Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 976–993 | Cite as

Psychology of Working Narratives of STEM Career Exploration for Non-dominant Youth

Article

Abstract

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a domain of knowledge, skills, and practices that is pervasive and of critical importance in our highly technological, rapidly advancing, and increasingly connected world; however, non-dominant youth, namely from non-White, lower-income, non-English-speaking, and immigrant backgrounds, are disproportionately underrepresented in STEM careers in the USA. Professional STEM career participation can be especially valuable for non-dominant populations as these careers are high quality, in-demand, and can afford one social mobility and economic stability. It is, therefore, important that we understand the ways in which non-dominant youth explore STEM careers such that we can further support and expand these. As such, this exploratory study has applied a career development perspective known as a Psychology of Working (PoW; Blustein in The psychology of working: a new perspective for career development, counseling, and public policy, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, 2006) which is aptly suited to interpreting the career narratives of diverse, non-dominant populations in order to understand the unique STEM career exploration experiences of a group of non-dominant youth. The PoW framework has been modified in response to the developmental context of the youth, specifically, a focus on career expectations as opposed to career experiences, as well as their formal and informal educational experiences, including a National Science Foundation grant-funded STEM program, in which all of the participants were involved. From this study, an understanding has been gained of a number of different universal human needs that, when addressed, were influential on these youth’s STEM career exploration. In particular, social connectedness via STEM career mentorship was identified as most impactful for these youth.

Keywords

STEM career exploration Psychology of working STEM career mentorship STEM engagement Non-dominant youth 

