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Latinas Pathways to STEM

Exploring Contextual Mitigating Factors


Alejandro J. Gallard Martínez, Wesley B. Pitts, Belinda Flores Bustos, S. Lizette Ramos de Robles and Lorena Claeys

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.

List of Figures – About the Authors – Alejandra J. Reyes: Foreword – Contextual Mitigating Factors (CMFs): A Tool for Exploring Success in STEM – Using CMF Analysis to Interrogate the Sociocultural Contextual Tensions Positioning Individuals in STEM Academics Spaces – Discerning Contextual Complexities in STEM Career Pathways: Insights from Successful Latinas – The Criticalness of Internalizing Gender Discrimination: An Engendered Contextual Mitigating Factor – Acknowledging Limit-Situations as a Pathway to Discovery and Success in STEM – Tejanas at the Crossroads: Resistencia or Colonizations – Using CMFs in Cross-Case Analysis and Policy Implications – Index.