All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Shelia R Cotten

Advisory Committee Members

Patricia Drentea

Wendy Gunther-Canada

Claire Peel

Belinda Needham

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2012

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The state of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is not equitable to that of their male counterparts. While great strides have been taken in the last few years, many areas of STEM are still unable to draw equitable numbers of women into the academy. One way to encourage women to enter in and remain in the academy is through mentoring. Through mentoring, women are able to see that a career path is possible for them and better learn how to navigate the structure of the academy. Mentoring has also been shown to increase self-efficacy, which the Social Cognitive Career Theory states, is integral for career success. Using Social Cognitive Career Theory, this work evaluates the impact of mentoring on self-efficacy and intended career outcomes. Using data from a nationwide study of female graduate students in STEM programs at NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation awardee institutions, both quantitative and qualitative analysis is evaluated. Two hundred nineteen individual responses are considered for logistic regression and 40 randomly selected cases are considered for narrative method. The narrative method is compared to logistic regression to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each method for the research question. Narrative analysis and logistic regression do not find support for self-efficacy or mentoring impacting intended career outcomes. Both methods do find support for the impact of social support or number of close friends and family. Further research into the impact of mentoring and ways to build self-efficacy in this population is vital in continuing to address the gender inequity STEM fields are currently facing.

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