earth sciences, 25, 26, 234
education (as an academic field), 5; need in, for moving beyond achievement discourse, 180 Edwards, O. V., 21–22 Eisenhart, M., 72, 74 Eisner, E., 177–178 electrical engineering, 7, 8, 25, 26, 140 elementary schools, 136, 197. See also K–12 public schools Ely, R. J., 215 Embrick, D. G., 73 engineering, 11, 13, 19, 72, 171; Blacks in, as employees, 3; Blacks in, as faculty, 3, 9, 236, 237; Blacks in, as students, 2, 4, 12, 25, 26, 122–138, 169–170, 192, 194, 234–235, 237; and the ECDES, 12, 140–159; Latinos in, as students, 25, 26; w omen in, as employees, 3, 211–212; women in, as faculty, 3, 54, 55–56; women in, as students, 2. See also specific branches of engineering Engineering and Computing Doctoral Experiences Survey (ECDES), 12, 141–159, 235 English language learners, 172, 182, 183, 186n3 environment of STEM spaces. See culture/climate/environment of STEM spaces epistemology of science, 21, 29–30, 78, 136, 193 Erduran, S., 21 Espinosa, L., 3–4, 71 Esposito, J., 74–75, 78 essentialism, 71, 75, 99 Evans-Winter, V. E., 74–75, 78 Everyday Discrimination Scale, 154 exit surveys, 223 Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative (EDEFI), 5, 6, 193, 235; about, 9; development of, 141; emphasis of, on leveraging professional networks, 232; f uture research of, 237; goals of, 144, 236. See also Engineering and Computing
Explorations (cont.) Doctoral Experiences Survey (ECDES) expulsion, school, 173, 174 extracurricular activities, 86, 96; STEM clubs and organizations, 108, 127, 137 faculty, engineering and computing, 5, 30, 48, 112; careers in, Black graduate students losing interest in, 235; of color, 3, 7, 8, 11, 196, 236; and discrimination in communities of, 13, 36, 38, 39–41, 47–48, 130, 137, 194, 213, 231; diversity ideologies of, 213, 220–221, 221–222; and the ECDES, 140–159; recruiting and retaining, and EDEFI, 9; relationships of, with students (including mentoring), 37, 38, 112–113, 196, 211, 218–219, 237; and strategies for success, 12, 32, 49, 137, 184–185, 198, 200, 232; women, 3, 11, 54–63 families, as support system for STEM students, 82, 93, 107, 133, 134, 135, 195, 196, 198, 235 Fanon, Frantz, 85 Farinde-Wu, Abiola, 12, 236, 244; on lessons from preK–12 to support Black students in STEM, 169–186 Feagin, J. R., 36, 72 Feaster, K., 3, 143 Fechheimer, M., 218 Feistritzer, C. Emily, 2 feminism: Black, 11; critical race, 72–75, 78; whitewashing, in early, 71, 233 Ferrell, Jonathan, 178 Fields, D., 115 Figueroa, T., 54 first-order conflicts. See diversity: ideologies about, differing Fischer, M. J., 124 Fisher, G. M., 155 Flavell, J., 43 Fleming, L. N., 54, 56
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, 8 Flowers, A. M., 201 Flowers, L. A., 30 Flowers, L. O., 30 Foster, M., 181 Fox, M. F., 21, 26 Frankenstein, M., 200 Friedman, R. A., 209–210, 211, 212, 213, 216 Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, 59 Fuller, N., Jr., 115 full professorship, 54, 56, 62 funding, research, 31, 60, 116, 156, 157; agencies for, 38, 115, 192 Gallardo, M. G., 215 Gardner, S. K., 152 Garner, Eric, 178 Garrison-Wade, D. F., 56 Garvey, J. C., 4 Gasman, M., 30 Gault, B., 56, 57 Gay, G., 177, 198 “gaze,” 97 Gaztambide-Fernandez, R. A., 72 gender, 46; bias/inequities/disparities/ marginalization by, 7, 10, 11–12, 24, 39, 40, 171, 209, 211, 212, 213, 231, 232; binary, 160n1; and Black girls and women, 200, 234; and Black men, 199, 234; cartographies of, 69–102; diversity, 2, 4–5, 13, 219, 223; in the ECDES, 140, 141, 144, 145, 146, 151, 154, 158; and EDEFI’s mission, 9; and impostor syndrome, 123; microaggressions, 19–20; roles/expectations, 96, 98; and social justice–oriented instruction, 198; societal reactions to perceptions of an individual’s, 158; stereot ypes, 39; tokenism/pioneerism, 56–57. See also Black w omen; critical race feminism; discrimination, gender/racial; feminism; intersectionality; women of color
