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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

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

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2015011143
pages 159-179

"RESPECT ME FOR MY SCIENCE": A BOURDIEUIAN ANALYSIS OF WOMEN SCIENTISTS' INTERACTIONS WITH FACULTY AND SOCIALIZATION INTO SCIENCE

Kimberly Griffin
University of Maryland
Kenneth D. Gibbs, Jr.
National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
Jessica Bennett
Counseling, Higher Education, Special Education Department, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 20742, USA
Candice Staples
Counseling, Higher Education, Special Education Department, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 20742, USA
Tykeia Robinson
Counseling, Higher Education, Special Education Department, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 20742, USA

ABSTRACT

Disparities in representation in the professoriate and recent research suggest that women continue to face challenges throughout their training. This study examines a specific aspect of scientific training− interactions with faculty−due to their role in socializing students into academic norms and values which can promote retention and success in science. While studies have highlighted the importance of faculty relationships in socialization, few studies have done so using a Bourdieuian framework (social capital, cultural capital, habitus, and field) or simultaneously addressed postdoctoral and graduate training experiences. This study uses Bourdieuian tools to frame an analysis of focus group data collected from 23 women who have completed PhDs in the biomedical sciences, focusing on how their relationships with faculty throughout their training experiences inform them about what it means to be a scientist, their alignment with these norms, and their access to important resources (social and cultural capital). Findings suggest that faculty interactions often suggested to women or led them to surmise that academic norms and values conflicted with their own as women. Further, women described negative and marginalizing interactions as limiting their access to important resources key to advancement in science.