Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 2019

Document Type



Brooks, R. (2019). Diversifying Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Fields: A Qualitative Investigation of Immigrants and Children of Immigrants in STEM Pathways in Nebraska. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Rebecca Brooks 2019.


This study contributes to the literature on how immigrants and children of immigrants pursuing careers in the STEM or healthcare fields decide on their career of interest and the obstacles encountered by them while pursuing those careers within Nebraska community colleges. The results were based on data analyzed from 18 interviews conducted during the 2017-2018 academic year. The participants often chose their given career pathway due to previous experience, altruistic motivation, or the desire for financial security. The results revealed that there were challenges within the community college experience including the ability to maintain curricular momentum and having the perseverance to achieve targeted aspirations. The lack of curricular momentum could have been due to the limited sense of community felt on the community college campus or from struggles with mental and physical health. Community colleges in Nebraska can utilize this data to develop strategies to improve awareness of the various resources available to immigrant students attempting to navigate the complexities of higher education. For example, the classroom appears to be the main source of contact between the student and campus, so having the instructors make announcements of the opportunities available on campus will aid in immigrants and children of immigrants feeling a sense of belonging and purpose.