Academic Commons

Theses Doctoral

Gender, Ethnicity, and Physics Education: Understanding How Black Women Build Their Identities as Scientists

Rosa, Katemari

This research focuses on the underrepresentation of minoritized groups in scientific careers. The study is an analysis of the relationships between race, gender, and those with careers in the sciences, focusing on the lived experiences of Black women physicists, as viewed through the lens of women scientists in the United States. Although the research is geographically localized, the base-line question is clear and mirrors in the researcher's own intellectual development: "How do Black women physicists describe their experiences towards the construction of a scientific identity and the pursuit of a career in physics?" Grounded on a critical race theory perspective, the study uses storytelling to analyze how these women build their identities as scientists and how they have negotiate their multiple identities within different communities in society. Findings show that social integration is a key element for Black women physicists to enter study groups, which enables access to important resources for academic success in STEM. The study has implications for physics education and policymakers. The study reveals the role of the different communities that these women are part of, and the importance of public policies targeted to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in science, especially through after-school programs and financial support through higher education.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Mensah, Felicia
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
January 23, 2013