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Abstract Title: Investigating underrepresented students’ choice of a physics major
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Abstract: It is well documented that there is little diversity within physics at the undergraduate level in the United States, and this problem is only amplified in graduate school and the workforce. The cause of this underrepresentation of women and racial minorities in physics is reported to be partially due to a "cold" and unwelcoming climate within physics departments and differential pre-college experiences. Our larger research project aims to investigate undergraduate physics students' experiences, to better understand the factors leading to the selection and retention of a physics major, and how these experiences may differ by one's social identity. To achieve this goal, we conducted a series of in-depth interviews with physics majors at one university to learn more about their pre-college and college experiences regarding physics and astronomy. In this paper, we report a subset of our findings. In particular, we share our preliminary results on the data collected from our nine participants with identities underrepresented in the discipline of physics with regards to their selection of a physics major.  Our findings reveal both internal and external motivators for selecting a major in physics and suggest that many of the pre-college obstacles they faced relate to their underrepresented identities.
Session Time: Poster Session 2
Poster Number: II-15
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Katrina Piatek-Jimenez
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI 48858
Phone: 989-779-7477
and Co-Presenter(s)
Dakota Keblbeck (He/Him/His), Central Michigan University

Cielo Medina Medina (She/Her/Hers), Central Michigan University

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster