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This thesis focuses on the experiences of gay male undergraduate students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. These fields are often thought to be very masculine or hyper-genderized, which could conflict with the dominant culture’s perception of a gay student’s identity. It follows, then, that a hypergenderized environment could have negative effects on those who do not identify strongly with the hegemonic masculine identity that may be present in the classroom.
Using phenomenological principles, students were asked to participate in a series of three interviews, which included two reflective exercises designed to explore their experiences in and out of the classroom in the context of their STEM education. Data collected were reviewed through the use of D’Augelli’s (1994) identity development and sexual orientation model, Renn and Arnold’s (2003) reconceptualization of Bronfenbrenner’s (1979, 1995) process, person, context, and time (PPCT) model, and Young’s (2009) five faces of oppression, among others. The results of the study have implications throughout higher education as student affairs professionals begin to understand the impact that higher education environments have on the development of students.
Advisor: Stephanie L. Bondi