College of Education and Human Services
Learning Sciences and Human Development
Women are underrepresented in a number of science, technology, engineering, and mathe- matics (STEM) disciplines. Limited diversity in the development of the STEM workforce has negative implications for scientific innovation, creativity, and social relevance. The current study reports the first-year results of the PROmoting Geoscience Research, Education, and SuccesS (PROGRESS) program, a novel theory-driven informal mentoring program aimed at supporting first- and second-year female STEM majors. Using a prospective, longitudinal, multi-site (i.e., 7 universities in Colorado/Wyoming Front Range & Carolinas), propensity score matched design, we compare mentoring and persistence outcomes for women in and out of PROGRESS (N = 116). Women in PROGRESS attended an off-site weekend work- shop and gained access to a network of volunteer female scientific mentors from on- and off-campus (i.e., university faculty, graduate students, and outside scientific professionals). The results indicate that women in PROGRESS had larger networks of developmental men- toring relationships and were more likely to be mentored by faculty members and peers than matched controls. Mentoring support from a faculty member benefited early-undergraduate women by strengthening their scientific identity and their interest in earth and environmental science career pathways. Further, support from a faculty mentor had a positive indirect impact on women’s scientific persistence intentions, through strengthened scientific identity development. These results imply that first- and second- year undergraduate women’s men- toring support networks can be enhanced through provision of prote ́ ge ́ training and access to more senior women in the sciences willing to provide mentoring support.
Digital Commons Citation
Hernandez, Paul R.; Bloodhart, Brittany; Barnes, Rebecca T.; Adams, Amanda S.; Clinton, Sandra M.; Pollack, Ilana; Godfrey, Elaine; Burt, Melissa; and Fisher, Emily V., "Promoting professional identity, motivation, and persistence: Benefits of an informal mentoring program for female undergraduate students" (2017). Faculty & Staff Scholarship. 1342.
Hernandez PR, Bloodhart B, Barnes RT, Adams AS, Clinton SM, Pollack I, et al. (2017) Promoting professional identity, motivation, and persistence: Benefits of an informal mentoring program for female undergraduate students. PLoS ONE 12(11): e0187531. https://doi.org/10.1371/ journal.pone.0187531