DOI: 10.3390/educsci13090888 ISSN:

Leveraging Cultural Wealth, Identities and Motivation: How Diverse Intersectional Groups of Low-Income Undergraduate STEM Students Persist in Collegiate STEM Environments

Raeshan D. Davis, Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy
  • Public Administration
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Grounded in a conceptual framework incorporating intersectionality, motivation, self-determination, and self-efficacy, this empirical study investigated how individuals’ identities, mindsets, and resources in educational environments intentionally cultivated to support their decision-making, development, and connections in the science community, can significantly increase the recruitment, persistence, and success of low-income, academically talented science students from diverse backgrounds. Several factors—academic performance in coursework, self-image, self-agency, financial support, and social integration in the science culture—continue to significantly impact student retention and persistence in STEM disciplines. Many of these factors are negatively affected based on a students’ intersecting identities, which can be detrimental to their academic success if not addressed. We found that additional considerations to factor in concerning low-income students from diverse backgrounds that is pertinent to supporting their persistence and success in the postsecondary STEM educational context.

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