genius mythology, 98 George, Y. S., 108, 152, 159 Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), 8, 122, 123 Gerholm, T., 221 Gibbons, M. T., 143 Gibbs, K. D., 3, 144 gifted and talented programs, 182, 197. See also honors programs; advanced placement (AP) courses/programs giftedness, 182, 195, 197 Gilleylen, C. E., 108 girls: access to education for, 77, 97; Black, and negative stereot ypes, 93; in Pakistan, 77, 97; in STEM, 200–201. See also Black girls Glover, C., 185 Gonsalves, A. J., 73 González, J. C., 3 González, N., 181 Goren, M. J., 214, 216 Gotanda, N., 22, 23, 26 grades, 86, 96, 112, 116, 118 graduate school: difficulties/stresses of, 93, 95, 154–155, 159, 219; high cost of, 97; and the LSAMP, 113; and mentoring relationships with faculty, 152, 218–219, 220; minorities in, 2–3, 13, 142–143, 159, 173, 192, 193, 194, 197, 219, 220, 235; strategies for success in, 13, 221, 223–224; w omen in, 2, 76, 93, 95, 219. See also doctoral programs/ degrees; master’s degrees Granger, M. W., 56 Grant, C. A., 177 Grant, Oscar, 178 Grant Haworth, J., 221 grants, research. See funding, research GRE, 97 g reat migration, 70 Greene, T. J., 155 Gregory, A., 176 Greif, G. L., 195, 196, 197 Griffin, J. B., 108 Griffin, K. A., 3, 143
Griffin, S., 2 Griffith, A. L., 219 Gruber, A., 41, 47 Gunby, N. W., Jr., 108 Gutiérrez y Muhs, G., 54 Gutstein, E., 198, 200 Haberman, M., 183 Hall, P. Q. , 55 Hall, R. M., 56 harassment: sexual, 210, 211; verbal, 212 Harding, S. G., 73 Haring, M. J., 218 Harpalani, V., 158 Harper, S. R., 23, 36, 37, 38, 170, 192 Harris, Trudier, 69, 70 Harron, P., 98 Helms, J. E., 158 Hernandez, P. R., 218, 219 Herzig, A. H., 219 Hess, C., 56, 57 heterosexuality, 72 Hewitt, N. M., 153 Hewlett-Packard, 3 Higher Education Research Institute’s Faculty Survey—Campus Climate Module, 154 high schools, 12, 108, 110, 111, 116, 199; culture shock a fter, 129, 133; demographics of, 122, 125, 149–150; preparation by, for STEM majors, 126–127, 135, 136–138; success/positive experiences in, 86, 93, 96, 115, 134; teachers in, 76, 77. See also K–12 public schools hiring, 32, 61, 211 Hispanics, 60, 111, 186n3, 216. See also Brown students; Latino/as; Latinx Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), 30 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), 30, 76, 87 Holland, P. W., 158 Hollenshead, C., 56, 57
Holoien, D. S., 217 Hong, L., 1 honors programs, 38, 197. See also advanced placement (AP) courses/ programs; gifted and talented programs Houston, Stacey, 3, 244–245; on the ECDES, 140–159 Howard, C., 158 Howard, T. C., 169, 177, 192 Hrabowski, Freeman, 24, 108, 195, 196, 197 Hughey, M., 59, 232 Hull, G. T., 74 human resources, 115, 212, 224 humanities and the arts, 21 Hurston, Zora Neale, 186n7 Hurtado, S., 54 Ibarra, H., 219 identity threats, 216, 217, 221 immigrants: first-generation, 70, 77, 96, 98; undocumented, 59, 232 imperialism, 93, 100 impostor syndrome, 9, 123, 230 incarceration rates, 199, 215 inclusion, 12, 13, 27, 29, 31, 100, 209, 210, 223, 224; and color blindness vs. multiculturalism, 214–215, 217; defined, 37; moving beyond, 101; resistance to, 212, 213 India, 77 indigenous people, 90, 91, 127–128. See also Alaska Natives; Native Americans industrial engineering, 7, 25, 26, 123 innovation, 1, 13, 27, 37, 39, 171, 230, 231, 233 institutional spaces. See culture/climate/ environment of STEM spaces instructional practices. See pedagogy interdisciplinarity, 5–6, 22, 200 interest convergence, 22, 27, 28 international students, 1, 94
