Without the proper academic preparation and cultural capital, underrepresented minority students may not find their path to pursuing science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) degrees. To gain a better understanding of how underrepresented minority students experienced college success, this study examined how they entered a STEM program of study and persisted in the program beyond their first year at the university. Three important contexts presented the greatest barriers to persistence: low socioeconomic status, first generation status, and under-preparation in math. Participants within these contexts were enabled to find a path to attend college and persist with targeted support and advice from cultural capital agents' in secondary education and college. These cultural capital agents advocated for students, advised them towards STEM academic enrichment opportunities, and developed the students' cultural capital. The support of the cultural capital agents coupled with student engagement in high impact socio-academic activities (for example: college transition programs, research assistantships, membership in student academic organizations) helped students to persist in STEM. By providing focused educational efforts designed to support underrepresented minority students to enter STEM fields of study and to persist towards timely degree completion, we can create a more diverse STEM workforce.'
STEM, College Success, Persistence, Underrepresented minorities, science, technology, engineering, math, STEM degree, cultural capital, high school preparation
Level of Degree
Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Andrews, Eleanor. "College Success: An Exploratory Study of How Underrepresented Minority Students Enter and Persist in STEM Programs." (2013). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/educ_teelp_etds/6