Title

Exploring the Double Bind: Resiliency of Women of Color in STEM Programs

Conference Strand

Practice, Strategies, Techniques, and Interventions

Abstract

Institutions of higher education offer opportunities for professional and personal development. However, higher education can be accompanied by multiple stressors. This presentation will explore a quantitative analysis of the relationship between resilience and experienced microaggressions. Resiliency characteristics allow for the identification of traits and behaviors that underscore wellness. Implications for counseling and educational practice will be discussed.

Description

The low prevalence of Women of Color in STEM programs was initially identified as a concern for further empirical inquiry (Malcom, Hall, & Brown, 1976). To fully understand the under-representation of women in STEM fields, we must recognize how one’s intersecting identities, double blind, informs resilience. Double blind refers to the overlapping challenges Women of Color experience due to sexism and racism (Malcom, Hall, & Brown, 1976). Researchers have commonly studied underrepresented Women of Color’s persistence to answer the question of retention, progression, and degree completion among college administrators. Given that there is a lack of distinction between the constructs of persistence and resilience in the current literature, this study seeks to add to it by studying resiliency specifically as it relates to microaggressions faced by Women of Color in STEM programs.

The act of being resilient differs in how one’s attitude perceives the adversity they are to overcome. Most research has attempted to increase retention among underrepresented Women of Color in STEM fields by being rooted in a deficient model, focusing on what is wrong with the student (Ong, Smith, & Ko, 2017). These findings fail to account for the discriminatory foundation of White male dominated fields that need cultural reform at an institutional level (Ong, Smith, & Ko, 2017). By choosing to study resiliency, the aim of the presented study seeks to increase representation of Women of Color in STEM programs by focusing on those who have thrived in their STEM programs and the coping skills and/or resources utilized.

Findings will further demonstrate the importance of cultural awareness when providing services to Women of Color who are in a STEM program and/or field. In this presentation, attendees will experience increased awareness of the under-representation of Women of Color in STEM and learn implications for education and counseling practice.

Evidence

Malcom, S. M., Hall, P. W., & Brown, J. W. (1976). The double blind: The price of being a minority woman in science, Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. (2019). Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2019. Retrieved from https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf19304/digest/about-this-report

Ong, M., Smith, J. M., & Ko, L. T. (2017). Counterspaces for women of color in STEM higher education: Marginal and central spaces for persistence and success. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,55(2), 206-245. doi:10.1002/tea.21417

Format

Individual Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Kirstin Sylvester is a master’s student in Mercer University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and an Academic Advisor at Georgia State University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Kentucky. Kirstin is a member of Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society and her research interests include resilience, stress and coping, and underrepresented women in STEM fields.

Peeper McDonald, Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling at Mercer University, holds a PhD in Counselor Education and Practice and is a National Certified Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Georgia, and an Approved Clinical Supervisor. Her research interests include: Professional identity, social justice and advocacy issues, and multicultural issues in counseling. She has presented and published on these topics, with specific focus on the racial mislabeling, color-blindness and discrimination, and identity development of Multiracial individuals.

Location

Session Four Breakouts: Hampton A

Start Date

2-7-2020 4:00 PM

End Date

2-7-2020 5:15 PM

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Feb 7th, 4:00 PM Feb 7th, 5:15 PM

Exploring the Double Bind: Resiliency of Women of Color in STEM Programs

Session Four Breakouts: Hampton A

Institutions of higher education offer opportunities for professional and personal development. However, higher education can be accompanied by multiple stressors. This presentation will explore a quantitative analysis of the relationship between resilience and experienced microaggressions. Resiliency characteristics allow for the identification of traits and behaviors that underscore wellness. Implications for counseling and educational practice will be discussed.