intersectionality, 9, 12, 14, 72, 85, 193, 201; definition of, 74; and feminism, 73–75, 233; and identities of scientists, 29; research on, 6, 55, 78 Iowa State University, 19 Ireland, D. T., 200 Irvine, J. J., 169, 171, 180–181 Islam, 77, 96, 233. See also Muslims isolation: of graduate students across disciplines, 219; of URM students, 37, 88, 92–93, 154, 170, 219; of WOC STEM faculty, 56, 58 Jehn, K., 1 Jett, Christopher C., 13, 236, 245–246; on f actors that contribute to Black males’ success in STEM, 192–203 John Henryism, 11 Johns, D. J., 193 Johnson, A., 71, 72, 73 Johnson, Micah Xavier, 178 Jordan, W. J., 174 journals, scientific, publishing in, 45, 153 Joy, S., 56 jus sanguinis (birthright by parents’ nationality), 59, 60, 232 jus soli (birthright by soil), 59, 60, 232 K–12 public schools: Black males in, 192, 193, 196, 197; lack of racial and ethnic diversity of teachers in, 2, 3; lessons from, to support Black students in STEM, 12–13, 169–186, 235–236; participants in ECDES rate their likelihood of a career in, 155; and preparation for STEM, 136–138. See also elementary schools; high schools; middle schools; teachers, public school; urban schools Kafai, Y., 47 Kalleberg, R., 21 Kamarck, T., 155 Kanter, R. M., 56, 57, 157, 211 Kardash, C. M., 21–22 Katznelson, I., 73
Kelley, R. D., 85 Kelly, J., 43 Kim, D., 124 King, B., 171, 173, 184 Kittleson, J., 72 Kleiber, P. B., 218 Klein, K. J., 214 Knox, S., 215 Ko, L. T., 71 Koedel, C. 144 Kohn, S., 73 Kozlowski, S. W. J., 214 Kozol, J., 169 Kram, K. E., 218, 219 Kramar, R., 210 labs, science, 38, 172 Ladson-Billings, G., 78, 177, 178, 179–180, 181, 182, 198 language: and the achievement gap, 179–183; barriers, 9, 13; color-blind, 23, 220. See also English language learners Larnell, G., 198 Latino/as, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 160nn1–2, 219. See also Brown students; Hispanics; Latinx Latinx, 125, 143, 148, 149, 157, 160n1, 186n3. See also Brown students; Hispanics; Latino/as “leaky pipelines,” 56 learning opportunities, racially and culturally disaligned, 171, 177–179, 184, 236 Ledesma, M. C., 22–23 Lee, A., 152 Lee, J., 39 Leonard, J., 195 León-Pérez, Gabriela, 140–160, 236 Lewis, A., 73 Lewis, B. F., 108, 192, 197 Lewis, C. W., 174, 176 Leyva, L. A., 72 LGBTQ individuals, 160n1, 210 Li, D., 144
Liang, X., 56 liberalism, color-blind, 10, 19–32, 230 Libman, K., 115 life satisfaction, 146, 151, 155 liminal transformative theorizing, 78 Lindholm, J. A., 152 Linnajarvi, A., 2 Linse, A., 155 Lockhart, T., 78 Loewen, J. W., 115 Long, B. T., 143 Long, J. S., 21, 26 Longino, H., 30 Lord, Audre, 69, 70, 74 Lott, B., 212 Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP), 87, 112–113, 116, 126 Loving, C. C., 21 Lovitts, B. E., 219 Luedke, C. L., 220 Madden, Krystal, 233, 246–247; on cartographies of race, gender, and class in STEM, 69–102; identity cartography of, 80–81; portrait of, 85–90 Madison-Colmore, O., 194, 195, 196 Malcolm, Shirley M., 24, 108 male privilege, 39, 72. See also patriarchy; White males; White privilege Malone, K. R., 4, 72 Maluso, D., 212 Mandell, M., 218 Manolescu, Alissa M., 209–224, 247 Mansfield, P. K., 211 Maple, S. A., 108 Marable, M., 160n2 Maramba, D. C., 30 Martin, Danny Bernard, 4, 78, 124, 128, 192, 194, 195, 196, 247; on cartographies of race, gender, and class in STEM, 69–102; course taught by, 78 Martin, N., 41 Martin, Trayvon, 178
