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STEM Program Overview

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  • 1. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century Introduction Although the domain of higher education is typically considered to be a venue of personal growth, maturational change, and a means of increasing opportunity, it remains a stage in which the complex societal norms surrounding gender continue to perform. Despite the fact that women are now perpetually outnumbering men in higher education, women’s presence in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields still remains largely underrepresented. A myriad of contributing factors, both external and internal, have been mulled over by researchers, all of which relate in some way to the intricate concept of “sense of belonging.” The following section provides a comprehensive look at relevant research topics surrounding the complex issues of women’s underrepresented participation in STEM, both in academic and professional venues. Succeeding the literature review is an executive summary of the proposed sessions of a workshop series for female students in STEM, complete with their associated student development goals. Sense of Belonging and Females in STEM Researchers are beginning to recognize the concept of sense of belonging as an integral aspect of human happiness. Although the human need for a sense of belonging is a vital foundation in almost every aspect of life, it was not until recently that the operational definition of sense of belonging as a research construct was established. Hagerty, Lynch-Sauer, Patusky, Bouwsema, and Collier (1992) propose a definition of sense of belonging as “…the experience of personal involvement in a system or environment so that persons feel themselves to be an integral part of that system or environment” (p. 173). Furthermore, Hagerty et al. (1992) delineated the two components of sense of belonging: 1. Valued involvement: the experience of feeling valued, needed, and accepted. 2. Fit: the person’s perception that his or her characteristics articulate with or complement the system or environment. (p. 173) Hence, in order for a student to experience a true sense of belonging on campus, they must possess a combination of these two traits. Measures of sense of belonging have been correlated with persistence among students in higher education (Hausmann, Ye, Schofield, & Woods, 2009; Hartley, 2011), but hold special Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 1
  • 2. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century implications for female students studying the STEM fields. Although more women than men graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree, men continue to earn higher proportions of degrees in many science and engineering fields of study (National Science Foundation, 2011). Compared to men, women’s participation is notably lower in the fields of physical science, mathematics, computer science, and engineering (NSF, 2011). Sense of belonging is a probable component in many female’s intentions to switch out of the STEM fields. In a study on the intervening factors of the persistence of women within STEM majors, Good, Rattan, and Dweck (2012), found that women who experienced a reduced sense of academic belonging within the STEM field were more likely to leave the domain – even when achievement remained high – in order to pursue studies that better enabled sense of belonging to take root. A focus on interactional factors between women and the STEM environment within academia brings to light the possible antecedents of lowered sense of belonging for women in these fields. Good et al. (2012) established that “the more women perceived fixed-ability environments and high gender stereotyping the more they were susceptible to lowered sense of belonging, whereas the more women perceived malleability in environments, the more they maintained a sense of belonging to math even when they perceived their environments as highly gender-stereotypical” (p. 709). In order to best help female students in STEM succeed, professionals in higher education must pay attention to the messages students receive about their environment in an academic setting. Professionals must be committed to establishing an environment in which these students feel like active and contributing participants, for that seems to be an essential constituent to their sense of belonging to their field. The Role of Self-Efficacy In addition to a lowered sense of belonging, a variable interplay has emerged among sociocultural influences and reported levels of self-efficacy among women in STEM, another relationship that may affect women’s persistence in these fields. To understand this relationship, it is helpful to refer to Erikson’s (1959/1980, 1968) theory of how self-efficacy beliefs are differentially constructed among men and women. Erikson’s research elucidated that men tend to form selfefficacy beliefs from mastery experiences and work-related accomplishments, whereas females tend to form self-efficacy beliefs from the development and depth of personal relationships. Therefore, if females feel unwelcome in a particular environment, it is possible that this will lead to decreased selfefficacy beliefs, and eventual departure for that environment. Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 2
