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Abstract Title: Exploratory study of physics major persistence
Abstract: In the process of completing a major, students transition their identity toward becoming a member of their professional fields. In Wenger's community of practice framework, community membership is built on alignment of common goals, participation in social interactions, and perceptions of belonging in the community. In this study of physics major identity development, we interviewed physics majors at a large, comprehensive state university as they began upper-division coursework. Transcripts reveal that many of these students experienced indecision about persisting in their degree even after having invested significant effort and time. Using the communities of practice lens, we will describe the contexts and interactions that motivated the students to seriously consider giving up membership in the physics community. Fortunately, the majority of the participants ultimately chose to persist and complete their degree. We will describe the experiences that participants perceived to be instrumental in their decisions.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Sissi L. Li
California State University Fullerton
Fullerton, CA 92831
and Co-Presenter(s)
Michael E. Loverude, California State University Fullerton