Latinas Pathways to STEM

Exploring Contextual Mitigating Factors

by Alejandro J. Gallard Martínez (Author) Wesley B. Pitts (Author) Belinda Flores Bustos (Author) S. Lizette Ramos de Robles (Author) Lorena Claeys (Author)
©2021 Textbook XVI, 120 Pages


Latinas Pathways to STEM: Exploring Contextual Mitigating Factors presents transnational case studies of Latinas and Mexicanas pursuing a STEM degree/career from the United States (Georgia, New York, Texas) and México. The authors underscore that the experiences of the participants highlighted in this book provide insights into how to support successful Latinas and Mexicanas in STEM career pipelines and pathways. In doing so, the authors address the need for a set of approaches to STEM education policy that acknowledges that institutionalized pipelines often create replication by funding intervention programs that attempt to sterilize context by identifying variables and ignoring the associated contextual mitigating factors (CMFs). Researchers and funders of STEM intervention efforts can learn from the analysis of these case studies that successful Latinas and Mexicanas developed tactical understanding, which reinforced their identity and resisted how they were positioned by negative CMFs, reaffirming their aspirations and successes in STEM. Education graduate students, research methodologists, policy makers, and practitioners will find CMF analysis a useful methodological tool to interrogate how sociocultural factors position designated underrepresented people in STEM pipelines and pathways. Education policies that advocate for the existence and maintenance of pipelines that increase underrepresented Latinas and Mexicanas in STEM are important but are often crafted with blind spots that leave out how context mitigates policy especially at the individual level.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Dedication/Recognition
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • About the Authors
  • Foreword
  • Chapter One: Contextual Mitigating Factors (CMFs): A Tool for Exploring Success in STEM
  • Chapter Two: Using CMF Analysis to Interrogate the Sociocultural Contextual Tensions Positioning Individuals in STEM Academics Spaces
  • Chapter Three: Discerning Contextual Complexities in STEM Career Pathways: Insights from Successful Latinas
  • Chapter Four: The Criticalness of Internalizing Gender Discrimination: An Engendered Contextual Mitigating Factor
  • Chapter Five: Acknowledging Limit-Situations as a Pathway to Discovery and Success in STEM
  • Chapter Six: Tejanas at the Crossroads: Resistencia or Colonizations
  • Chapter Seven: Using CMFs in Cross-Case Analysis and Policy Implications
  • Index

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About the Authors

Alejandro J. Gallard Martínez, Ph.D., is a Professor and Goizueta Distinguished Chair in the Middle and Secondary Department at Georgia Southern University. Alejandro’s interests include researching societal complexities promulgated by contextual mitigating factors (CMFs) that contribute to students’ success (or lack of success) in general and in the STEM fields. His frameworks include global perspectives on differences, otherness, polyphony of voices, and meaning-making that reflects categories used to situate people in social life. His current research efforts include working with an international team to understand what are the characteristics of Latinas and other underrepresented people who are successful in the STEM fields.

Wesley Pitts, Ph.D., is a Professor of Science Education in the Department of Middle and High School Education (MHSE), School of Education, Lehman College, CUNY. Dr. Pitts serves as Chair of MHSE. His research uses frameworks from cultural studies to investigate how encounters in urban secondary and post-secondary education settings and science teacher preparation programs create success in science education. His current research project includes using design-based approaches and contexts, including ePortfolios, in science teacher education to deepen integrative social pedagogy.

Belinda Flores Bustos, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Dean of Professional Preparation and Partnerships, and a Professor in the Department ←xi | xii→of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies, College of Education and Human Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Flores has published five books and numerous articles centering on teacher development and attributes; teacher learning communities and communities of practice; teachers’ sociocultural knowledge; and teacher accountability. Recognitions included: 1st place award for Outstanding Dissertation from The National Association for Bilingual Education, 2000; and the 2004 UTSA President’s Distinguished Award for Research Excellence. In addition to being a scholar, Dr. Flores is the founder of the UTSA’s Academy for Teacher Excellence Research Center, which was honored in 2015 as a “Bright Spot in Hispanic Education” by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Dr. Flores was selected as the recipient of the 2015 Hispanic Research Issues SIG Elementary, Secondary, and Postsecondary Award. In 2019, she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bilingual Research SIG.

S. Lizette Ramos de Robles, Ph.D., is Coordinator of Environmental Health Sciences Master and Professor of Biology and Environmental Health Sciences in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Universidad de Guadalajara, México. Her research focuses on sociological and cultural aspects of discourse in the teaching and learning of science, especially in multilingual contexts. To understand scientific literacy more deeply, she uses sociocultural and sociolinguistic perspectives. In addition, her research also focuses on socio-environmental aspects related to environmental health, specifically climate change literacy.

Lorena Claeys, Ph.D., is the Director of Clinical Professional Experiences and Co-Director and Research Associate for the Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE) Research Center in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). She has over 20 years of education field experience that includes teaching mathematics and science to new-arrival English learners at the middle school level, coordinating dual-language programs, and working with teacher candidates and in-service teachers at the PreK–20 levels in higher education. Claeys’ research interest focuses on teacher preparation, retention, and motivation to teach culturally and linguistically diverse students, in addition to school-community-university collaborations.

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When my colleague, Dr. Alejandro Gallard Martínez, first approached me about writing this foreword, I admit I was hesitant. I study the way intersections of language, culture, and identity shape educational experiences for bilingual and Latinx folks. I work through arts-integrated methodologies and pedagogies to paint counter-narratives that center the experiences and stories of these often-marginalized communities. I’m not a Latina in STEM.

As I began to interrogate that declaration, I wondered how I’d ever arrived at such a conclusion. Maybe it reflects a limited view of what it means to do STEM work. My sister applies her extensive knowledge of human anatomy and chemistry in her daily practice as an aesthetician. But no one thinks of her as a STEM person. My brother, on the other hand, is a STEM person. He holds a Ph.D. in geology and does computer programming for a prestigious university in Switzerland. If I think back, I’m pretty sure he’s the only Latino in STEM I could have named, had I been asked before I began my graduate studies. But as for me, I’m not a STEM person.


XVI, 120
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2021 (March)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2021. XVI, 120 pp., 3 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Alejandro J. Gallard Martínez (Author) Wesley B. Pitts (Author) Belinda Flores Bustos (Author) S. Lizette Ramos de Robles (Author) Lorena Claeys (Author)

Alejandro J. Gallard Martínez (PhD, Michigan State University) is Professor and Goizueta Distinguished Chair, Georgia Southern University. Wesley B. Pitts (PhD, CUNY Graduate Center) is Professor of Science Education and currently serves as Chair of the Department of Middle and High School Education at Lehman College, Bronx, New York. Belinda Flores Bustos (PhD, The University of Texas, Austin) is Professor of Bilingual Education and currently serves as Associate Dean of Professional Preparation and Partnerships as well as the Director for the Academy of Teacher Excellence Research Center at the University of Texas at San Antonio. S. Lizette Ramos de Robles (PhD, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) is a professor and researcher in the Environmental Sciences Department at the University of Guadalajara, México. She currently serves as Coordinator of Environmental Health Sciences Master’s program at the University of Guadalajara. Lorena Claeys (PhD, The University of Texas at San Antonio) is the Director of Clinical Professional Experiences, Co-Director and Research Associate for the Academy of Teacher Excellence Research Center in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio.


Title: Latinas Pathways to STEM
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138 pages