masculinity, 28, 71, 72, 85, 201. See also Black males; male privilege; patriarchy; White males master’s degrees, 2, 7, 25 mathematics, 78, 108, 113, 173, 193; Black males mastering, 194, 195; culturally relevant/social-justice approach to, 9–10, 199, 200; degrees awarded in, 25, 26; faculty, lack of Black scholars in, 141; and preparation for STEM, 126–127; women in, 54, 70–72, 73, 77, 79–80, 85, 91, 93, 95, 97–98, 99–100. See also calculus Maton, K. I., 108, 195, 196, 197, 218 Matsuda, M. J., 23, 28 May, Gary S. , 8, 143 McCoy, D. L., 220 McGaskey, F., 152 McGee, Ebony O., 1–14, 72, 124, 171, 192, 196, 247; about, 7; on the culture/ environment of STEM fields, 127, 170, 173; on the ECDES, 12, 140–159; on next steps for a more equitable STEM learning experience, 230–238; on personal attributes of Black males, 194–195 McGlamery, S., 195, 196 McGready, J., 3 McGuire, G. M., 220 McKinley, E., 73 McKinney de Royston, M., 170 McNair, J., 3 McNair, Ronald, 87 McNeilly, M. D., 154 medicine, as a profession, 87, 88, 234 Meeussen, L., 217 mental health, 5, 7, 13, 170, 235; nationwide survey of engineering doctoral students’, 12, 140–159. See also anxiety; depression; stress mentors/mentorship, 31, 38, 45, 81, 87, 211, 213; consequences of color blindness in, 218–223, 237–238; distinction between role models and, 94; importance of, for Black males,
196; a lack of, in STEM, 11, 215; measured in the ECDES, 141, 146, 151, 152, 153, 159; and racial/ethnic similarity, 212; role of, in fostering a positive STEM identity, 12, 24, 118, 211, 213; students mentoring students, 132. See also Thrive Mosaic Scholar Development Framework meritocracy, 10, 19–20, 22–23, 31, 73, 181, 211–212 Mermelstein, R., 155 Merton, Robert K., 19, 21–22 Metcalf, H., 2 microaggressions, racial/gender, 9, 11, 12, 20, 29, 56, 57–58, 97, 129, 135, 170, 231; and conservative media criticism, 19; cumulative effects of, 154; difficulty of documenting and reporting, 58; research on, 7 middle schools, 12, 93, 110, 115, 118, 136, 174, 175. See also K–12 public schools Milkman, K. L., 218 Milner, Richard, 7, 12, 236, 247–248; on lessons from preK–12 to support Black students in STEM, 169–186 misbehavior. See punishment, disproportionality in Mitchell, C. T., 195, 196 mixed-race, 76, 90–92 Moll, L., 181 Moore, J. A., 158 Moore, J. L., 30, 192, 194, 195, 196 Moore, W. L., 72 Moran, P., 44 Morrell, E., 183 motherhood: and identity, 71, 80, 86, 233; support systems for, 88–89, 90 Mount, S., 59 multiculturalism vs. color blindess, 214–218 Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM), 157 Muñoz, C. S., 210 Museus, S. D., 30, 223 Musil, C., 37, 40
Muslims, 70, 97. See also Islam Mutegi, Jomo W., 11, 72, 234, 248; on the influence of systemic racism in shaping the African STEM research workforce, 107–118 Nadelson, L., 41 Nakkula, M. J., 185n1 Naphan-K ingery, Dara, 140–160, 248–249 Nasir, N. I., 70 National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, 8 National Center for Education Statistics, 174 National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, 174 National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), 132 National Research Council, 169 National Science Foundation (NSF), 1, 2, 63–64, 113, 140, 160, 239; and the ECDES, 144, 159; and the C AREER award, 7 National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), 124, 126, 127, 132, 233 National Society of Blacks in Computing, 233 Native Americans, 90, 160n2; in the ECDES, 148, 149; as tenured faculty, 60; as tokens, 157 Neal, M. A., 201 Neale, D., 152, 159 Neale, M. A., 1 Nelson, D. J., 54, 56, 60, 155, 157 neoliberalism, 100 networks, professional, access to for minority scholars, 41, 44, 46, 47, 56, 132, 137, 219, 222, 232 Neville, H. A., 214, 215, 216 Nguyen, T. H., 30 Noble, R., 195, 196, 197
Noe, R. A., 152, 159 Noguera, P. A., 176 Nora, A., 30 Northcraft, G. B., 1 Norwood, R., 197 Nussbaum, R. J., 214, 215 Obama, Barack, 53–54, 61, 62–63, 178 ocean sciences, 25, 26, 234 Okahana, H., 3, 143 Omi, M., 20 Ong, M., 3–4, 71, 72, 73, 153 Oppland-Cordell, S. B., 73 Orfield, G., 3–4 Orozco-Mendoza, E. F., 75, 85 Osborne, J., 38 Oswald, D. P., 172 Otten, S., 217 Oyserman, D., 158 Pacific Americans, 160n2 Padilla, R. V., 56 Page, S., 1 Pakistan, 70, 77, 97 Palmer, R. T., 30, 194 Pan-A fricanism, 109 Parson, A. L., 56 Pascoe, E. A., 153 Patel, L., 78 patriarchy, 75, 77, 78, 79, 93, 95, 97, 101, 160n1, 210; depicted in cartographies, 81, 83, 84 Patton, L. D., 23 pay inequities, 212, 215, 220, 233 Pearlin, L. I., 155 Pearman, F. A., 171 Pearson, A. R., 108 Pearson, Willie, 21, 24, 31, 119n1 pedagogy: color-blind, 10, 32; equitable/ responsive/social justice–oriented, 40, 48, 137, 174, 198–199, 200, 202, 236; oppressive/toxic, 136 peer review, 153
peers: discriminatory acts committed by, 129; perceptions of, and need to prove oneself to, 60, 123, 128, 133, 134; pressure from, 175; recognition from, 153; as support system for STEM students, 4, 37, 92, 113, 123, 131, 135, 195, 196 Peller, G., 22 Peña, E. V., 2 Penner, L. A., 108 Peppler, K., 47 Pereira, Priscila, 249; on cartographies of race, gender, and class in STEM, 69–102; identity cartography of, 82, 83; portrait of, 90–95 Perna, L., 200 Perry, Reginald J., 8 persistence, in STEM: Blacks’, 27, 108, 115, 122–138, 194–195, 234, 235; Latinos’, 27; minority professors’, 159; minority students’, 4, 9, 28, 36, 38, 47, 222; w omen’s, 54, 76, 100 personal attributes, of Black males who thrive in STEM, 194–195, 199, 202, 236. See also resilience; persistence; spirituality Peterson, B., 198, 200 “pet to threat,” 56, 58 Pfund, C., 218 Phalet, K., 217 PhDs. See doctoral programs/degrees Phinney, J. S., 155 physics, 94, 107, 111, 112, 115, 116, 117, 126, 211, 234 Pierce, C., 129 pioneerism, 56, 57 Pitts Bannister, V. R., 198 Plaut, V. C., 212, 214, 215, 216–217 pluralism, cultural, 23, 27 police, 59, 178–179 policymakers, 180, 192; recommendations for, 48, 118, 183, 193, 202–203 Polite, V. C., 197 Pöllmann, A., 48
postdoctoral researchers, 7, 9, 218, 237; and the ECDES, 140, 141, 144, 145, 147, 148, 150, 152, 154, 159 poverty, 172, 182, 183, 186n3 Powell, A. B., 200 prejudice, racial, 158, 211, 214–215, 216, 217. See also discrimination, racial; racism preK–12. See K–12 public schools preparedness, for STEM major, 125–127, 135, 136, 171, 234. See also advanced placement (AP) courses; high schools; m iddle schools professional development, 41, 45, 49, 57, 145, 152, 153, 200, 212 professions/professionals, STEM. See careers, in STEM; professional development; workforce, STEM professors, college and university. See faculty promotion practices, 49, 157, 211, 212 Provolt, Laura, 209–224, 249 psychology, 5–6, 7, 158, 209 public schools. See elementary schools; high schools; K–12 public schools; urban schools; m iddle schools punishment, disproportionality in, 171, 172–176, 177, 179, 184, 203, 236 Purdie-Vaughns, V., 216 Quaye, S. J., 223 race: cartographies of, 69–102; construction of, 185n1; and cultural capital, 174–175; in the ECDES, 148, 149, 157–158; and teachers’ subjectivities, 175–176; in U.S., as compared to Brazil, 90–92. See also critical race theory (CRT); diversity; racism racial b attle fatigue, 11, 12, 123, 130, 134, 170, 230, 231 racial profiling, 59 racism, 5, 26, 77, 91, 160n2, 184; and the experiences of WOC in STEM, 7, 11, 53–63; influence of, on the African
