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Attraction and Retention of Inner-city Under-represented Minority Students for Careers in STEM: Parent Perspectives

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Developing Identities for Robust Careers in Engineering

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors

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Cameron W. Coates Armstrong State University

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The objective of this work is to identify the likely barriers to STEM success for students and parents within a specific inner city culture, provide a deeper understanding of these barriers and to suggest a solution that strategically removes or neutralizes these barriers. Surveys were issued to parents in the local community in order to gather opinions on the relevance of conventional questions and solutions suggested by the literature for this national problem. We hypothesized that, (i) not all research based initiatives reported to increase the STEM success of under-represented minorities are applicable to the inner city community, (ii) there are structural challenges unique to inner city that should be given greater value by the literature and (iii) other solutions can be formulated that directly address these unique challenges. The survey results indicate that inner city low income parents are just as interested in the success of their child in STEM areas as their wealthier counterparts, however they are aware of less STEM opportunities and are less able to take advantage of STEM pathways due to structural barriers that naturally emanate from living in a low income community. Inner city parents also reported systemic structural barriers that also inhibited their ability to support their children in STEM pursuits. The current solutions suggested by the literature are re-evaluated and adapted to incorporate insights based on the survey results in order to provide recommendations to overcome these barriers.

Coates, C. W. (2016, June), Attraction and Retention of Inner-city Under-represented Minority Students for Careers in STEM: Parent Perspectives Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26349

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