  • 3. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century Additional studies have shown a marked difference in self-efficacy beliefs between men and women and STEM, a possible resulting effect of gendered information men and women are exposed to via societal norms. Johnson, Stone, and Phillips (2008) found that men tend to report higher levels of self-efficacy than do women in STEM, regardless of the fact that differences in academic achievement are virtually nonexistent (Eisenberg, Martin, & Fabes, 1996). The variance in selfefficacy levels extends beyond the classroom into the realm of career behaviors. Betz and Hackett (1983) utilized self-efficacy expectations as a heuristic tool to measure students’ professional persistence in STEM fields. As predicted, female students reported lower levels of self-efficacy in the realm of mathematics. The decreased self-efficacy level of these students, as suggested by Betz and Hackett (1983), may have created a domino effect. Female students’ lowered levels of perceived future academic success lead to an avoidance of mathematics-based coursework and pursuit of science-related majors, and eventually, a lack of pursuit of professional STEM positions. In order to counteract this phenomenon and increase females’ self-efficacy in the STEM domains, professionals must implement interventions that allow relational growth to flourish in a positive manner. Zeldin, Britner, and Pajares (2008) found that important relationships were intertwined with self-efficacy beliefs among women in such a way that these relationships were identified as requirements for their perseverance, and in fact aided the women in defining themselves as scientists and mathematicians. This evidence further instates the need for a supportive community for STEM females in which they are given the opportunity to form close social bonds with others in their field. Stereotypes and the Gender Gap The mere existence of the gender gap within the STEM fields is yet another cog in the reciprocal relationship between the lack of support for women in these fields and their internalized judgments of potential success. The continuous chicken and egg situation surrounding this issue has made it even harder to enact change. Gender inequity regarding the disproportionate representation of females in higher education, more specifically in STEM disciplines, continues to be one of the most significant challenges in colleges and universities (Rypisi, Malcom, & Kiln, 2009). The intricacies of both external and internal perceptions of gender roles are greatly explored, yet still nebulous. To begin to understand this gap, it’s imperative to investigate how women experience and negotiate gender within the pursuit of these fields, which in turn will better explain how women’s understandings of gender inform their self-efficacy development and eventual choices to pursue Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 3
  • 4. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century STEM fields as career paths after graduation (Goldman, 2010). According to Betz (2004), the career development of women can be affected by two channels of stereotyping: gender stereotypes involving women’s role in the family, and gender stereotypes involving the idea of which occupations are best suited for women and for men. For student affairs professionals working with this specific population, it is important to be aware of these types of stereotypes, both as they are divulged in students’ stories of environmental occurrences and as they are purported in students’ own internalization of these stereotypes. Another vital issue to take note of when addressing women’s gender negotiation in the STEM fields is students’ awareness of it as an influential facet of their academic life. Previous research has shown that female STEM students may not perceive gender to be something that directly impacts their lives and experiences as college students, subsequently relating it to “a concept that was much more relevant to their parents’ and grandparents’ generation,” (Goldman, 2010, p. 131). In essence, all of the participants in the study described several examples in which gender had impacted their college experience, yet they were not necessarily conscious of this effect when asked to describe it in the interviews and share their stories about gender negotiation (Goldman, 2010). (I would also like to note that similar themes emerged when I conducted qualitative research with female STEM students in Spring, 2013). Despite the possibility of students’ undermining the influence of gender on their experiences in academia, the existence of the gender gap within STEM remains and it would be beneficial for these students to not only understand this relationship, but to become self-advocates for themselves in the realm of gender equality. Lack of Mentors A lack of the presence of mentors is yet another component that may influence women’s persistence in STEM. In a study by Davis (2001), female STEM students in a specialized, female-only organizational group, were aware that they were excluded from experiences within social networks that would teach them valuable professional and communication skills necessary for progressing in their fields. Not only do mentors model and disseminate valuable logistical, strategic, and social information, but they can have a measured effect on students’ self-efficacy beliefs. Students enrolled in an online mentor program for female STEM students reported elevated confidence levels in STEM competencies, in addition to an increased knowledge of professional STEM activities and knowledge about jobs in STEM (Stoeger, Duan, Schirner, Greindl, & Ziegler, 2013). Mentors have the potential to Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 4
