Within the United States, more than a million jobs in science and engineering (S&E) are projected over the next few years; yet, the Nation lacks the workforce to meet these demands. Despite the need for a more diverse, qualified workforce, African Americans/Blacks remain disproportionately underrepresented in science occupations, science degree attainment, and in science postsecondary majors. The lack of science participation is reflective of how minority secondary students view science and science occupations as many consider the pursuit of a science career as unfavorable. Moreover, minority secondary students, who do choose to pursue science occupations, seem to possess inaccurate (or a lack of) occupational knowledge necessary to do so successfully. Therefore, an understanding of antecedents to career choice will assist educational professionals in addressing the underrepresentation of diverse populations, such as African Americans/Blacks, within the science workforce. The purpose of this study is to garner insight into the science occupational images, occupational and educational aspirations of African American/Black fourth and five grade students. Gottfredson's Theory of Circumscription and Compromise, in conjunction with extant empirical literature, serves as the foundation for the study's conceptual framework. A qualitative case study design was used. The qualitative data provided a contextual understanding of science occupational images, occupational and educational aspirations. Participant-produced drawings, questionnaires, and semi-structured interviews served as sources for data collection. Overall, participants lacked some occupational knowledge. Participants viewed scientists as mostly male and Black. Additionally, the occupation of scientist was perceived as a dangerous and of high status. Lastly, half of the participants expressed aspirations to be a scientist, while a majority expressed college educational aspirations.
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Hagedorn, W. Bryce
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
School of Teacher Education
Education; Counselor Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
LaMothe, Saron, "Science Occupational Images and Aspirations of African American/ Black Elementary Students" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6520.