Matching Items (3)

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The value of a STEM PhD

Description

The quality and quantity of talented members of the US STEM workforce has

been a subject of great interest to policy and decision makers for the past 40 years.

Recent research indicates

The quality and quantity of talented members of the US STEM workforce has

been a subject of great interest to policy and decision makers for the past 40 years.

Recent research indicates that while there exist specific shortages in specific disciplines

and areas of expertise in the private sector and the federal government, there is no

noticeable shortage in any STEM academic discipline, but rather a surplus of PhDs

vying for increasingly scarce tenure track positions. Despite the seeming availability

of industry and private sector jobs, recent PhDs still struggle to find employment in

those areas. I argue that the decades old narrative suggesting a shortage of STEM

PhDs in the US poses a threat to the value of the natural science PhD, and that

this narrative contributes significantly to why so many PhDs struggle to find career

employment in their fields. This study aims to address the following question: what is

the value of a STEM PhD outside academia? I begin with a critical review of existing

literature, and then analyze programmatic documents for STEM PhD programs at

ASU, interviews with industry employers, and an examination the public face of value

for these degrees. I then uncover the nature of the value alignment, value disconnect,

and value erosion in the ecosystem which produces and then employs STEM PhDs,

concluding with specific areas which merit special consideration in an effort to increase

the value of these degrees for all stakeholders involved.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Understanding the role of social support in the association between loneliness and well-being for STEM graduate students

Description

As women enter STEM fields they are often presented with chilly climates. The chilly climate refers to incidents of sexism, isolation, and pressure to prove themselves to peers and higher

As women enter STEM fields they are often presented with chilly climates. The chilly climate refers to incidents of sexism, isolation, and pressure to prove themselves to peers and higher level academics (Callister, 2006; Hall & Sandler, 1982). For women of color, the status of being a double minority can intensify the psychological distress experienced by students (Joseph, 2012; Ong, 2011; Malcom, Hall, & Brown, 1976). For minority populations in STEM, loneliness is experienced due to lack of belonging and social isolation (Morris & Daniel, 2008; Walton & Cohen, 2007). This study sought to investigate whether social support could serve as a protective factor in the negative relationship between loneliness and psychological well-being (Cohen, 2004; Lawson, 2001; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) for those who hold a minority status. In addition, this study explored differences in the associations between loneliness, social support, and psychological well being and whether or not the moderation relationships were different for sub-groups based on gender or ethnic minority status. Cross-sectional data from 205 STEM graduate students was collected through an online study. A hierarchical regression analysis was used to test the buffering effects (Barron & Kenny, 1986) of global social support (total support from friends, family, and significant others) and family social support specifically. Model results suggested that global social support buffers the negative associations between loneliness and psychological well-being for less lonely minority participants in the study. Family social support buffered the associations of loneliness on psychological well-being for men with less loneliness. An unexpected finding in the present study revealed that for men and non –minority participants with high loneliness, psychological well-being decreased as family support increased. These results highlight the need for further research exploring through which mechanisms social support works as a buffer against loneliness in the sub-groups within STEM graduate student populations. The findings of this study could inform practices focused on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented STEM graduate students.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Career path barriers of women doctoral students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) disciplines

Description

The under-representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields indicates the presence of gender related barriers that impacted the persistence of women in science and engineering doctoral

The under-representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields indicates the presence of gender related barriers that impacted the persistence of women in science and engineering doctoral studies. The purpose of this study was to investigate the barriers of women doctoral students in STEM fields which identified supporting factors for them as well. This study also tried to determine if there was any difference in perceiving barriers among three disciplines - engineering, life sciences and natural sciences. An online questionnaire (19 Likert-type questions and one open-ended question) was sent to women STEM doctoral students studying at the Arizona State University (ASU). Questions were based on some factors which might act as obstacles or supports during their doctoral studies. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted. Factors such as work-life balance, time-management, low self-confidence, lack of female role model, fewer numbers of women in science and engineering classes, and male dominated environment revealed as significant barriers according to both the analyses but factors such as difficulty with the curriculum, gender discrimination, and two-career problem were chosen as barriers only in the free response question. Positive treatment from advisor, family support, availability of funding, and absence of sexual harassment assisted these women continuing their PhD programs at ASU. However, no significant difference was observed with respect to perceiving barriers among the three groups mentioned above. Recommendations for change in science and engineering curricula and active recruitment of female faculty are discussed to reduce or at best to remove the barriers and how to facilitate participation and retention of more women in STEM fields especially at the doctoral level.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011