STEM research workforce, 107–119; measured in the ECDES, 153–154; and police killings, 178–179; structural/systemic/institutionalized, 9, 10, 20, 73, 98, 134, 170, 171, 181, 230, 231, 234, 236, 237. See also biases; color blindness; critical race theory (CRT); discrimination, gender/racial; intersectionality; microaggressions; stereot ypes/stereotyping; White supremacy Racism-Related Vigilance Scale, 154 Radovic, D., 71, 72, 73–74 recruitment: of faculty, by college and university STEM departments, 32, 157, 223; in STEM fields, 212, 223; of STEM students, 117, 144, 213, 223; of WOC, 60 religious groups, 203. See also spirituality/faith remedial courses/academic remediation, 126, 222 research, 44, 57, 59, 113; agendas, of those who persist in STEM,108; of benefit to minority communities, 114, 116, 117; bias in funding for, 38; enjoyment of and engagement with, 152–153; groups, for undergraduates, 92; mentors, 118, 218; participation in, as the primary factor in success of Black and Latino undergraduates, 219; universities with high levels of, 2–3, 60, 142–143, 156–157 resilience, of minority scholars, 42, 47, 99, 194 retention, 32, 55, 60–61, 159, 211, 212, 213, 220, 224 reverse racism, 73 Revised Stereot ype Threat Vulnerability Scale, 154 “revolving door” syndrome, 4 Rezvi, Sara, 250; on cartographies of race, gender, and class in STEM, 69–102; identity cartography of, 82, 84, 85; portrait of, 95–98
Richard, O., 1 Richeson, J. A., 214, 215 Richman, L. S., 153 Riegle-Crumb, C., 171, 173, 184 Rivera Maulucci, M. S., 174 Roach, M., 153 Robinson, Aspen, 209–224, 250 Robinson, William H., 1–14, 37, 39, 123, 250; about, 8; on the ECDES, 140–159; on next steps for a more equitable STEM learning experience, 230–238 Robnett, R., 45 robotics, 127, 172 Rodriguez, A. J., 174 Rogers, D. C., 56, 60 role models, minority, 4, 8, 47, 94, 143, 197, 220. See also mentors/mentorship Rose, Antwon Jr., 178 Ross, D. G., 1 Rost, K., 44 Rowley, S. J., 158 Ruder, B., 39 Russell, M. L., 124, 127, 173 Saegert, S., 115 Sahin, A., 127 Salimath, M. S., 210 Samuels, C. A., 179 Sanders, M. G., 158 Sandfort, M., 221 Sandler, B. R., 56 Sands, R. G., 56 Sauermann, H., 153 Schonfeld, N. B., 2 schools. See elementary schools; high schools; middle schools; preK–12 education; public schools; urban schools science. See specific scientific subjects Scott, P. B., 74 Secada, W. G., 186n6 secondary schools. See high schools second-order conflicts. See diversity: ideologies about, differing
segregation, in personal and professional networks, 219 Sellers, R. M., 158 service-oriented STEM work, 116, 117 sexism, 5, 20, 74, 181; and sexual harassment, 210; and w omen of color, 7, 9, 10, 11, 53–63, 73, 74 sexuality, 74, 96. See also sexual orientation sexual orientation, 9, 13, 151 Seymour, E., 153 Shakespeare, William, 186n7 Shelton, J. N., 217 Shore, L. M., 210 Siegel, Harvey, 19, 21, 32 Silicon Valley, 3 Sims, J. J., 192 Skiba, R. J., 173, 175, 176 Slaton, A. E., and Race, Rigor, and Selectivity in U.S. Engineering: The History of an Occupational Color Line, 237 Slaughter, John Brooks, 8 slavery, 38, 54, 59 Sleeter, C. E., 177 Smith, A. W., 177 Smith, B., 74 Smith, D., 46 Smith, D. G., 2 Smith, D. M., 194, 195, 196 Smith, L. T., 72, 78 Smith, Mark J. T., 8 Smith, W. A., 123, 130, 170, 234 social class, 9, 11, 13, 21, 74, 123 social cognitive c areer theory, 9 socialization, professional, 145, 146, 147, 150–153, 159 social justice, 5, 29, 31, 171, 230–231; instructional practices that promote, 10, 193, 198–199, 200, 202, 236 social media, 203 Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, 30, 126 socioeconomic status, 87, 96, 98, 148–149, 150, 173, 176, 182, 186n6
