Family Support, Pressure, Disengagement, and Marginalization: Facilitating or Hindering STEM Interest and Career Participation among Diverse Women
Effective Years: 2023-2028
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program is a National Science Foundation-wide activity that offers awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education, to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization, and to build a foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. This CAREER project investigates how parental messages facilitate the resilience of girls and women from diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds in STEM career development. The project explores the idea that family support is critical for encouraging interest in STEM and sustaining career progress through adulthood. However, parents may also communicate messages (e.g., pressure, marginalization, disengagement) that make it difficult for girls and women to persist and thrive in STEM careers. The results of this study will be integrated with education goals to teach families about effective communication and STEM career options. The study will include a conversation-based card game that engages the family in discussion and stimulate learning about career trajectories, support, and messages in a workshop for parents of high school girls interested in pursuing STEM.
This project will consider intersectional identities and diverse lived experiences to understand how different types of family STEM communication influence STEM interests and persistence. Three mixed-methods studies will employ in-depth interview and survey methodologies to identify effective parental messages that facilitate STEM interest and support underrepresented women in STEM throughout their careers. Interviews with Black, Hispanic, and White STEM and non-STEM majors and a survey of parents will identify types and predictors of family STEM communication. The empirical findings and educational activities of this CAREER project will illuminate and disseminate how family dynamics influence the career trajectories of Black, Hispanic, and White women at multiple life stages. This project is funded by the Directorate for STEM Education Core Research (ECR) program, which supports work that advances fundamental research on STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development.
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.