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Icon for: Shabnam Etemadi

SHABNAM ETEMADI

Tennessee State University

An Investigation of Best Practices and Lessons Learned from STEM Graduate Pro...

NSF Awards: 1549591

2016 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Graduate, Adult learners

What’s keeping underrepresented minority STEM graduate students from completing their graduate degrees successfully? In this video, we discuss this inquiry using results from surveys completed by underrepresented minority graduate students and leaders from national STEM graduate programs. Students surveyed were predominantly African American (44%) and Hispanic (49%). Results indicate that time management, communication skills, motivation, and support system are all what we term as “hindrances” in students being able to successfully complete a STEM graduate degree. For example, 19% and 14% of students surveyed shared that time management and balancing social and academic life are two key hindrances in their academic success as underrepresented minority graduate STEM students, respectively. About 9% reported that lack of support was a factor that has kept them from completing their STEM graduate degree. An interesting motivational factor reported by students (49%) is a focus on their long term goal. Other students reported that self-determination (18%) and family or friend support systems (18%) helped keep them motivated while in graduate school. New findings such as these factors can help guide STEM graduate programs to improve and to advance their program practices for the success and support of underrepresented minority STEM graduate students. Reaching students and leaders in STEM graduate programs via video can help raise awareness of these obstacles that underrepresented minority STEM graduate students face in order to prepare, to support, and to help these students graduate.

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