To enhance student enrollment, retention, and success in STEM fields of study, a focused strategy was implemented to establish student STEM organizations aligning underrepresented students with matched mentors and mindsets. We developed a survey tool based on published literature and established instruments, including measures of STEM belonging, science identity, and growth mindset, as well as measures assessing students’ views on their STEM participation. The developed research process can be applied across the learning institution and applicable in other colleges and universities.
There is limited data available on underrepresented students who are pursuing STEM careers regarding factors associated with their participation in STEM. By examining the views and experiences of diverse STEM students across these domains, insights can be gained which may help develop strategies to facilitate STEM participation by other underrepresented students and growth of students in these domains in STEM leadership.
The results of this mixed-methods research study identified how student organizations provide the structure for students to develop a greater sense of belonging in STEM which can have a positive impact on academic achievement and retention in STEM particularly for women and students of color. The belief of “belonging” in STEM may be influenced by relationships with mentors of similar cultural backgrounds and life experiences. Student organizations can be an incubator for the development of STEM leadership competencies.
Research integration was applied to develop the Matched-Minds Mentoring program for students in STEM programs. The results of the first Matched-Minds Mentoring cohort, including eighty-plus students, were amazing! Specifically, the key findings were:
1. By examining the preferences and attitudes of STEM students, we can gain insights into factors associated with their decision to pursue STEM, which can help develop strategies to encourage more students to enter STEM and to provide support interventions with focus on underrepresented students.
2. Research Integration: The STEM Matched-Mentoring Pilot was a success with a positive impact to student persistence and retention.
Implications or Recommendations:
The recommendation is to expand the Matched-Minds Mentoring program across the learning institution. This research method is applicable in other colleges and universities as well.
The Research Team was thrilled to share research findings at the 2023 National Organization for Student Success (NOSS) conference in Nashville, Tennessee, March 2023!
Dr. Karen Lynne-Daniels Ivy (Principal Investigator)
Dr. Karen Lynne-Daniels Ivy, Ph.D. is the Assistant Dean of Technology Studies for Forbes School of Business & Technology at the University of Arizona Global Campus. She is also co-founder of the media tribute company, Visionary Expressions, LLC. Karen is a life-long learner, and her educational background consists of a combination of business, technical, marketing, and leadership advanced studies. Dr. Ivy’s professional experience includes over 30 years of business, technical, and leadership contributions in the Aerospace, Manufacturing, Commercial Consumer and Office, Health Care, and Information Technology industries. This includes Technology Leadership support to Lockheed Martin Space and Aeronautics missions and Honeywell Aerospace missions. She is an accomplished Senior Leader in the Information Technology Services industry with expertise in strategic development and oversight, service delivery, program management, and technology and innovation transformation.
Dr. Karen Ivy - Primary Investigator, Dr. Tahereh Daneshi, Lisa Sims, & Michael Hayden