This project will conduct a systematic and empirical (both quantitative and qualitative) longitudinal study of the factors that influence students' decisions at critical junctures in the educational pipeline. The goals are too (a) broaden participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields and (b) improve the recruitment, retention, and success of minority undergraduate men in STEM and STEM-related fields across colleges and universities in the United States. Specifically, the goals of this study are to (a) estimate the impacts of Black and Latino males' backgrounds, K-12 educational and college experiences on their movement or transition through the STEM pipeline (b) model such decisions by developing a latent model using nationally representative data (c) test and refine the latent model using locally collected data and (d) employ qualitative interviews to examine closely cases of those who successfully navigate through critical junctures.

The educational plan is designed to train a cadre of Black and Latino doctoral students, each year (e.g., 12 in year one including 5 minority men, 4 women, 2 employed at community colleges), to conduct empirical research, including large-scale secondary analyses, on issues related to STEM education by integrating this research in graduate-level research design/analysis courses. The goal is to produce doctoral graduates who possess the skills to conduct rigorous research/evaluation and who understand their social responsibility to use such capabilities in service to society. Students are involved as student researchers and co-presenters. A mini-conference will be held for 20-40 Black and Latino males as a form of outreach in broadening participation in Year Five of the project.

Knowledge resulting from this study will enhance understanding about how to design programs, formulate policies, and enact practices that improve the educational pipeline for African American and Latino men in STEM fields. The study will inform policy and practice through the following project outcomes: (1) Workshops that leverage the knowledge produced by the project and make such information accessible to teachers, administrators, parents, and more general audiences; (2) A dedicated website that provides access to information and publications that result from this research investigation including, but not limited to, progress reports, preliminary findings, annual reports, empirical research summaries and journal articles; (3) Publications that summarize and share findings from the project including peer-reviewed journal articles, a book-length manuscript, and student publications including theses and dissertations; (4) Meeting with PTA and local school officials about the findings of the study; and (5) Toolkits for parents, faculty members, and students that provide facts and "how to" advice for broadening participation in STEM fields.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL)
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Elizabeth VanderPutten
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Ohio State University
United States
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