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(Under)Represented Latin@s in STEM

Increasing Participation Throughout Education and the Workplace


Edited By Timothy T. Yuen, Emily P. Bonner and María G. Arreguín-Anderson

(Under)Represented Latin@s in STEM: Increasing Participation Throughout Education and the Workplace presents a critical investigation into Latin@ underrepresentation in STEM throughout the education pipeline and workforce. (Under)Represented Latin@s in STEM highlights nationally relevant research related to the creation of opportunities for Latin@ students in STEM and the ways in which these opportunities increase Latin@ participation in STEM. Of particular interest across the chapters is the notion of building and sustaining a strong STEM identity within Latin@ students. As such, the authors present ideas through various lenses including teacher preparation and transformative teaching strategies, family and community involvement, and innovative programs for minority students. A broad range of STEM fields (including mathematics, robotics, and computer science), grade levels, and learning environments (including informal and formal, rural and urban) are represented throughout the chapters. Thus, (Under)Represented Latin@s in STEM presents research-based practices that increase Latin@ participation in STEM as a single collection for educators, administrators, and policymakers. In addition to learning about the great efforts that scholars are doing in broadening diversity in STEM, readers will be able to take away ideas for designing and implementing similar educational programs and teaching strategies for their own students.

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Chapter 13: Third Space Theory: A Theoretical Model for Designing Informal STEM Experiences for Rural Latina Youth (Rebecca Hite / Eva Midobuche / Alfredo H. Benavides / Jerry Dwyer)


13. Third Space Theory: A Theoretical Model for Designing Informal STEM Experiences for Rural Latina Youth

Rebecca Hite, Eva Midobuche, Alfredo H. Benavides, and Jerry Dwyer

Traditional formal science experiences privilege the majority male culture (Chapman, Tatiana, Hartlep, Vang, & Lipsey, 2014), failing to recognize and reflect Latinas’ unique cultural context and contributions in STEM, possibly contributing to their underrepresentation at all points within the STEM pipeline (Crisp & Nora, 2012). Young girls from Latin@, Hispanic, and Chicana origin (Latinas) face specific challenges in formal STEM education due to perceptions of self-efficacy, stereotype threat, and community expectations (Britner & Pajares, 2001; Carlone & Johnson, 2007; Rodriguez, Cunningham, & Jordan, 2016). However, research has evidenced successful strategies to encourage Latinas in STEM, including single-sex instruction (Rosenthal, London, Levy, & Lobel, 2011), background-matched mentors (Syed, Goza, Chemers, & Zurbriggen, 2012), and culturally related out-of-classroom experiences (Ciechanowski, Bottoms, Fonseca, & St Clair, 2015). The latter is a promising area of research; out-of-school (informal) programs now recommend the development of participants’ noncognitive factors (e.g., interest, motivation, and 21st-century skills) to enhance STEM engagement (National Research Council [NRC], 2015; P21, 2007). Research indicates that the development of these aforementioned soft skills, especially in the middle grades, are instrumental for STEM futures (Wingenbach et al., 2007). One example where there are emergent and ample STEM opportunities are in the rurally centered agricultural sciences (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005); where Latin@ cultural knowledge (Saldivar-Tanaka & Krasny, 2004) has value to STEM...

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