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College Student Persistence in Scientific Disciplines: Cultural and Social Capital as Contributing Factors

Abstract

Underrepresentation of women of color in science majors and careers continues to be a concern for many science educators. Despite being the fastest growing population of college students, women of color have made insufficient gains in college science degree attainment. Sixteen women of color who were undergraduates majoring in a science field participated in three-part, in-depth interviews. Prominent factors associated with persistence as a science major included academic preparation for college science, faculty support, important school science experiences, family support, science support programs, altruistic beliefs, and the importance of religion. This study examined the data using current persistence theories as well as exploring the role of cultural and social capital as sources for support and motivation.

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Correspondence to Robert John Ceglie.

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Ceglie, R.J., Settlage, J. College Student Persistence in Scientific Disciplines: Cultural and Social Capital as Contributing Factors. Int J of Sci and Math Educ 14, 169–186 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-014-9592-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-014-9592-3

Keywords

  • Motivation
  • Persistence
  • Sources of capital
  • Underrepresentation
  • Women of color