Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Chair

Dr. Heather M. Annulis

Committee Chair School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Member 2

Dr. H. Quincy Brown

Committee Member 2 School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Member 3

Dr. Cyndi H. Gaudet

Committee Member 3 School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Member 4

Dr. Dale L. Lunsford

Committee Member 4 School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Abstract

The number of males enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs outnumber female counterparts (Wang & Degol, 2017). The disparity is even greater in persistence rates for STEM related fields (Glass, Sassler, Levitte & Michelmore, 2013). The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of females enrolled in traditionally male-dominated programs of study, specifically in the areas of STEM in community and junior colleges, to determine factors that influence persistence.

Although previous research exists focusing on women in STEM, most studies explore the barriers women face (Ong, Wright, Espinosa, & Orfield, 2011). The findings from previous studies provide valuable insight; however, the number of women entering STEM programs remains low (Deemer, Smith, Carroll, & Carpenter, 2014; Saucerman & Vasquez, 2014). Therefore, this study explores female student perceptions of factors that influence persistence in male-dominated community college career and technical education (CTE) STEM programs. Female students enrolled as third or fourth semester students in male-dominated STEM programs were purposefully selected to participate in the study to gain insight into their lived experiences.

The research used interpretative phenomenological analysis to evaluate and interpret the lived experiences of females in male-dominated CTE STEM programs. Findings suggest the determination, parental, peer, and faculty influences, and learning environment promote female persistence. Recommendations are offered for community college administrators, instructors, students, recruiters, and policy makers that influence females to persist in male-dominated career and technical education STEM programs in community and junior colleges.

Share

COinS