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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 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.2013005706
pages 165-183

THE UNDERGRADUATE STEM RESEARCH EXPERIENCES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MALES AT A HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGE

Jann Adams
Department of Psychology, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia 30314, USA
Sinead Younge
Department of Psychology, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia 30314, USA
Ulrica Wilson
Department of Mathematics, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia 30314, USA
Willie Pearson, Jr.
School of History, Technology & Society, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA
Cheryl B. Leggon
School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA

RÉSUMÉ

Despite some gains in recent years, and state and national efforts to improve the numbers and retention of Black men in colleges across the United States, Black males, compared to their female counterparts, continue to have lower rates of degree completion, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In an effort to increase degree attainment, policymakers have begun investing considerable resources to ensure appropriate academic and social supports for Black male students in higher education. This paper examines the experiences of African American male undergraduates participating in a federally funded research training program at a Historically Black College. Using a mixed-method approach with qualitative interviews and quantitative survey data, the study examines the experiences of Black male students in terms of the following: persistence in intended major; highest aspirational degree; perception of academic preparedness; academic year and summer research experience; participation in professional STEM meetings; formal tours of graduate schools; and perceptions of the value of an undergraduate research experience. Findings show that students who participated in the formal undergraduate research program were more likely than their comparison peers to have persisted in their intended major; these students were also more likely to aspire to earn a STEM PhD or a joint MD/STEM PhD degree. Students also report their research experiences bolstered their performance in upper-level STEM courses, and enhanced their confidence in their ability to study science at a top-ranked department. Results show that preprofessional socialization into the community of science has remarkable consequences for the pursuit of STEM graduate education.