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Tuesday, November 1 • 1:45pm - 2:35pm
How Community College Students Form a STEM Identity

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An urgency exists in the nation to increase the number of graduates with an undergraduate degree within science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, armed with the skills necessary to tackle emergent employment opportunities. Simply exposing students to opportunities that are available within STEM is not sufficient to motivate those students to pursue STEM education. External factors, such as just exposure to STEM opportunities, may not be enough to keep students engaged in these rigorous fields of study. Rotter (1966) noted that motivation must be intrinsic in order for individuals to make changes within their lives. While the notion of identity formation is not novel, considering the development of a STEM identity, the concept of developing a STEM identity within students is an emerging trend of discussion within the STEM literature. Those students need to have tangible experiences, engage in leadership activities, and have positive mentoring, which allow them to develop a sense of self-efficacy, a necessary cultivation in identity formation. Using Waterman’s (1990, 2004) model of identity formation as a foundation, this talk will explore a model of STEM identity formation for community college students. This model will highlight the diversity of factors that can contribute to the development of a STEM identity, using the lived experiences of actual community college students to illustrate key factors in this model. Core to this presentation will also be an exploration of how STEM identity development is critical for female community college students.


Felicia Griffin-Fennell

Director, STEM Starter Academy, Springfield Technical Community College


Amma Bigbi

Student, General Studies Major, Springfield Technical Community College

Patricia Chavez

Student, Biotechnology Major, Springfield Technical Community College

Samantha Cote

Coordinator, STEM Starter Academy, Springfield Technical Community College

Rania Hamied

Student, Pre-Med Major, Springfield Technical Community College

Tuesday November 1, 2016 1:45pm - 2:35pm
Meeting Room D