  • 5. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century serve as networking “gatekeepers” for females in STEM, while indirectly inspiring students to become more confident in their abilities. Interstitial Communities as a Buffer Combining a mentorship opportunity with a support group is the most strategic way to bring about positive change that supports persistence in the STEM fields for women. The very existence of the group itself provides a platform upon which students may not only learn from each other, but discuss challenges they may face due to gender norms in their academic communities and the workplace. Identified as “interstitial communities,” specialized groups for females in STEM have the potential to create an environment in which issues like these can be brought to the surface, hence increasing students’ self-awareness of their existence. Additionally, students can learn from each other by sharing stories regarding their experiences within STEM, paired with effective tactics for navigating these sometimes challenging social and academic environments. Davis (2001) identified interstitial communities of practice as settings in which students may come to better understand: 1. Gatekeeping practices. 2. The goals and practices ICPs develop and how they compare and contrast with those of the science community. 3. The capital ICPs value and acquire as a result of those practices and what that means for their members’ legitimate participation in science. 4. The ways in which ICPs do or do not provide their members with access to legitimate participation in the science community and, therefore, to its valued capital and identity. 5. The ways ICPs are able to change their science settings to be more inclusive and participatory. (p. 374) These issues were brought to light via members’ increased sense of belonging within the group and the depth of disclosure that accompanied it. The group provided a setting for its members to “voice issues, concerns, and problems relating to their educational and work environment; construct new understandings about the “culture of science”; make decisions about their education and careers; and receive the support needed to “take action” (Davis, 2001, p. 368). Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 5
  • 6. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century In addition to the exploration of gendered experiences in academia, the actuality of a place where female STEM students felt comfortable communicating in a more communal way enabled them to share personal stories and strategies, an opportunity that appears rare to find in traditional STEM communities. Davis (2001) asserted that through their conversation, the students came to recognize the competitive, aggressive nature of science talk, yet the kind of discourse that took place during the group meetings provided a distinctly opposite communication style. The nature of the talk within the group was based on the acquisition and sharing of information. Members practiced genuine inquiry of their counterparts, shared anecdotal experiences, provided suggestions, conveyed experiential stories, advised one another, and reported on activities and practices that individuals had tried out (Davis, 2001). The demonstrated awareness of gender issues, establishment of sense of belonging among participating members, and opportunity to contribute to a community of learning and progression by sharing anecdotal experiences and effective strategies are just a few of the multitude of benefits that can be gleaned from the allowance of communal communication. Providing a space that is separate from the traditional academic community in which women may converse freely about gender roles and personal experiences can be an essential component not only to students’ personal and career development, but to their persistence in their chosen fields as well. As there continue to be limitations, obstacles, and tensions that inhibit females’ equitable participation in the science community, specialized groups for women can increase participants’ voice and power and challenge the daily inequities that they encounter in their professional and educational settings (Davis, 2001, p. 406). In addition to providing a space where women can communicate openly about pressing sociocultural issues, interstitial communities can also be a space in which women can be trained in effective assertiveness. In the realm of career development for women in pursuit of the STEM fields, an essential assertiveness skill to focus on is salary negotiation. It has been sustained that not only does a gender gap exist in the physical presence of women and men working in the STEM fields, but between pay grades as well (Carvajal, Armayor, & Deziel, 2012; Sorenson & Snyder, 2012). The differences among advocacy behaviors for men and women may, in part, be a cause of these existing pay differences. Wade (2001) suggested that advocacy behaviors are closely tied to conventional social roles. This socially-embedded relationship elucidates the connection between permissive attitudes towards men’s assertiveness and higher levels of self-advocacy, and the more constraining expectation that women act selflessly, leading to lower levels of self-advocacy among women. Furthermore, women may be less likely to initiate the negotiation process due to the social and Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 6
  • 7. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century psychological factors that make self-advocacy costly for women. For example, if a female professional expressed self-advocating behaviors, it is more likely that she will be judged unfavorably for engaging in these non-normative actions, thus decreasing her likeability (Wade, 2001). Moreover, decreased likeability is related to decreased influence (Carli, 1990), framing self-advocacy as a risky move for female professionals. Despite the perception of risks involved with self-advocacy, developing salary and work-related negotiation tactics among women has the potential to be an active means by which to close the gender-wage gap. Methodology and Theory: The Social Cognitive Model of Career Self-Management A potential method of improving women’s self-efficacy in negotiation, as well as increasing perceived self-control in a professional setting, is the self-management training model. Stevens, Bavetta, and Gist (1993) identified self-management as an effective means by which to eliminate gender differences in negotiating salary. Placing an emphasis on anticipating and planning to overcome obstacles, the self-management training module has been shown to be instrumental in increasing perceived control and the range of reactive tactics used by women in response to intimidation attempts during the negotiation process (Stevens, Bavetta, & Gist, 1993). Essentially, research supports the notion that increasing awareness of potential obstacles through a psychoeducational approach combined with goal-setting is more successful for women in the realm of negotiation compared to similar approaches without the psychoeducational element. The model rests on five essential components, which will be the guiding tenets of the proposed group plan: (a) anticipating performance obstacles, (b) planning to overcome performance obstacles, (c) setting goals to overcome obstacles, (d) monitoring one’s own progress, and (e) rewarding one’s goal attainment (F. Kanfer, 1975; Marx, 1982, as cited in Stevens, Bavetta, & Gist, 1993). Since societal gender norms are deeply rooted in a social learning structure, Albert Bandura’s (1986, 1997) social cognitive learning theory serves as a valid theoretical platform on which to cushion self-management training. Introduced by Lent and Brown (2013), the social cognitive model of career self-management expands social cognitive career theory to include a focus on adaptive career behaviors and on the external (environmental, societal) and internal (person-based) factors that encourage (or discourage) their use. The model invites the term “self-management,” in that it is based on the assumption that all individuals possess a degree of agentic capacity in some aspects of Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 7
  • 8. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century their career development. While leaving room for the notion that people live in – and must navigate through – a social world comprised of normative beliefs, the self-management model accounts for individual agency. The model emphasizes the factors that lead people to enact behaviors that aid their own educational and occupational progress (e.g., planning, information-gathering, deciding, goal-setting, job-finding, self-asserting, preparing for change, negotiating transitions) beyond field or job selection alone (Lent & Brown, 2013, p.2). The social cognitive model of career self-management (Lent & Brown, 2013) seamlessly addresses the previously discussed mitigating factors in women’s struggle with gendered norms and environments in the STEM fields. One of the proximal antecedents of adaptive career behavior is the category of cognitive-person factors, namely, self-efficacy. Coping efficacy (beliefs about one’s ability to negotiate specific obstacles) and process efficacy (the perceived ability to manage the tasks necessary for career development), are two of these factors that are simultaneously relevant to the study of women’s career persistence and sense of belonging in STEM. Outcome expectations (simplified in the question: “What will happen if I try?”), work in tandem with self-efficacy beliefs to inform career behaviors (Lent & Brown, 2013). Drawing from Bandura’s (1977, 1997) research on selfefficacy beliefs, Betz (2008) explained the concept of self-efficacy in relation to career development: “Low self-efficacy expectations regarding various behavioral domains are postulated to lead to avoidance of those domains, poorer performance in them, and increased tendency to ‘give up’…In the context of career development, self-efficacy expectations can influence the types of courses, majors, and careers individuals feel comfortable attempting.” (p. 724) An individual’s self-efficacy appears to be interlaced with one’s perception of self and one’s depiction of how they are viewed by others. The link between self-efficacy and women’s persistence in STEM is clear in that both are rooted in social constructions. Self-efficacy perceptions form from the fusion of both individual and societal observations, while women’s persistence in STEM is similarly affected by these factors. Social cognitive theory explains this relationship in its assertion that people are more likely to initiate and foster behaviors when they believe both that they possess the necessary abilities to perform them, and that the effort will produce desired consequences (Bandura, 1977). This concept relates back to women’s bridled communication efforts in the domain of salary negotiation. In concert with the formation of self-efficacy beliefs, the model accounts for an expanse of person Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 8
