Date of this Version
This quantitative, exploratory study was designed to examine and compare socialization and mentoring in two groups of students, and the influence these factors had on their ranking of academic and overall experience in Master’s degree level science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) programs at a large, Midwestern university. The subjects were University of Nebraska-Lincoln Master’s degree recipients who had completed the Master’s Degree Graduate Studies Exit Survey and had identified themselves as being part of a STEM graduate program. Literature displayed the underrepresentation of women and individuals of certain racial or ethnic backgrounds in STEM fields and particularly in graduate STEM programs. For this reason, subjects were divided in majority and minority groups based on their identification of gender and racial or ethnic background. Literature also suggested the importance of mentoring and socialization for the gender and racial/ethnic minority students and that the opportunities for this group, collectively, differ from those of the majority group. It was also stated that these factors are influential to the experience of graduate students and their probability to persist. Participants’ responses on the Master’s Degree Graduate Student Exit Survey were used to explore the two groups’ mentoring and socialization experiences and the influence of these on ranking of academic and overall experiences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When the academic and socialization experiences of majority and minority STEM students in this study were compared, no statistically significant difference was detected. It was also found in this study that mentoring and socialization were statistically significant predictors of academic experience for the STEM minority students, and academic experience was highly correlated to overall experience at the university.
Adviser: Miles Taft Bryant