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Underrepresented Students Entering STEM Fields

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


American Educational Research Association (2009)



This study will examine the factors that explain the matriculation of first-time women and
minority undergraduate students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)
fields at three large, research-intensive, public universities. Specifically, the following questions
will be addressed: What factors influence students’ entrance into the STEM fields? and How might
patterns of students opting in differ within STEM fields? These questions are explored using
descriptive statistics and nested logistic regression models with socio-demographic characteristics,
pre-college academic qualifications and financial attributes included as explanatory variables. The
results of this study will help contribute to institutional effectiveness by identifying potential
mismatches in the initial choice of college major and offering policy improvements that satisfy both
educational and diversity goals.