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Women in Natural Sciences: A Longitudinal Comparative Case Study of Black Women in STEMM (1995-2015)

Supported by the National Science Foundation-WINS

Project led by:

PI: Ayana Allen-Handy, PhD
Co-I: Jacqueline Genovesi, PhD
Co-I: Loni Tabb, PhD

Funded by the NSF’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Program, this study probes the experiences of Black women at a critical phase of their workforce participation when BS/BA credentialed WINS alumnae establish their careers (ages 26-46). Black women make up only 2.5% of the workforce in STEMM-related fields, indicating that they chronically experience stalled professional advancement. Because there are so few longitudinal studies in either formal or informal settings, educators and researchers lack critical insights into why BA/BS credentialed Black women drop out of STEMM careers at high rates upon entering the workforce. The team will conduct a longitudinal comparative case study of outcomes and life trajectories among 20 years of WINS cohorts (1995-2015). Participants include 100 Black WINS alumnae as an intervention group and a matched comparison group of 100 Black women who successfully applied to the WINS program but did not or could not enroll. Measurable life outcomes and life trajectory narratives with maps of experiences from both groups will be studied via a convergent mixed methods design inclusive of quantitative and qualitative analyses. Comparisons of outcomes and trajectories will be made between the study groups. Further, associations between alumnae’s long-term outcomes and how they correlate their WINS experiences with other socio-cultural factors in their lives will be identified. It is anticipated that findings will challenge extant knowledge and pinpoint the most effective characteristics of and appropriate measures for studying lasting impacts of OST STEMM programs for Black women and girls. The project is positioned to contribute substantially to national efforts to increase participation of Black women in STEMM.

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