Defying the Statistics
The Gift it Foward study is an online longitudinal study with the undergraduates at the University of California Berkley who are part of the Biology Scholar Program. The Gift it Forward participants range from 18 to 32 years old (Mage=18year), and are primarily female (71%), non-white (49.5% Mexican American/Chicano, 22.2% Asian American/Asian, 15% African American, 10.6% White/Caucasian, and 2.2% Native American/Native Alaskan), and 75% are first generation college students.
Analysis of the BSP participation data showed that being active in events held by the program in 2015 were positively related to higher scientific efficacy (r=.41, p<.001) and higher scientific identity (r=.28, p<.05) in 2016, but were not more likely to endorse community values.
To understand these findings further, a focus groups was conducted, which included nine undergraduates (with 4 in the BSP program), 7 females and 2 males, with 8 intending to attend graduate school in a STEM field, 7 were Hispanic/Latino and 7 were Asian/Asian American. Participants indicated they strongly felt that a sense of community was important to their persistence in STEM. They expressed that having a small STEM community within the institution helped them feel they belonged in STEM as well as made them feel passionate about their major.
Explaining and talking about their work with their peers in small community type settings, such as BSP provide increased their confidence they can do the work required in their field (science efficacy).
Study participants: If you have questions or comments, please e-mail Dr. Mica Estrada or Lilibeth Watson directly.
Dr. Mica Estrada