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Black Unicorns: STEM Access for Black Student-Athletes in Non-Revenue Sports

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2021 CoNECD


Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day

Publication Date

January 24, 2021

Start Date

January 24, 2021

End Date

January 28, 2021

Conference Session

CoNECD Session : Day 2 Slot 2 Technical Session 1

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Submissions

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Paper Authors


Leroy L. Long III Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

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Dr. Leroy Long III is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Fundamentals at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. Dr. Long directs a research team called Engineering, Arts & Sports Engagement (EASE). His research interests include: (a) educational equity and racial justice, (b) student retention and career readiness, as well as (c) students' ethical reasoning and technology use, with a particular focus on STEM students. He helped to lead research, funded by the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant, to improve the well-being of the student-athlete through support of their career readiness. He also helped to secure funding from NSF (award # 2024973) to examine the potential benefit of using critical narratives as a pedagogical tool in the professional formation of engineers.

Dr. Long has served on two NSF advisory boards (award # 1734347 and 1159666). As a graduate student, he also assisted with research, funded by NSF (award # 0747304), to study factors that broaden minoritized student participation and success in STEM fields. He has conducted and published research with the Movement Lab and various centers at OSU. Most of Dr. Long's research has focused on the academic and social experiences of Black and Latinx groups as well as student-athletes in STEM fields. Due to his strong belief in research to practice, he has produced numerous infographics.To contact Dr. Long, email:

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Sharnnia Artis University of California, Irvine

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Dr. Sharnnia Artis is the Assistant Dean of Access and Inclusion for the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. She is responsible for programs at the pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate levels to facilitate the recruitment, retention, and overall success of students from traditionally underrepresented groups in engineering and information and computer sciences. Dr. Artis has 18 years of experience working with education and outreach programs in engineering and over 35 publications in STEM education and outreach. Prior to joining UC Irvine, she was the Education and Outreach Director for the Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, Dr. Artis spent nine years at Virginia Tech providing program and student support for the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity and has four years of industry and government experience as a Human Factors Engineer. Dr. Artis holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech.

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Morris Council III University of West Georgia

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Morris Council, III, Ph.D., serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of West Georgia in the Department of Literacy and Special Education. His research, teaching, and service are conducted through a paradigm of equity and access. His research agenda includes two foci: (1) instructional interventions for improving academic outcomes for culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) individuals diagnosed with high incidence disabilities; and (2) student-athlete academic achievement.

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There is a shortage of literature investigating access to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for Black student-athletes who pursue careers in engineering or a related field in STEM. Particularly, individuals who participate in non-revenue generating sports. This narrative inquiry explores the experiences of six (6) Black student-athletes (two male, four female) pursuing degrees in engineering or a related field in STEM, while participating in soccer and lacrosse at their respective institutions. Through personal narratives, the authors critically analyze Black STEM student-athletes’ access to college preparatory courses and STEM camps. Findings and recommendations are discussed.

Long, L. L., & Artis, S., & Council, M. (2021, January), Black Unicorns: STEM Access for Black Student-Athletes in Non-Revenue Sports Paper presented at 2021 CoNECD, Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day . 10.18260/1-2--36072

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