STEM Fields of Study at Community Colleges

May 17, 2011

The demand for graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields continues to grow rapidly. Community colleges represent a unique opportunity to prepare a STEM workforce that reflects the diversity of the U.S. population. It’s important to provide rigorous academic programs and support mechanisms that prepare students to enter these fields in two-year and four-year institutions. Assistant professor Xueli Wang examines factors that shape students’ decision to pursue STEM fields of study. She is studying students entering community colleges and four-year institutions, paying special attention to the effects of gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and first-generation status. This study has implications for improving K-12 and postsecondary practices and activities that promote participation in STEM, particularly those that target underrepresented student populations.