Walking in Two Worlds: An Autoethnographic Reflection of Establishing a STEM Program in Panama City, Panama

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Multicultural Perspectives






This is an autoethnographic reflection of the process of navigating two cultural spaces characterizing the work of implementing a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) camp for English language learners in the country of Panama. There are three themes that are addressed: (1) the importance of gatekeepers, (2) the importance of being a learner as a researcher, and finally (3) the acknowledgement of researcher privilege and power. There are many autoethnographic forms that can be utilized. However, this article considers (a) critical social research, (b) educative experience, and (c) privilege-penalty experiences in combination with the three themes.

By using this autoethnographic lens to discuss the STEM program the author shares the difficulty of walking in two worlds. One world represents the culture of home while the other represents the home that offers privilege and power needed to implement the program. This narrative is an analysis of the process of navigating these two valued spaces that have resulted in the identity of the researcher.