Science from the periphery: Identity, persistence, and participation by women of color pursuing science degrees

Date of Completion

January 2009


Women's Studies|Education, Sciences|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




Despite increased attention given to gender issues by science educators, there has been little focus upon the underrepresentation of female students of color participating in science at the college level. The goal of this study is to document and compare the experiences and perspectives of Latinas and African American females in terms of: (a) the contributing factors and the ongoing formation of a science identity, (b) the resources they draw upon to persist in science, and (c) the forces and experiences that have afforded them legitimate engagement in the practices of the science community. The research literature has been insufficient for explaining why women of color continue to be underrepresented in college science programs despite their increasing presence in college classrooms and their high interest in science careers. Using a qualitative framework, this study contributes to an area of growing interest and concern by giving a voice to those who are typically pushed to the margins of the science community. ^