Students who successfully persist in STEM majors often gain positive attention highlighting their preparation and ability, though far too often, students who struggle while persisting in the major go unnoticed. This research analyzed demographics and characteristics of select undergraduate STEM majors with a focus on biology and forensic science who were not reaching the major GPA benchmark requirements. These students were persisting while in academic decline. Characteristics of interest in this study include self-reported level of familial pressure to be in the major, anxiety level of current declared major, and course workload anxiety level as well as admit type (either first time in college student or transfer). Anxiety levels reported and admit types were analyzed separately. These data were collected through a Student Self-Assessment questionnaire, which incorporated Likert Scale questions. Students were asked to rate their current level of pressure and anxiety related to declared major. An intersectional approach was used to guide this research, along with student narrative responses. The analysis focused on self-reported academic characteristics by gender and race to explore the academic impact differences reported by the underrepresented population, which was defined as Hispanic, Black, and female. The results found that more females across the race variable were struggling to meet the minimum major GPA requirement, and female transfer students slightly outnumbered female first-time-in-college (FTIC) students across the race variable. Characteristics revealed that women in all races reported higher levels of anxiety than men, though male reports of anxiety fluctuated with White males reporting lower levels and Black males showing a much higher reporting rate on average.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Ford, Dena, "Under Pressure: Analysis of An Undergraduate Intervention for STEM Students in Academic Decline" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 44.
Restricted to the UCF community until May 2023; it will then be open access.