Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

First Advisor

Pamela Twyman Hoff


A national push exists to increase the number of African American students who pursue STEM majors (Baber, 2014). While African American students have high aspirations to pursue STEM disciplines, an incongruence remains between their aspirations and their attainment of STEM degrees (Archer, Dewitt, Osbourne, 2015). This work seeks to critically underscore the structural issues that impede African American students in their journey as STEM majors. These impediments have been explored as factors that influence the identity of African American students. In the spirit of Critical Race Theory, the goal of this study is to give voice to first year African American STEM students who reflected on their pre-college experiences in school. Their experiences were collected and analyzed to understand, from the perspective of the students, the following: 1) structural issues in their educational journey and 2) how these structural issues impact academic identity as they complete their first semester of college. Seven students participated in this study. Each student wrote his or her STEM autobiography and participated in a one-hour interview. Students also were observed within the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program, a National Science Foundation grant that supports underrepresented STEM students. These group meetings were observed with the purpose of understanding the culture and experiences of African American STEM students.


Imported from ProQuest Platt_ilstu_0092E_10885.pdf


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