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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.504 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Druckformat: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2011003062
pages 357-369

WHY DIDN'T I KNOW? BLACK WOMEN MATHEMATICIANS AND THEIR AVENUES OF EXPOSURE TO THE DOCTORATE

Viveka Borum
Wayne State University
Erica Walker
Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, New York 10027, USA

ABSTRAKT

There is clearly a scarcity in the number of women and minorities who pursue higher degrees in mathematics and other science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. After-school programs, out-of-school programs, and various summer research programs have been structures for enrichment in promoting racial and gender equity in the STEM fields. This qualitative study examines the formative, professional, and personal experiences of twelve black women who have obtained their doctoral degrees in mathematics. Black feminist thought inquiry was used as the theoretical framework and a grounded-theory approach was used to analyze the data. Through these women's experiences, informal and formal avenues of exposure such as family influence, informal dialogue, and attending historically black colleges and universities emerged as factors for their success in becoming a mathematician. Findings indicate that greater awareness and exposure to the field of mathematics and other STEM disciplines are beneficial for the success of women and minorities. Future research is recommended to determine effective networks and/or academic pipelines that promote awareness and exposure to mathematics and other STEM fields at all academic levels.


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