sociology, 5, 6, 7, 59, 158 Soldner, M., 212 Solomon, Y., 71, 72, 73–74 Solórzano, D. G., 29, 129, 170, 234 South Asian patriarchy, 82–85, 97 Speier, H., 21 spirituality/faith, 80, 86, 194, 233 Spradley, J. P., and The Ethnographic Interview, 109 Stage, F. K., 108 standardized testing, 181–182, 183 Stanley, C. A., 56 Stanley, W. B., 19, 22 Staples, Mavis, 122 Steele, C. M., 39, 108, 170 Stein, E. L., 152 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics): Black males’ experiences in, and factors that contribute to success, 192–203; Black students’ persistence in, 122–138; cartographies of race, gender, and class in, 69–102; and color-blind liberalism in postsecondary education, 19–32; credibility in, trumped by racism and sexism, 53–63; ideological conflicts and barriers to diversifying, 209–224; and systemic racism’s influence on the African research workforce, 107–119; lessons from preK–12 to support Black students in, 169–185; next steps for a more equitable learning experience in, 230–238; and rationale and design of the ECDES, 140–159; and student success in exclusive environments, 36–49 stereot ypes/stereotyping, 4, 11, 170, 184; in Brazil, as contrasted with in the U.S., 93; measured in the ECDES, 154; negative, harbored by academic departments about URM students, 37, 39, 40; pressure to prove wrongness of, among Black students, 133–134, 136, 151, 154, 233; about WOC in STEM, 57, 89, 91, 123, 233
stereot ype threat, 136, 151, 154, 170, 233 Stinson, D. W., 192, 193, 198, 200 Stone, D. B., 192, 194 Stovall, D., 13, 170, 173 Strayhorn, T. L., 194 stress: measured in the ECDES, 145, 151, 155, 159; for minority students in STEM disciplines, 11, 12, 145, 170; for WOC STEM faculty, 58, 61 study groups, 123, 196 Sue, D. W., 170, 215 summer bridge/pipeline programs for STEM, 123, 131, 132, 136, 137 support systems, for assisting with STEM studies, 195–197, 199, 202, 222, 234, 236. See also families, as support system for STEM students; peers: as support system for STEM students survivance, 99–101 suspension, school, 173, 174 Syed, J., 210 Taggart, A., 30 Takaki, R., 215 Tate, B., 178, 182 Tate, W. F., 182 Taylor, L., 38 teachers, public school, 5, 97; antiracist training for, 184; and disproportionality of punishment, 172–176; racial and ethnic backgrounds of, and misalignment with students, 2, 3, 174–176, 134, 185; and racially and culturally aligned curricula, 177–179, 200; as role models for students of color, 4, 196–197; teaching of, as measured in the ECDES, 152, 156, 157; in urban schools, 169 tenure system, 31, 54, 56, 60, 61, 62, 143, 144, 157 Terry, C. L., 198, 199, 200 textbooks, 177 Thayer-Bacon, B. J., 23 Thomas, D. A., 215, 222 Thomas, G. D., 56, 57
Thomas, G. E., 108 Thomas, Kecia M., 1, 22, 56, 58, 209–224, 250–251 Thompson, L. R., 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197 3D modeling, 126 Thrive Mosaic Scholar Development Framework, 41–48, 231 Tinto, V., 219 tokenism, 11, 56–57, 100, 157, 233 Toldson, I. A., 193 Toshalis, E., 185n1 transformative resistance, 29 Trinder, Victoria F., 251; about, 78; on cartographies of race, gender, and class in STEM, 69–102 Trower, C. A., 56, 57, 58, 59, 60 Trump, Donald J., 53, 59 Tuana, N., 73 Turner, A. L., 155 Turner, C. S. V., 3, 55, 56, 57 tutoring, 131, 196 Twale, D. J., 152 Tyson, W., 125, 174 underrepresented minoritized students (URM), 3, 6; cultural norms, policies, and procedures that negatively impact, 10, 11, 36–37, 48; dropping out of STEM disciplines, 11; and institutional bias, 38–39; and networks, 44; and recommendations for policymakers and pract it ioners, 49; socialization between faculty communities and, 40; teachers of, as role models, 4; and the Thrive Mosaic Scholar Development Framework, 41–48 United States, 70; competitiveness of, 1–2; construction of race and gender in, 90–95, 96–97; “education debt” in, 180; gender barriers in, 55; and the g reat migration, 70; immigration to, 59, 76, 77, 90, 98; imperialism, 100; innovation in, 27, 37, 171, 230;
