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Abstract Title: Determining Motivating Factors for Undergraduate Women Pursuing Physics Degrees
Abstract: There are several explanations that have been proposed for the low numbers of women completing physics degrees. Determining what influences women to pursue degrees in physics can inform how we recruit and engage women as physics majors. We collected text responses from a sample of undergraduate women physics majors attending the 2015 APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics. Qualitative analysis of 828 responses was used to extract positive and negative motivational factors, including people, fields of physics, exposure to science, and various aspects of the fields of physics. Strong motivators included people such as high school teachers, parents, and professors. Topics in astronomy inspired much early interest in physics, and respondents also reported a strong affinity to scientific inquiry. By knowing what women find appealing about a physics degree, we can use these results to inform educators and undergraduate physics programs about ways to better engage young women.  

Portions of this work are supported by NSF Grant PHY1622510.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session II
Poster Number: B4

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Virginia Price
Drexel University
Disque 816
32 S. 32nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
and Co-Presenter(s)
Virginia Price, Drexel University
Valerie Klein, Drexel University
Zahra Hazari, Florida International University
Theodore Hodapp, America's Physical Society
Renee-Michelle Goertzen, American Physical Society
Eric Brewe, Drexel University