Hispanic-Serving Community Colleges STEM Pipelines

The Hispanic-Serving Community Colleges STEM Pipelines (HSCC-STEM) study is a research project exploring the transitions to and through Hispanic-serving community colleges (HSCC) for underrepresented minoritized STEM students. Studying the influences of institutional characteristics such as their designation as an Hispanic-Serving Institution and community college context alongside underrepresented minoritized student background characteristics, precollege factors, environmental elements, academic performance, academic goals, degree attainment, academic and social experiences, may help to uncover which Hispanic-serving two-year institutions and which majors have the most viable STEM pathways for Hispanics and other underrepresented minoritized students. The proposed study seeks to assess which fields underrepresented minoritized STEM college students are more likely to persist and the extent to which HSCCs are more successful in their practices across STEM disciplines in comparison to other two-year institutions. One of the primary purposes of the proposed project to understand what factors contributed to underrepresented minoritized students entering and remaining at HSCCs and in the STEM fields. Therefore, the underlying focus of the study is to learn what factors serve as support systems and challenges for underrepresented minoritized students as they navigate STEM at HSCCs and the transfer pathways leading to further education in an effort to persist to STEM baccalaureates.

Goals

The HSCC-STEM study endeavors to establish a richer understanding of the ways that HSCC may affect student persistence among diverse learners and illuminate ways that these unique institutional contexts play a role in furthering educational comes for STEM students. Additionally, this study will demonstrate the nuances of divergent practices and processes that can affect postsecondary persistence in STEM for underrepresented minoritized students in two-year special population colleges.

Research Questions

The HSCC-STEM study will answer the following guiding research questions. 

  1. To what degree does HSCC attendance positively affect underrepresented minoritized students’ persistence?
  2. What contributing factors exert influence on those who decide to initially enroll in STEM programs at a HSCC versus other Minority-Serving Institutions or predominately White community college?
  3. What factors do we know impact student retention and could institutional culture and minority-serving designation influence or change those factors for different student groups in STEM programs?
  4. To what extent do precollege factors, student engagement and institutional factors contribute to the persistence and degree attainment of Hispanics and other underrepresented minoritized students at HSCCs and other types of two-year institutions?

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