New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Increasing Recruitment and Retention of Minority Participants in STEM Fields

Melissa Caspary, Georgia Gwinnett College (United States)

Diane Boothe, Boise State University (United States)


A recognized need persists in higher education to increase minority participation and to diversify STEM fields. Demand for graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math as representatives of underrepresented groups is high, as these scholars have the potential to provide a unique perspective and approach in addressing research questions while forging paths of equability, inclusivity, and accessibility for the future. However, even with the expressed need for broadening representation in STEM fields, institutions of higher learning have failed to meet market demand for providing qualified graduates. Current issues pertaining to systemic racism and a global pandemic that magnifies racial, social, and political differences, seems to be exacerbating this gap. This study aims to examine what strategies have demonstrated success in both recruitment and retention of underserved student populations and to assess what methods show promise and creativity for future implementation. Past studies have shown that strengthening and integrating social and academic support networks can have positive outcomes for student success [1, 2]. Targeted engagement that starts before higher education and involves community can play a pivotal role. Building an academic framework reinforced with financial backing and developing programs that serve to bridge academic gaps will support students that are being left behind. By identifying methodologies that work, we hope to shine a light on a path forward that celebrates the strength present in our entire populace and ensures holistic participation of all groups to innovate, research, and create for the future.

Keywords: STEM, minority, underrepresented, retention, recruitment  


  • Meador, A. 2018. Examining recruitment and retention factors for minority STEM majors through a stereotype threat lens. School Science and Mathematics,118(1-2): 61-69.
  • Foltz, L., Gannon, S., and Kirschmann, L. 2014. Factors That Contribute to the Persistence of Minority Students in STEM Fields. Planning for Higher Education Journal, V42N4: 1-13.

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