United States (cont.) presidency of, 53–54, 63; racial/ethnic underrepresentat ion in, in STEM, 3, 142–143; racialized systems and racial oppression in, 4, 10, 23, 36, 37, 38; White male dominance in, in STEM, 13, 209 universalism, 20–31 urban schools, 169, 180–181, 182 U.S. Constitution, 59 Valencia, R., 175 Vanderbilt University, 7, 8, 140 Van Horne, V. V., 108 Van Kuren, N. E., 155 Wager, A. A., 200 Walpole, M., 182 Walton, G. M., 216 Wang, X., 173 Warren, C. A., 192 Webber, K., 218 Weidman, J. C., 152 Wells, R., 40 White males, 58, 72, 171; and discrimination, 94, 130, 170; and faculty careers, 54, 144; and the “gaze,” 97; as leaders of science, historically, 13, 28, 60, 61, 71–73, 171, 209, 223, 232; as mentors, 219–220, 237; and perceptions of Blacks, 133, 134; as students, preferred by professors, 218, 219–220; as U.S. presidents, 53–54 White privilege/White elites, 10, 20, 23, 27, 28, 39, 72. See also patriarchy White supremacy, 78, 91, 93, 98, 101, 127, 136. See also discrimination, gender/ racial; racism Whites/whiteness, 22, 148, 149, 194; Blacks at the mercy of, historically, 59, 112; and color blindness, 214, 216–217, 220; cultural capital of, leading to punishment disproportionality, 172, 173, 174–175;
institutions/spaces that are predominantly, 30, 37, 77, 85, 88, 91, 92, 99, 100, 111, 122, 123, 124, 125, 127, 129, 133, 170, 233; as the norm to which all o thers are compared, 181, 186n4. See also White males; White privilege/White elites; White supremacy; White w omen White w omen: and affirmative action, 73; centering the experiences of, to represent all w omen, 71, 73; in corporate America, 57; and feminism, 71, 74, 75; as public school teachers, 2 Williams, B. A., 193, 198 Williams, David R., 153, 154, 160n3 Williams, J., 73 Williams, M. T., 108 Williams, N., 185 Williams-Morris, R., 153 Willis, L. A., 219, 222 Wilson, Amos, 116 Wilson, F. H., 115 Wilson, R. E., 72 Wilson, Roderick D., 8 Winant, H., 20 Wing, A. K., 74, 78 Winkle-Wagner, R., 220 Wolsko, C., 214 women, 125, 223; cartographies of, 11, 69–102; colleges for, 39; in the ECDES, 148; and gender bias, 211; as mentors, 220; obstacles faced by, in STEM, 153, 211, 212, 219; shortage of, in STEM, 1, 2, 13, 209; as STEM faculty, 3; as “tokens” in engineering departments, 157; working in Silicon Valley, 3. See also Black w omen; White w omen; women of color Women in Engineering (WIE), 132 women of color (WOC), 7, 212; and critical race feminism, 75; as faculty, need of, to prove competence, 11, 53–63, 232–233. See also Black women
omen’s colleges, 39 w womxn, 69–102. See also Black w omen; women; w omen of color Wood, J. L., 3, 192 Woodcock, A., 154 Wooden, O. S., 23 workforce, STEM: historical and contemporary professionals in, 198; multicultural, in the f uture, 143; need to diversify, 1–2, 4–5; preparedness for, 127; systemic racism’s influence on, 11–12, 107–119; URM students’ difficult envisioning themselves in, 3. See also careers, in STEM
workplaces. See culture/climate/ environment of STEM spaces Wright, C., 3–4 Wright, C. G., 192 Wulf, W. A., 155 Yi, Y., 56, 57 Yinger, J. M., 215 Yoder, B. L., 3, 142, 143 Yosso, T. J., 41, 47, 78, 129, 170, 234 Zambrana, R. E., 4 Zeichner, K. M., 169 Zweben, S., 142, 143