What is it about?

This paper shows that early enjoyment of math and/or science influences sustained interest and career pursuit in STEM fields. It is the encouragement and enrichment from family members and teachers that help students develop early interest in math and/or science. Engaging in the forms of play (e.g., playing with LEGOs, raising plants and animals) also help students build their curiority for STEM. These findings are drawn from the retrospective childhood memories of 30 Black male graduate students in engineering.

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Why is it important?

Although the development of talent in STEM fields is a national priority, students of color are still underrepresented in STEM. This study examines which individuals and activities nurture black boys' early interest in math and/or science, which previous studies suggest is a key to sustaining participation through STEM pathways. Our findings show that cultivating kids' early STEM interests is not a parent versus teacher binary, but rather a community affair. This is the first study that links the experiences of young Black boys to engineering graduate persistence.

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This page is a summary of: Origins of early STEM interest for Black male graduate students in engineering: A community cultural wealth perspective, School Science and Mathematics, September 2018, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/ssm.12294.
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