Women are largely underrepresented numbers are improving or breaking even in some fields (e.g., biological sciences) but remain dramatically uneven in others (e.g., computer science) Even when women enter fields at similar rates as men, they… Were less exposed to science and math coursework at the high school level, and subsequently earn lower GPAs Are more likely to leave before completing their degree or finding employment (the leaky pipeline)
Stereotype threat – decreased performance caused by the additional cognitive load of anticipating a negative, stereotype-based appraisal in a valued domain Stereotypes of women’s abilities – assumptions about performance that influence interactions, opportunities, and assessments Culture of brilliance – belief that success in certain fields is due to inborn talent rather than perseverance and hard work (negatively related to presence of women and minorities) Beliefs about scientists’ abilities, identities, and futures -- stereotypes that portray scientists as unattractive, asocial loners
Identity Dynamically and socially constructed Primed by environment What are possible-selves? Future-oriented Social constructions Express both aspirations and concerns Can be academic (i.e. scientific, engineering, mathematic), interpersonal, occupational, etc.
Selves predict behavior because we attempt to behave in identity-congruent ways
When there is a conflict, we withdraw from the difficult identity: “I’m struggling a lot in my programming class, so I’m just not made out to be a programmer”
We have many possible selves (varying in ideal-ness and feared-ness) and many current selves
As part of an Introduction to Biology class, the professor asks students to read about twelve scientists who have done work in curriculum-relevant areas By the end of the quarter, students’ ideas about scientists have changed
Analyzing their writing shows how much emphasis these students place on pathways – how people become scientists, how they do science, how they come to be famous as scientists, etc.
The intervention diversified ideas about scientists and the perception of scientists as relatable But did not affect perception of self or plans for the future
Current study looks at creation of a science pathways scale that assess participants’ experiences as students and members of their families and communities their career expectations and goals their perceptions of their own intelligence, socially competence, and industriousness As well as how they view scientists’ self-same experiences and qualities
These items are drawn from literature that reflects on diverse experiences in STEM and the education system
Self and scientist: Diversity and students' images of scientists
SELF AND SCIENTIST:
DIVERSITY AND STUDENTS’
IMAGES OF SCIENTISTS
WOMEN IN STEM
• Women are largely underrepresented in STEM
• Even when women enter fields at similar rates as men, they…
• Have less experience with the topics
• Earn lower GPAs
• Are more subject to attrition
• Among the many factors at play, women consistently identify stereotypes
as a major barrier to their success
National Science Foundation & NationalCenter for Science and Engineering Statistics, 2015; Riegle-Crumb & King, 2010
• Stereotype threat – impacts
• Stereotypes of individuals’ abilities –
impacts hiring and assessment
• Stereotypes about scientists –
impacts interest and persistence
• Culture of brilliance – unclear, may
impact admission, persistence, and
Aronson, Fried, & Good, 2002; Johnson, Barnard-Brak, Saxon, &
Johnson, 2012; Leslie, Cimpian, Meyer, and Freeland, 2015;
Brickhouse & Potter, 2001; Margolis, Fisher, & Fisher, 1999
SELVES IN STEM
• What is the ‘self’, or an identity? What are possible-selves?
• How do selves and identities impact behavior? What happens when there is a
DIVERSE STORIES IN & OUT
• The current project I’m working on starts in a community college classroom in
DIVERSE STORIES IN & OUT
• Analysis of writing shows emphasis on the paths scientists take
• Life experiences and goals
• Their traits, interests, and character
• Presence of diversity and transformation
CHANGE STORIES, CHANGE SELVES
• How do we build on this first study to diversify ideas about the self (both current
• Looking at literature that discusses
• Experiences in science classrooms at all levels
• Influential factors in perceived value of schooling and science interest
• Drawing on this research to create a scale that assess
• Life experiences (particularly those that occurred in classrooms)
• Career expectations and goals
• Perceived skillsets and characteristics
CHANGE STORIES, CHANGE SELVES
When I think about myself, I think I…
• ...slacked off and didn't work hard during high school.
• ...have parents who struggle to make ends meet.
• …succeed because of hard work.
• …succeed because I'm naturally intelligent.
CHANGE STORIES, CHANGE SELVES
When I think about scientists, I think they…
• …were involved in a lot of extracurricular activities as children.
• …were known for being smart, even as children.
• …work in environments where they can relax and enjoy themselves.
• …sacrificed a lot just to get their degree, and even more to become successful.
“This article was interesting, actually, because Dr. Dubois is such a
unique person. He was born and raised to be a farmer, and didn’t
have very much money or aspiration beyond finishing high school
and maybe attending college if he could. He found science
completely by accident and fell in love […] It’s very impressive to
see someone come from so traditionally unlikely a background
and become so well-known for his work…”
“In some of the spotlights some scientists felt that they didn’t
always want to pursue a career in science and that it just happens.
I’m starting to feel the same way. I’m not originally a science
major but I feel that I could have a future in it if I find the right
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selves. Journal of Adolescence, 27(2), 147–152. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2003.11.010
Aronson, J., Fried, C. B., & Good, C. (2002). Reducing the Effects of Stereotype Threat on African American College
Students by ShapingTheories of Intelligence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38(2), 113–125.
Brickhouse, N.W., & Potter, J.T. (2001).YoungWomen’s Scientifc Identity Formation in an Urban Context, 38(8), 965–980.
Hermans, H. J. M., & Gieser,T. (2012). Handbook of Dialogical SelfTheory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Johnson, H. J., Barnard-Brak, L., Saxon,T. F., & Johnson, M. K. (2012). An Experimental Study of the Effects of Stereotype
Threat and Stereotype Lift on Men andWomen’s Performance in Mathematics. The Journal of Experimental
Education, 80(2), 137–149. doi:10.1080/00220973.2011.567312
Leslie, S.-J., Cimpian, A., Meyer, M., & Freeland, E. (2015). Expectations of briliance underlie gender distributions across
academic disciplines. Science, 347(6219), 23–34. doi:10.1081/E-EWS
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