To Be Invisible or Not: Understanding Experiences of Underrepresented Students in STEM

  • Jocelyn Jackson (Iowa State University)
  • Rudisang Motshubi (Iowa State University)
  • Blayne Stone (Iowa State University)


Despite attention from federal and institutional policy makers, underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) continue to face significant barriers towards persistence and completion (Baber, 2015; National Science Foundation, 2017). Research suggests that campus-level programs focused on engaging underrepresented students majoring in STEM fields foster aspirations, involvement, and success (Strayhorn, 2010). The purpose of this presentation is to examine experiences of student participants in the Iowa-Illinois-Nebraska Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (IINSPIRE-LSAMP) program across the 16-campus alliances led by researchers at Iowa State University. During the 2017-18 academic year researchers employed a qualitative research design. Individual interviews were conducted with twenty undergraduate students participating in programs across the alliance. The following themes will be presented from the study: knowledge acquisition, identity challenges, LSAMP opportunities and support, hands-on learning and research, and student aspirations for advanced education. Following description of the findings we will provide three areas of recommendations related to networking, support systems, and research opportunities. We conclude with implications for practice, contributing to a better understanding of campus-level practices that support persistence of students from underrepresented populations in STEM education.



Published on
28 Feb 2019