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

ISSN Imprimer: 1072-8325
ISSN En ligne: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2011002470
pages 129-147

WOMEN'S EXPERIENCES IN THE STEM COMMUNITY COLLEGE TRANSFER PATHWAY

Becky Wai-Ling Packard
Mount Holyoke College
Janelle L. Gagnon
Department of Psychology and Education, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075, USA
Onawa LaBelle
Department of Psychology and Education, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075, USAl
Kimberly Jeffers
Department of Psychology and Education, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075, USA
Erica Lynn
Department of Psychology and Education, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075, USAl

RÉSUMÉ

The experiences of women using the community college transfer pathway to earn four-year degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields have not been studied extensively. This study examined the experiences of thirty women (67% first-generation college students, 23% ethnic minority students) pursuing STEM degrees; they were interviewed once while finishing at community college and again one semester later. The results illustrate facilitators at the community college, including inspirational professors, effective transfer advising, academic resources, and flexible work schedules, and barriers resulting from ineffective initial advising. After transferring to a four-year institution, the majority of women persisted in STEM majors despite many barriers, such as negative course experiences, poor advising, and limited finances. Finding a helpful professor or advisor and cotransfer support boosted belongingness and contributed to persistence. Two students switched to non-STEM fields, while two students withdrew from the four-year school completely; these students faced significant financial barriers and did not find a helpful professor or advisor in a STEM field. Finally, four students delayed their transfer, primarily due to financial reasons and family responsibilities. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.


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