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Ma study on race and gender in STEM degree attainment published in Social Sciences

Aug 7, 2017

Yingyi Ma

Yingyi Ma

This study focused on entry to and attainment of bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, by examining gender and race/ethnicity in an intersectional manner and paying particular attention to STEM subfields. The intersectional analysis extends previous research findings that female students are more likely to persist in college once they are in a STEM field and further reveals that racial minority women share the same tendency of persistence with white women. Women and racial minorities are most under-represented in physical-STEM fields.

The authors' analysis reveals that black men would have had the highest probability to graduate in physical-STEM fields, had they had the family socioeconomic background and academic preparations of Asian males. This highlights the critical importance of family socioeconomic background and academic preparations, which improves the odds for STEM degree attainment for all groups. Out of these groups, black students would have experienced the most drastic progress.