Malone, K. R., & Barabino, G. (2009). Narrations of race in STEM research settings: Identity formation and its discontents. Science Education, 93(3), 485–510.
This study investigates specific challenges that students of color have in developing a personal identity related to science. The researchers examined how experiences in graduate school programs shaped the emergent identities of African-American women students in science and engineering. The study sheds light on the barriers cultural minority students might face in their pursuit of science in school and in careers, and suggests that educators might help to prepare students for these experiences.
Buchholz, B., Shively, K., Peppler, K., & Wohlwend, K. (2014). Hands on, hands off: Gendered access in crafting and electronics practices. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 21(4), 278–297. doi:10.1080/10749039.2014.939762
In order to reframe how learning is organized in traditionally male-dominated areas of STEM education, the authors, Buchholz, Shively, Peppler, and Wohlwend show how collaborative girl-boy pairs engaged with an “e-textiles” making activity. E-textiles are circuit activities combining needles, fabric, and conductive thread, challenging traditional gender practices related to both sewing and electronics.
Lyon, G., & Jafri, J. (2010). Project Exploration's Sisters4Science. Afterschool Matters, 11,15–22.
This article describes an afterschool science program targeting girls from communities underrepresented in the sciences. The authors argue for the need for such programs to build on research findings that are relevant to girl-specific programs, which they summarize in the article. This article provides a highly condensed overview of research findings and illustrates how the authors have applied these findings to their program design. It could be of interest to ISE educators seeking to design STEM programs for girls.
Zeyer, A., & Wolf, S. (2010). Is there a relationship between brain type, sex and motivation to learn science? International Journal of Science Education, 32(16), 2217–2233.
This study is based upon a body of work that characterizes individuals as primarily empathizers, systemizers, or an equal balance of both. Systemizing describes the ability to understand the world in terms of a system, whereas empathizing is the ability to identify and perceive the mental states of others. In this study, the authors examined whether gender played a role in determining motivation for science learning or whether personality attributes (also known as “brain type”) – that is, whether more a systemizer or an empathizer – were more significant.
Cho, S., Goodman, M., Oppenheimer, B., Codling, J., & Robinson, T. (2009). Images of women in STEM fields. Journal of Science Communication, 8(3), 1–5.
In a survey, eighth-grade students identified women who were in STEM fields to be significantly more intelligent, less attractive, and more creative than women in non-STEM fields. The students did not indicate that they found a difference between women in STEM fields or non-STEM fields in terms of how organized or how good at their job they were. The authors suggest that the development of these stereotypical views could help explain why women are consistently underrepresented in STEM fields and why women consistently choose professions already dominated by women.
Denner, J., Bean, S., & Martinez, J. (2009). The Girl Game Company: Engaging Latina girls in information technology. Afterschool Matters, 8, 26–35.
Although digital technology has become ubiquitous in our time, not everyone is afforded the same opportunities to pursue the fields of engineering, computer science, and advanced technology. This paper examines how an afterschool and summer program for middle school girls considered the roles of gender, culture, and youth development to increase the participation of Latinas in IT careers.
Gonsalves, A., Rahm, J., & Carvalho, A. (2013). “We could think of things that could be science”: Girls' re-figuring of science in an out-of-school-time club. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 50(9), 1068–1097. doi:10.1002/tea.21105
This ethnographic case study illustrates what happens when informal educators introduce science concepts in non-scientific contexts, such as a program focused on youth culture and girls’ empowerment. Helping young people find the science in their everyday lives can build science trajectories and identities for youth from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in the sciences.
Maltese, A V., & Tai, R H. (2010). Eyeballs in the fridge: Sources of early interest in science. International Journal of Science Education, 32(5), 669–685.
Out of 85 scientists and graduate students interviewed, 65% state that their initial interest in science occurred before middle school, particularly for those in physics-related fields. The interest was attributed as self-interest (45%) or intrinsic motivation. However, a large proportion discuss initial experiences related to school- or education-based experiences, including enrichment activities (40%) and family (15%).
Archer, L., Dewitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillon, J., Willis, B., & Wong, B. (2012) ‘Balancing acts’: Elementary school girls’ negotiations of femininity, achievement, and science. Science Education, 96(6), 967–989. doi:10.1002/sce.21031
This paper explores how science-aspiring girls balance their aspirations and achievement with societal expectations of femininity. In-depth interviews revealed two models that the girls tended to follow, termed feminine scientist or bluestocking scientist, and the precarious nature of both of these identities. Archer et al. suggest ways that practitioners can better support girls in their balancing acts.