Research in Higher Education

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 189–214 | Cite as

Diversifying Science: Underrepresented Student Experiences in Structured Research Programs

  • Sylvia HurtadoEmail author
  • Nolan L. Cabrera
  • Monica H. Lin
  • Lucy Arellano
  • Lorelle L. Espinosa


Targeting four institutions with structured science research programs for undergraduates, this study focuses on how underrepresented students experience science. Several key themes emerged from focus group discussions: learning to become research scientists, experiences with the culture of science, and views on racial and social stigma. Participants spoke of essential factors for becoming a scientist, but their experiences also raised complex issues about the role of race and social stigma in scientific training. Students experienced the collaborative and empowering culture of science, exhibited strong science identities and high self-efficacy, while developing directed career goals as a result of “doing science” in these programs.


Undergraduate science research Racial/ethnic minorities Stigma Identity Self-efficacy 



This study was made possible by the support of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH Grant Number 1 RO1 GMO71968-01. This independent research and the views expressed here do not indicate endorsement by the sponsor.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvia Hurtado
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nolan L. Cabrera
    • 1
  • Monica H. Lin
    • 1
  • Lucy Arellano
    • 1
  • Lorelle L. Espinosa
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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