  • 9. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century inputs (gender, culture, personality, ability), and contextual aspects (educational quality, socioeconomic resources) that may play a hand in one’s development of career behaviors. In marrying person-based and contextual variables to understand the emergence and sustainability of career behaviors, the model adequately attends to the array of complex variables found in the STEM gender gap. Tying It All Together: Marrying the Research to the Model The social-cognitive model of career self-management not only connects relevant factors to women’s pursuit and persistence of STEM, but provides a guided framework to specialized female STEM groups that encourages practice of self-directed career behaviors, the very behaviors that research has found successful in closing the gender gap (Davis, 2001; Stevens, Bavetta, & Gist, 1993). Keeping in mind the over-arching goal of empowering female STEM students to persist in their respective fields, the social-cognitive model of career self-management paired with the informative research on gender roles aids in the formation of five “meta-goals.” First, a specialized group will allow a social arena by which members can engage in communal sharing that allows for a genuine, supportive connection to be formed. Since members may be accustomed to communicating in a more competitive environment, the group will provide a safe space in which to learn, as well as foster an increased sense of belonging among members. Second, it is imperative that individuals in a group possess or develop an awareness of how gendered societal norms influence both external occurrences and barriers and internal perceptions of self and environment to inform individual career behaviors. The development of this understanding not only allows the group to bond together through anecdotal sharing (also lending itself to a climate of sense of belonging), but may also mentally prepare members to adopt effective strategies for navigating obstacles (both real and perceived) within STEM. Third, providing a space in which female STEM students can discuss effective strategies for negotiation has the potential to not only increase individual levels of selfefficacy, but to lend a hand in closing the gender wage and occupational gap through women’s adoption of these career behaviors across the lifetime. Fourth, the practice of matching a female professional mentor in STEM with a group member interested in pursuing a similar field will not only provide the student with an opportunity to glean information about career development strategies, but will allow female students to gain access to the greater STEM social network. Lastly, students will be given the opportunity to engage in open sharing of personal experiences, which will help Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 9
  • 10. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century normalize any feelings of doubt they may hold about their abilities. Recognition of this process will allow the space for students to begin to feel at ease and more confident in their academic abilities, thus raising perceptions of their academic self-efficacy. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to become well-versed in various career development and social strategies, allowing for an increase in both their personal and professional self-efficacy. Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 10
  • 11. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century Executive Summary of Sessions and Associated Goals Based on the information delineated in the previous section, I am proposing the following workshop series geared towards female STEM students: Population: Female college students in science, technology, engineering and math majors. Group Structure: Once selected for the group, students will sign a confidentiality and expectations agreement to commit to the group, which will meet once a week for eight weeks. All sessions will run approximately 1.5 hours, with the exception of session 7 (2 hours) and session 8 (1 hour). All sessions will meet in the Career Events Center of the Career Services Building on campus starting at 5 p.m. (with the exception of session 8, will take place at a ropes course). Each week, a different topic will be covered that will help the students gain insight into how to navigate their academic and professional environments and will allow for an environment of support for these students. Some sessions will involve career development assignments. Proposed Group Sessions: 1. Introduction: Leader will introduce topic of workshop and present qualifications. Group members will introduce themselves and complete an icebreaker in order to start the process of group cohesion. Students will sign a confidentiality agreement. Students will be asked why they were interested in the program and what they hope to get out of it. Students will complete a pre-assessment and identify their individual goals for the quarter. Session topics will be reviewed. Towards the end of the session, group goals and expectations will be constructed and established. o Goal addressed in this session: Sense of Belonging 2. Introduction to Sense of Belonging and Persistence: Discussion of traditional sex roles in the STEM fields and how culture influences the perception of women. Students are encouraged to share any stories or insights they have on this topic, as well as support systems or strategies that help them cope with occurrences of sexism. Activity: Students will be asked to think about their field of study and conceptualize why they are interested in it in a creative way using various craft materials. Students will then share their concept with a partner, thus remembering why they have pursued this field in the first place. Students will complete a Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 11
  • 12. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century worksheet detailing the different social influences in their lives that may inform their selfconcept. o Goals addressed in this session: Sense of Belonging, Awareness of Self, Others, and Society, Strategy and Self-Management, Self-Efficacy 3. The Importance of Mentors: Students will discuss what a mentor is and any mentors they have had in the past that have positive affected them. Research on the importance of mentors for females in STEM will be presented. Students will then learn about the importance of networking in the process of finding of finding a job. The process of informational interviewing will also be introduced. Activity: students will practice informational interviews with each other. Students will be assigned to complete their first informational interview with their mentor (covering an overall introduction the work world, the professional’s career path, and the future outlook of that industry). o Goals addressed in this session: Sense of Belonging, Awareness of Self, Others, and Society, Strategy and Self-Management, Personal and Professional Development, Self-Efficacy 4. Navigating the STEM Environment: First, students will share what they have learned from their first informational interviews. Students will discuss their academic environments and the extent to which they feel they are a participating member in their field of study. Students will discuss strategies for combatting sexism in the academic/work environments. Students will be asked to complete their second informational interview with their mentor (covering harder topics such as sexism in the workplace and support strategies and methods used by professionals to overcome these obstacles). o Goals addressed in this session: Sense of Belonging, Awareness of Self, Others, and Society, Strategy and Self-Management, Personal and Professional Development, Self-Efficacy 5. Standing Out: How to Make a Professional Impression in the Job Search: Students will share what they have learned during their second informational interview. Leader will present information on resume writing, cover letters, interview skills, and elevator pitches. Students will write their own elevator pitch and practice in pairs. Students will be assigned to complete their mock interview with their mentor. Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 12
  • 13. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century o Goals addressed in this session: Sense of Belonging, Awareness of Self, Others, and Society, Strategy and Self-Management, Personal and Professional Development, Self-Efficacy 6. Building a Support System from the Inside-Out: Students will complete an activity: What Makes You Awesome? To identify their strengths. Keeping their strengths in mind, students will be asked how they can utilize their strengths in their future professional environment. Students will be asked to entertain the idea of being a mentor to a female high school student in the STEM field. What advice would they have? How would they positively encourage their mentees? Students will then be asked to recognize the support they have built around them via their participation in this group. Students will complete the activity: Rolling Forward – each student will be given a “slice” of a circle and asked to write one positive mantra they will keep in mind when they meet an obstacle in their career path; after sharing their slices, they will place them all together to form a circle, which symbolizes a wheel that will continue to roll forward, helping them visualize progress and their collective positivism as a team. o Goals addressed in this session: Sense of Belonging, Strategy and Self-Management, Personal and Professional Development, Self-Efficacy 7. Negotiation and Confidence: Students will be introduced to the topic of negotiation. Leader will implement all elements of the $mart $tart Salary Negotiation workshop, including presentation of materials, facilitation of budgeting activity, and conducting a mock negotiation process. 8. Evaluation/Closure: Students will meet a ropes course. Upon completion of the course, students will share their experiences of the program and group/individual goals will be reviewed. Students will share what they have learned from the program and how they plan to apply this knowledge in the future. Students will complete a post-assessment of the program. Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 13
  • 14. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century References Bandura, A. (1999). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. In R.F. Baumeister (Ed.), The self in social psychology. New York, NY: Psychology Press. Betz, N.E. (2004). Women’s career development. In S.D. Brown & R.W. Lent (Eds.), Career development and counseling. New York, NY: Wiley. Betz, N.E., & Hackett, G. (1983). The relationship of mathematics self-efficacy expectations to the selection of science-based college majors. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 23(3), 329-345. doi: 10.1016/0001-8791(83)90046-5 Carli, L. L. (1990). Gender, language, and influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59(5), 941–951. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.59.5.941 Carvajal, M.J., Armayor, G.M., & Deziel, L. (2012). The gender earnings gap among pharmacists. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 8(4), 285-297. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.lib.calpoly.edu/10.1016/j.sapharm.2011.06.003 Davis, K.S. (2001). ‘Peripheral and subversive’: Women making connections and challenging the boundaries of the science community. Science Education, 85(4), 368-409. doi: 10.1002/sce.1015 Eisenberg, N., Martin, C.L., & Fabes, R.A. (1996). Gender development and gender effects. London, England: Prentice Hall International. Erikson, E. (1959/1980). Identity and the life cycle. New York, NY: W.W. Norton. Erikson, E. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York, NY: W.W. Norton. Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 14
