Feminist Research Institute Seed Grant Initiative
The Intersection of Gender, Ethnic, and Scientific Identity and Retention of Latina STEM Majors at UC Davis
Project leaders Natalia Caporale (Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior) and Lina R. Méndez (Center for Chicanx and Latinx Academic Student Success) will report on their Seed Grant-funded project. Please RSVP here.
Project Description: Despite significant efforts over the last 30 years, women still comprise only 24% of the U.S. STEM workforce. At the college level, 35.1% of STEM degrees go to women, with Latinas comprising a mere 3.5% in 2010. Our study will identify factors that promote Latina success in STEM majors, as well as barriers and challenges Latinas face in college through the combined lens of feminist and critical race theory. We will focus on the effects of science identity, ethnicity and gender, and the intersectionality of these factors. In this study, we will conduct focus groups and interviews of UC Davis Latinas who are currently in STEM (in good academic standing and in academic probation) and those who decided to switch out of STEM majors. This study will provide new data on the interactions between gender, ethnicity and identity and retention in STEM that could be used to inform institutional policies that encourage and help retain Latinas in STEM; a goal that is particularly important as UC Davis achieves the status of Hispanic Serving Institution.