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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

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

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2013004491
pages 273-293

PORTRAITS OF SCIENCE SELF-EFFICACY: FOUR UNDERGRADUATE WOMEN IN A SUMMER RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

Shari L. Britner
Department of Teacher Education, Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois 61625, USA
Brian Williams
College of Education, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30302-3980, USA
John L. Pecore
School of Education, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL. 32514, USA
Phillip Gagne
College of Education, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30302-3980, USA
Melissa K. Demetrikopoulos
Division of Program Development & Assessment, Institute for Biomedical Philosophy, Dunedin, Florida 34697, USA
Rob Poh
Neuroscience Institute, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30302-5030, USA
Laura L. Carruth
Neuroscience Institute, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30302-5030, USA
Chris T. Goode
Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30302-5010, USA
Robert L. DeHaan
Professor of Cell Biology Emeritus, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA
Kyle J. Frantz
Neuroscience Institute, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30302-5030, USA

ABSTRACT

To strengthen the US scientific workforce, we aim to recruit and retain talented students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, to enhance success among students from groups underrepresented in STEM fields, and to diversify the scientific workforce to mirror the US population. Given that opportunities for authentic research may support STEM advancement, we seek to maximize the number of students involved in research. Our Behavioral Research Advancements in Neuroscience (BRAIN) research program tests the hypothesis that a team-based collaborative-learning model not only provides research opportunities for more students, but also produces outcomes at least as positive as a traditional one-on-one apprenticeship model. We examined scientific research self-efficacy as a critical construct for measuring student outcomes and predicting student progress toward STEM careers. Here we provide descriptive portraits of four women who participated in BRAIN, integrating quantitative survey data with analysis of pre- and post- semistructured interviews. Although selected for different self-efficacy trajectories in the quantitative surveys, all four women described increased self-efficacy in interviews and emphasized mastery experiences as a source of self-efficacy. Two women illustrate one general outcome from the program: women overcame initially lower scientific research self-efficacy, matching self-efficacy among men by mid-program. The overarching study suggests that both team-based research and apprenticeships can raise scientific research self-efficacy, which predicts STEM career success. Therefore, this collaborative model provides a structure for authentic research at institutions that may lack available mentors, and yet aim to improve opportunities for diverse undergraduate groups to pursue STEM careers.


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