Exploring the Participation of LGBTQ Undergraduates in STEM
Effective Years: 2021-2026
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program is a National Science Foundation-wide activity that offers awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. This project awarded to a CAREER scholar has the goal to examine the participation of LGBTQ students in undergraduate STEM programs to understand how their experiences as LGBTQ students in STEM affect their decision-making regarding STEM career goals. The research will provide STEM students, educators, administrators, and policymakers the tools to create LGBTQ-inclusive learning environments. This award is supported by the EHR Core Research program which supports fundamental STEM education research initiatives.
This study will achieve the research goal through three research aims. The first aim uses social network analysis to measure characteristics of LGBTQ STEM students' social networks, relate these characteristics to other STEM outcomes like STEM identity, and compare these characteristics with their heterosexual and cisgender peers. The second aim is to compare STEM degree completion rates between LGBTQ STEM students and their peers through regression analysis of a national dataset of college students. The third research aim is then to explore the discipline-based STEM identities of LGBTQ STEM students through narrative interviews. The research produced from this project will contribute by highlighting the potential consequences of hiding LGBTQ identity in STEM on students' social networks, the difference in STEM degree completion rates by sexual orientation and gender identity, and how the LGBTQ climate in STEM affects discipline-based STEM identities. The educational aims of the project are to develop a course on social network analysis in education research; create training resources for STEM faculty to ensure more LGBTQ-inclusive classrooms; and conduct training seminars on LGBTQ data for administrators and policymakers.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.