Malone, K. R., & Barabino, G. (2009). Narrations of race in STEM research settings: Identity formation and its discontents. Science Education, 93(3), 485–510.
This study investigates specific challenges that students of color have in developing a personal identity related to science. The researchers examined how experiences in graduate school programs shaped the emergent identities of African-American women students in science and engineering. The study sheds light on the barriers cultural minority students might face in their pursuit of science in school and in careers, and suggests that educators might help to prepare students for these experiences.
Lyon, G., & Jafri, J. (2010). Project Exploration's Sisters4Science. Afterschool Matters, 11,15–22.
This article describes an afterschool science program targeting girls from communities underrepresented in the sciences. The authors argue for the need for such programs to build on research findings that are relevant to girl-specific programs, which they summarize in the article. This article provides a highly condensed overview of research findings and illustrates how the authors have applied these findings to their program design. It could be of interest to ISE educators seeking to design STEM programs for girls.
Zeyer, A., & Wolf, S. (2010). Is there a relationship between brain type, sex and motivation to learn science? International Journal of Science Education, 32(16), 2217–2233.
This study is based upon a body of work that characterizes individuals as primarily empathizers, systemizers, or an equal balance of both. Systemizing describes the ability to understand the world in terms of a system, whereas empathizing is the ability to identify and perceive the mental states of others. In this study, the authors examined whether gender played a role in determining motivation for science learning or whether personality attributes (also known as “brain type”) – that is, whether more a systemizer or an empathizer – were more significant.
Cho, S., Goodman, M., Oppenheimer, B., Codling, J., & Robinson, T. (2009). Images of women in STEM fields. Journal of Science Communication, 8(3), 1–5.
In a survey, eighth-grade students identified women who were in STEM fields to be significantly more intelligent, less attractive, and more creative than women in non-STEM fields. The students did not indicate that they found a difference between women in STEM fields or non-STEM fields in terms of how organized or how good at their job they were. The authors suggest that the development of these stereotypical views could help explain why women are consistently underrepresented in STEM fields and why women consistently choose professions already dominated by women.
Denner, J., Bean, S., & Martinez, J. (2009). The Girl Game Company: Engaging Latina girls in information technology. Afterschool Matters, 8, 26–35.
Although digital technology has become ubiquitous in our time, not everyone is afforded the same opportunities to pursue the fields of engineering, computer science, and advanced technology. This paper examines how an afterschool and summer program for middle school girls considered the roles of gender, culture, and youth development to increase the participation of Latinas in IT careers.
Maltese, A V., & Tai, R H. (2010). Eyeballs in the fridge: Sources of early interest in science. International Journal of Science Education, 32(5), 669–685.
Out of 85 scientists and graduate students interviewed, 65% state that their initial interest in science occurred before middle school, particularly for those in physics-related fields. The interest was attributed as self-interest (45%) or intrinsic motivation. However, a large proportion discuss initial experiences related to school- or education-based experiences, including enrichment activities (40%) and family (15%).
Buccheri, G., Gürber, N.A. & Brühwiler, C. (2011). The impact of gender on interest in science topics and the choice of scientific and technical vocations. International Journal of Science Education, 33(1), 159–178.
This study presents an interesting cross-national analysis of young people’s preferences, expectations, and perceptions of ability regarding STEM subjects. It finds that gender plays a significant role in students’ choices regarding STEM study and careers on the basis of comparison of students from four countries using the data from PISA, the international cross-comparison study. This study provides ISE educators with an insight into young people’s thinking regarding STEM. It also suggests possible strategies that may be implemented by ISE initiatives for greater gender equity in STEM.
Simpson, J. S., & Parsons, E. C. (2009). African American perspectives and informal science educational experiences. Science Education, 93(2), 293–321.
Informal science programs have potential for engaging audiences from non-dominant communities in unique ways. This article investigates specific elements of programs that African American mothers participating in this study preferred for their elementary-aged girls. For ISE educators, this research points out several elements to address when planning programs for African American audiences, including practical issues and content delivery methods, many of these elements could perhaps be applied more broadly for other non-dominant populations.
Vetleseter Bøe, M., Henriksen, E.K., Lyons, T. & Schreiner, C. (2011). Participation in science and technology: Young people’s achievement-related choices in late-modern societies. Studies in Science Education, 47(1), 37–72.
This study examines student choices relating to the selection of STEM courses for high school and university study. The main focus here is on the subjective value of the choice as perceived by the individual, and the individual’s expectation of success in the subject or the study. The argument put forward in this study is supported by a broad and international body of literature, and highlights a number of key factors affecting students’ (and especially girls’) engagement with STEM subjects. This discussion will have particular significance for ISE educators currently working to promote youth engagement with STEM by providing opportunities to meet practicing scientists and thus potentially supplying role models and enabling the youth to develop an identity as science learners and future scientists.