Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Jeremiah A. Henning, Ph.D.


Dr. Cissy J. Ballen, Dr. Sinead M. Ni Chadhain


Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines struggle to recruit and retain students who harbor historically excluded identities. Many STEM disciplines employ tactics like student-centered constructivist teaching pedagogies (i.e. active learning) and challenging students' perceptions of who can and cannot have a career in STEM to combat the progressive loss of students. This study looks at this phenomenon from two perspectives: 1) how visible and hidden student identities shape experiences in STEM classrooms and 2) how students identify with scientific role models, and their familiarity with scientists, and how that ultimately impacts their science self-efficacy and commitment to a career in STEM. There is still work to be done to make STEM environments inclusive for all. To truly diversify STEM, a multi-pronged approach with structural and system-wide changes to support diverse student identities and experiences is going to be needed.

Available for download on Saturday, December 16, 2023