Girls and women face several forms of gender-based biases and discrimination in the science community. These issues create difficult circumstances for them to develop positive science identities. Since these difficult circumstances exist, science education and sociology researchers have used a deficit model to learn about their experiences, achievements, and attitudes. Understanding the experiences of successful women in science offers insight into how women can navigate the challenges presented by the science community and how science educators can support them. However, research studies that explore the experiences of successful women in science are scant. Therefore, the objective of this study was to learn about the experiences of successful women who are professionals in science fields. Twelve participants engaged in three semi-structured interviews. Findings showed that participants had access to and support in authentic science experiences. They developed a passion for science that was supported by a self-selected support system. Advancement in workplaces that were often dominated by males required a sophisticated understanding of organizational norms. This advancement required strategic agency in how they spent their time and the relationships that they built. Two differences in experiences were found that were based on race. The first difference based on race was that Black and Hispanic participants experienced racial and ethnic discrimination. The second difference was that Black and Hispanic participants discussed the centrality of their faith to their work in every interview. These findings provide insight for the science community. Science methods instructors could educate pre-service teachers about how participants navigated gender-based challenges in science communities. Furthermore, the stories of these women could structure lessons that cover inclusion and equity. For industry, all employees should adhere to professional standards and mentors should be relatable to their mentees.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Education; Science Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Hall, Jonathan, "A Phenomenological Study of the Experiences of Successful Women in Science Fields" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5983.