References

  1. Ahmad FZ, Boser U (2014) America’s leaky pipeline for teachers of color: getting more teachers of color into the classroom. Center for American Progress, Washington, DC. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/report/2014/05/04/88960/americas-leaky-pipeline-for-teachers-of-color
  2. Barton AC (2001) Science education in urban settings: seeking new ways of praxis through critical ethnography. J Res Sci Teach 38(8):899–917. doi:10.1002/tea.1038 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blustein DL (2006) The psychology of working: a new perspective for career development, counseling, and public policy. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, MahwahGoogle Scholar
  4. Buck GA, Leslie-Pelecky D, Kirby SK (2002) Bringing female scientists into the elementary classroom: confronting the strength of elementary student’s stereotypical images of scientists. J Elem Sci Educ 14(2):1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buck GA, Plano Clark VL, Leslie-Pelecky D, Lu Y, Cerda-Lizarraga P (2008) Examining the cognitive processes used by adolescent girls and women scientists in identifying science role models: a feminist approach. Sci Educ 92(4):688–707. doi:10.1002/sce.20257 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burke RJ (2007) Women and minorities in STEM: a primer. In: Burke RJ, Mattis MC (eds) Women and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics: upping the numbers. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp 3–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Duffy RD, Dik BJ (2009) Beyond the self: external influences in the career development process. Career Dev Q 58(1):29–43. doi:10.1002/j.2161-0045.2009.tb00171.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Emdin C (2010) Urban science education for the hip-hop generation: Essential tools for the urban science educator and researcher. Sense Publishers, RotterdamGoogle Scholar
  9. Gandara P, Bial D (2001) Paving the way to postsecondary education: K-12 intervention programs for underrepresented youth (NCES no 2001205). National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from ERIC Document Reproduction number ED 458 340, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  10. Giordano PC (2003) Relationships in adolescence. Annu Rev Sociol 29:257–281. doi:10.2307/30036968 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Guerrero L, Singh S (2013) The psychology of working: a case study of Mexican American women with low educational attainment. Career Dev Q 61(1):27–39. doi:10.1002/j.2161-0045.2013.00033.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hall DT (2004) The protean career: a quarter-century journey. J Vocat Behav 65(1):1–13. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2003.10.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hees CK, Rottinghaus PJ, Briddick WC, Conrath JA (2012) Work-to-school transitions in the age of the displaced worker: a psychology of working perspective. Career Dev Q 60(4):333–342. doi:10.1002/j.2161-0045.2012.00025.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Holland J (1973) Making vocational choices. A theory of careers. Prentice-Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  15. Ingersoll R (2002) Out-of-field teaching, educational inequality, and the organization of schools: an exploratory analysis. CPRE Research Reports. http://repository.upenn.edu/cpre_researchreports/22
  16. Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST). National Science FoundationGoogle Scholar
  17. Lent R, Brown S, Hackett G (2000) Contextual supports and barriers to career choice: a social cognitive analysis. J Couns Psychol 47(1):36–49. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.47.1.36 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lent R, Brown SD, Sheu H-B, Schmidt J, Brenner BR, Gloster CS, Treistman D (2005) Social cognitive predictors of academic interests and goals in engineering: utility for women and students at historically black universities. J Couns Psychol 52(1):84–92. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.52.1.84 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lewis B, Collins A (2001) Interpretive investigation of the science-related career decisions of three African-American college students. J Res Sci Teach 38(5):599–621. doi:10.1002/tea.1020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marfleet P, Blustein DL (2011) ‘Needed not wanted’: an interdisciplinary examination of the work-related challenges faced by irregular migrants. J Vocat Behav 78(3):381–389. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2011.03.022 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. National Research Council (2009) Learning science in informal environments: People, places, and pursuits. The National Academies Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  22. National Science Board (2016) Science and engineering indicators 2016. National Science Foundation (NSB-2016-1), ArlingtonGoogle Scholar
  23. Oakes J, Ormseth T, Bell RM, Camp P (1990) Multiplying inequalities: the effects of race, social class, and tracking on opportunities to learn mathematics and science. RAND Corporation, Santa MonicaGoogle Scholar
  24. Packard BW-L, Babineau ME (2009) From drafter to engineer, doctor to nurse: an examination of career compromise as renegotiated by working-class adults over time. J Career Dev 35:207–227. doi:10.1177/0894845308327270 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) (2010) Prepare and inspire: K-12 education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for America’s future, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  26. Ryan RM, Deci E (2000) Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. Am Psychol 55(1):68–78. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ryken A (2006) “Goin’ somewhere”: how career technical education programs support and constrain urban youth’s career decision-making. Career Tech Educ Res 31(1):49–71. doi:10.5328/CTER31.1.49 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Savickas ML (2012) Life design: a paradigm for career intervention in the 21st century. J Couns Dev 90(1):13–19. doi:10.1111/j.1556-6676.2012.00002.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Solberg VS, Howard KA, Blustein DL, Close W (2002) Career development in the schools: connecting school-to-work-to-life. Couns Psychol 30(5):705–725. doi:10.1177/0011000002305003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stake RE (2013) Multiple case study analysis. Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  31. Stine DD, Matthews CM (2009) The US science and technology workforce. Congressional Research Service Report for Congress. Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress, RL34539Google Scholar
  32. Strong EK Jr (1927) Vocational interest blank. Stanford University Press, Palo AltoGoogle Scholar
  33. Sullivan SE (1999) The changing nature of careers: a review and research agenda. J Manag 25:457–484. doi:10.1177/014920639902500308 Google Scholar
  34. Sullivan SE, Mainiero L (2008) Using the kaleidoscope career model to understand the changing patterns of women’s careers: designing HRD programs that attract and retain women. Adv Dev Hum Res 10(1):32–49. doi:10.1177/1523422307310110 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Super D (1980) A life-span, life-space approach to career development. J Vocat Behav 16(3):282–298. doi:10.1016/0001-8791(80)90056-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tams S, Arthur MB (2010) New directions for boundaryless careers: agency and interdependence in a changing world. J Organ Behav 31(5):629–646. doi:10.1002/job.712 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tan E, Barton AC, Kang H, O’Neill T (2013) Desiring a career in STEM-related fields: how middle school girls articulate and negotiate identities-in-practice in science. J Res Sci Teach 50(10):1143–1179. doi:10.1002/tea.21123 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tate W (2001) Science education as a civil right: urban schools and opportunity-to-learn considerations. J Res Sci Teach 38(9):1015–1028. doi:10.1002/tea.1045 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Valla JM, Williams WM (2012) Increasing achievement and higher-education representation of under-represented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields: a review of current K-12 intervention programs. J Women Minor Sci Eng 18(1):21–53. doi:10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2012002908 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wang X (2013) Why students choose STEM majors: motivation, high school learning, and postsecondary context of support. Am Educ Res J 50(5):1081–1121. doi:10.3102/0002831213488622 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Middle and Secondary Education, College of Education and Human DevelopmentUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations