A Narrative Inquiry into Teacher Perceptions of Factors Impacting STEM Persistence in African American Female High School Students in a Texas STEM Academy

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Summer 2022


African American females have been historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career fields. Even with recent initiatives to increase the STEM persistence across all populations, African American female representation has decreased by 1.6% while other underrepresented demographics have continued to rise. Intersectionality research suggests that African American females experience more challenges because they are designated a minority by both gender and by race. Typically, when results from STEM initiatives are reported, African Americans’ results include statistics for African American males, and STEM initiatives designed to increase female persistence often include results from Caucasian and Asian females who are not underrepresented in STEM. Thus, the needs of African American females may not be noticed nor sufficiently met in time to encourage STEM persistence. This narrative inquiry study sought to explore the research-based factors of STEM persistence: academic learning experiences and professional identity development of African American female high school students. Because research suggests that decisions regarding STEM careers are determined in high school, the researcher gathered information that discusses factors impacting STEM persistence in African American female students via semistructured interviews with high school teachers at a Texas STEM academy. These findings may provide additional insight into how to increase STEM persistence in American female students.


Melissa Arrambide

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision