STEMujeres: a case study of the life stories of first-generation Latina engineers and scientists

dc.contributor.advisorRodríguez, Mariela A.
dc.contributor.authorVielma, Karina I.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberGarza, Jr., Encarnación
dc.contributor.committeeMemberCarmona, Guadalupe
dc.contributor.committeeMemberGiles, Mark
dc.descriptionThis item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff. To download, navigate to Log In in the top right-hand corner of this screen, then select Log in with my UTSA ID.
dc.description.abstractResearch points to the many obstacles that first-generation, Latina students face when attempting to enter fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, STEM. This qualitative, case study examined the personal and educational experiences of first-generation Latina women who successfully navigated the STEM educational pipeline earning bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in various fields of engineering. Three research questions guided the study: (1) How does a first-generation Latina engineer and scientist describe her life experiences as she became interested in STEM? (2) How does she describe her educational experiences as she navigated the educational pipeline in the physics, mathematics, and/or engineering field(s)? (3) How did she respond to challenges, obstacles and microaggressions, if any, while navigating the STEM educational pipeline? The study was designed using a combination of Critical Race Theory frameworks—Chicana feminist theory and racial microaggressions. Through a life history case study approach, the women shared their stories of success. With the participants’ help, influential persons in their educational paths were identified and interviewed. Data were analyzed using crystallization and thematic results indicated that all women in this study identified their parents as planting the seed of interest through the introduction of mathematics. The women unknowingly prepared to enter the STEM fields by taking math and science coursework. They were guided to apply to STEM universities and academic programs by others who knew about their interest in math and science including teachers, counselors, and level-up peers—students close in age who were just a step more advanced in the educational pipeline. The women also drew from previous familial struggles to guide their perseverance and motivation toward educational degree completion. The lives of the women where complex and intersected with various forms of racism including gender, race, class, legality and power. In many instances, the women used their knowledge to help other STEMujeres advance.
dc.description.departmentEducational Leadership and Policy Studies
dc.format.extent244 pages
dc.subjectChaos theory
dc.subjectChicana feminist theory
dc.subjectRacial microaggressions
dc.subjectSTEM education
dc.subject.classificationEducational leadership
dc.subject.classificationMathematics education
dc.subject.classificationScience education
dc.subject.lcshMexican American women in the professions -- Social conditions -- Interviews
dc.subject.lcshMexican American women in the professions -- Education -- Interviews
dc.subject.lcshMexican American women in the professions -- Intellectual life -- Interviews
dc.subject.lcshMexican American women in the professions -- Family relationships -- Interviews
dc.subject.lcshWomen engineering students
dc.subject.lcshWomen engineers -- Education
dc.subject.lcshMotivation in education
dc.titleSTEMujeres: a case study of the life stories of first-generation Latina engineers and scientists
dcterms.accessRightspq_closed Leadership and Policy Studies of Texas at San Antonio of Education


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