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Latinas Pathways to STEM

Exploring Contextual Mitigating Factors

Series:

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

The purpose of Latinas Pathways to STEM: Exploring Contextual Mitigating Factors is to present transnational case studies of Latinas and Mexicanas pursuing a STEM degree/career from the states of Georgia, New York, Texas, as well as México. In this book, the authors underscore that the experiences of the participants highlighted in this book provide insights into how to support successful Latinas/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/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 as an additional useful methodological conceptual 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/Mexicanas in STEM are important but are often crafted with blind spots that leave out how context mitigates policy especially at the individual level.