  • 15. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century Goldman, E.G. (2012). Lipstick and labcoats: Undergraduate women’s gender negotiation in STEM fields. NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education, 115-140. doi:10.1515/njawhe-2012-1098 Good, C., Rattan, A., & Dweck, C.S. (2012). Why do women opt out? Sense of belonging and women’s representation in mathematics. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(4), 700-717. doi: 10.1037/a0026659 Hagerty, B.M.K., Lynch-Sauer, J., Patusky, K.L., Bouwsema, M., & Collier P. (1992). Sense of belonging: A vital mental health concept. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 6(3), 172-177. doi: 10.1016/0883-9417(92)90028-H Hartley, M.T. (2011). Examining the relationships between resilience, mental health, and academic persistence in undergraduate college students. Journal of American College Health, 59(7), 596604. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2010.515632 Hausmann, L.R.M., Ye, F., Schofield, J.L., & Woods, R.L. (2009). Sense of belonging and persistence in white and African American first-year students. Research in Higher Education, 50(7), 649-669. doi: 10.1007/s11162-009-9137-8 Johnson, R.D., Stone, D.L., & Phillips, T.N. (2008). Relations among ethnicity, gender, beliefs, attitudes, and intention to pursue a career in information technology. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38(4), 999-1022. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2008.00336.x Lent, R.W., & Brown, S.D. (2013). Social cognitive model of career self-management: Toward a unifying view of adaptive career behavior across the lifetime. Journal of Counseling Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0033446 Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 15
  • 16. STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century National Science Foundation (2011). Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering: 2011. NSF 11-309. Retrieved from: http://www.eric.ed.gov.ezproxy.lib.calpoly.edu/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?ac cno=ED516940 Rypisi, C., Malcom, L.E., & Kim, H.S. (2009). Environmental and developmental approaches to supporting women’s success in STEM fields. In S.R. Harper & S.J. Quaye (Eds.), Student engagement in higher education: Theoretical perspectives and practical approaches for diverse populations (pp. 117-136). New York, NY: Routledge Sorenson, C.E., & Snyder, J. (2012). The gender earnings gap for physicians and its increase over time. Economic Letters, 116(1), 37-41. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.lib.calpoly.edu/10.1016/j.econlet.2011.12.133 Stevens, C.K., Bavetta, A.G., & Gist, M.E. (1993). Gender differences in the acquisition of salary negotiation skills: The role of goals, self-efficacy, and perceived control. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78(5), 723-735. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.78.5.723 Stoeger, H., Duan, X., Schirner, S., Greindl, T., & Ziegler, A. (2013). The effectiveness of a one-year online mentoring program for girls in STEM. Computers & Education, 69, 408-418. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2013.07.032 Wade, M.E. (2001). Women and salary negotiation: The costs of self-advocacy. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 25(1), 65-76. doi: 10.1111/1471-6402.00008 Zeldin, A.L., Britner, S.L., & Pajares, F. (2008). A comparative study of the self-efficacy beliefs of successful men and women in mathematics, science, and technology careers. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45(9), 1036-1058. doi: 10.1002/tea.20195 Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 16
  • 17. Statement of Techniques, Goals & Purposes of Group STEM Women: Thriving in the 21st Century Group Workshop Series Career Services California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Theoretical Basis: Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory asserts that while individuals hold agentic power in their lives, they often do not have direct control over the social conditions and institutional practices that affect their everyday lives (Bandura, 2002). Bandura stated people do not live their lives autonomously, and that many things people seek require some degree of interdependence. Du e to our immersion in a social world, we have to pool our knowledge, skills, and resources provide mutual support, form alliances, and work together to secure what we cannot achieve on our own. Bandura’s theory also lends itself to the explanation for how gendered norms are formed and maintained via the interaction between one’s culture and the resulting social schemas within one’s mind. To put it simply, we live in a social world and must understand how culture works and how we work within that culture to be able to enact change for ourselves and society. Guiding Methodology: Group structure will be embedded in the Social Cognitive Theory of Career Self-Management model. The model takes into account both the societal obstacles and beneficial social strategies that are necessary for understanding gender norms within the STEM fields and society at large. The self-management piece focuses on two essential elements: (a) individual goal-setting and (b) the application of information and workable strategies to real world environments. The self-management training model has been shown to increase participants’ carryover utilization of skills (i.e. in providing females with the necessary techniques to negotiate salary in professional environments) (Stevens, Bavetta, & Gist, 1993). Overarching Goal: The primary goal for this group workshop series is to establish a space where female students majoring in the STEM fields have the opportunity to be supported outside of an academic setting. Participants will be encouraged to explore the role that gender plays in society and within their respective academic settings. Through personalized group interactions, members will be given the opportunity to share anecdotal experiences and learn from each other, thus developing an increased awareness and skill strategy when navigating through academic and professional environments. This primary goal is heavily supported by the increased sense of belonging that comes with group work, paired with the adoption of applicable strategies that are transferable to real-life experiences. Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 17
  • 18. Meta-Goals: Meta-goals play a supporting role in contributing to the primary goal of the group. They are research-based and have been interwoven throughout the curriculum of the workshop sessions. Table 1.1 displays meta-goals and corresponding session activities. Meta-Goals & Criterion Supporting Activity Measurable Student Learning Outcomes Sense of Belonging Group cohesion achieved via individual disclosure and leader’s linkages of members’ personal stories Students will be able to identify a safe social community on campus that fits their needs as a female STEM student Increase sense of belonging to the STEM fields Increase sense of belonging on campus Increase/develop awareness of gender roles in STEM and society Explore perceptions of self Students will place personal interest in their field above the perceptions of others as a motivational direction in their profession Social interactions and relationshipbuilding among students in similar fields on campus Awareness of self, others, and society Students will express meaning by using craft materials to conceptualize their interest in their field Students will be able to identify at least one other group member with whom they have formed a connection with Group discussions centered around the topic of gender norms, discrimination, and withheld resources in academic and social environments Students will be able to identify societal influence in the construction of gender norms within the STEM fields Students will complete “The Social You” worksheet and discuss how they may/may not have been influenced by norms set forth by society/family/media Strategy and self-management Develop strategic knowledge that enables students to effectively navigate academic and professional environments in the presence of gender norms Group discussions on the topic of gendered experiences within STEM Anecdotal sharing on effective and non-effective strategies for navigating gendered environments Process of creating individual goals and practicing effective social strategies via role-play Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 Students will report competence in their selfknowledge and recognize how self-concepts can be influenced by societal norms Students will develop competence in the following areas: (a) anticipating performance obstacles, (b) planning to overcome performance obstacles, (c) setting goals to overcome obstacles, (d) monitoring one’s own progress, and (e) rewarding one’s goal attainment Students will demonstrate increased awareness of and intent to use negotiation skills 18
  • 19. Engage in personal and professional development Foster advanced career development strategies Increase self-efficacy Raise individual perceptions of selfefficacy in academic tasks and professional pathways Raise individual perceptions of selfefficacy in interactions with others in a social world Students will engage in professional communication with mentors Students will conduct two informational interviews with mentors for career development and networking purposes Group sharing will help uncover performance anxiety and the potential for internalized gender norms as an obstacle faced by women in STEM, thus taking the focus off of the student’s ability and bringing in the external influences at play Students will practice negotiation strategies and other related social strategies that stress gender equality Zoe Sullivan, California Polytechnic State University, 2014 Students will be able to identify at least two important pieces of information gained from interactions with their mentor Students will be competent with professional communication and the process of informational interviewing Students will report moderatehigh levels of self-efficacy in their field Students will indicate an awareness of the potential effect of internalized gender norms on their perceptions of self Students will be able to recognize a transferable skill they have acquired through group interactions 19

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