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University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach


The underrepresentation of minority students in STEM fields is a concern in today’s society. Research suggests that identity plays a major role in students’ ultimate success within these fields. Using identity theory as a theoretical framework, this study explores the ways in which identity affects the academic careers of underrepresented students in STEM. The participants of this study consisted of undergraduates from various colleges and universities around the United States that attended the SACNAS 2010 research conference. Thematic analysis was used to identify four overarching themes from a set of narrative responses collected after the event. The identified themes include (1) motivation and future endeavors, (2) networking, (3) experienced others, and (4) disadvantaged backgrounds. These themes were analyzed to further understand the importance that identifying as a scientist has on students in STEM.


Academic achievement; College students; Minorities--Education (Higher); Minority college students; Minority students; Undergraduates


Community-Based Research | Education | Higher Education | Inequality and Stratification | Science and Mathematics Education