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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.v12.i2-3.50
pages 179-207

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTEREST IN PHYSICAL SCIENCE/ENGINEERING, SCIENCE CLASS EXPERIENCES, AND FAMILY CONTEXTS: VARIATIONS BY GENDER AND RACE/ETHNICITY AMONG SECONDARY STUDENTS

Shannon K. Gilmartin
Caltech Precollege Science Initiative, California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Blvd., Mail Code 1-98, Pasadena, California 91125
Erika Li
California Institute of Technology
Pamela Aschbacher
California Institute of Technology

ABSTRACT

Drawing from a sample of 1,126 10th-grade students across four school districts in Southern California, this study examined the net effects of family — and science class — related variables on students’ interests in a physical science and/or engineering career, with particular attention to variations in these relationships by students' gender and racial/ethnic background. Findings indicate the role of family science orientation is contingent less on gender than on race/ethnicity, and students' perceptions of their science class experiences are not strongly related to their science career aspirations regardless of gender and race/ethnicity. Implications for patterns of underrepresentation in the science and engineering pipeline are discussed.