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Making the invisible visible

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Title:
Making the invisible visible a qualitative study providing context of women's STEM experiences through visual representation
Added title page title:
Qualitative study providing context of women's STEM experiences through visual representation
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Douglass, Helen Louise ( author )
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Denver, Colo.
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University of Colorado Denver
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English
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1 electronic file (153 pages) : ;

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Science -- Study and teaching ( lcsh )
Technology -- Study and teaching ( lcsh )
Engineering -- Study and teaching ( lcsh )
Mathematics -- Study and teaching ( lcsh )
Digital storytelling ( lcsh )
Digital storytelling ( fast )
Engineering -- Study and teaching ( fast )
Mathematics -- Study and teaching ( fast )
Science -- Study and teaching ( fast )
Technology -- Study and teaching ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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This study examines what four case study participants identify as important in their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. These experiences represent both formal and informal scenarios from many disciplines and ages. Participants collected digital images, captioned them and completed an interview. From the data, a Contextual Critical Junctures framework was developed and five Contextual Critical Junctures are discussed. The results suggest an interconnectedness between experiences, contexts and relationships that provide more depth to STEM and gender equity research.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
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System requirements: Adobe Reader.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Helen Louise Douglass.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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986537823 ( OCLC )
ocn986537823
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LD1193.E35 2016d D69 ( lcc )

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Full Text
MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE: A QUALITATIVE STUDY PROVIDING
CONTEXT OF WOMENS STEM EXPERIENCES THROUGH VISUAL
REPRESENTATION
by
HELEN LOUISE DOUGLASS B.S. University of New Mexico, 1991 M.A., Colorado Christian University, 1996
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Education and Human Development Program
2016


2016
HELEN LOUISE DOUGLASS
ALLRIGHTS RESERVED


The thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by
Helen Louise Douglass has been approved for the Education and Human Development Program by
Bryan Wee, Chair Geeta Verma, Advisor Alan Davis Rene Galindo
Date December 16, 2016


Douglass, Helen Louise (Ph.D., Educational Research)
Making the Invisible Visible: A Qualitative Study Providing Context of Womens STEM Experiences Through Visual Representation
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Geeta Verma
ABSTRACT
This study examines what four case study participants identify as important in their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. These experiences represent both formal and informal scenarios from many disciplines and ages. Participants collected digital images, captioned them and completed an interview. From the data, a Contextual Critical Junctures framework was developed and five Contextual Critical Junctures are discussed. The results suggest an interconnectedness between experiences, contexts and relationships that provide more depth to STEM and gender equity research.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Geeta Verma
m


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This work emerged in large part through the support, encouragement and expertise of my advisor, Dr. Geeta Verma, and my committee chair Dr. Bryan Wee. My committee members, Dr. Alan Davis and Dr. Rene Galindo also provided their support, always challenged me, and helped me improve and clarify my thinking.
Transitioning from a practitioner to a researcher requires time and a community, as well as an opportunity to experience actual research projects. I want to thank my advisor, Dr. Verma, for including me on her projects and releasing more and more responsibility to me as I improved as a researcher. I also want to thank Dr. Kara Mitchell Viesca and Dr. Maria Araceli Ruiz-Primo for hiring me as a graduate assistant on their projects and allowing me to see the research process and participate in those communities. Thank you to Dr. Julie Oxenford OBrian and Sherri Ahmadi for their friendship and support as fellow students on these projects.
My professors provided the great privilege to learn in a community that opened new worlds to me and my fellow students. I would like to thank them, and my fellow graduate students, for the many conversations and thought provoking ideas that were discussed. I thank Dr. Boni Hamilton for her wisdom and expertise and the constant reminder to find a true inquiry for my study. I also thank Dr. Madhavi Tandon for her laughter breaks and her deep generosity to those who follow her in this process. I am pleased to call Boni and Madhavi friends beyond our student status.
The Sandra K. Abell Summer Research Institute for Graduate Students allowed an intensive time of mentorship and critical friends for those of us in the program. My bruised arm was a testament to the feedback award I received. I thank the students and
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professors of the 2013 class for their support and friendship, as well as the incredible examples of scholarship, service and teaching. The Jhumki Basu Scholars brought together those of us who work in equity and ethics to mentor and support us. A special circumstance regarding the Abell scholars program was getting to meet authors of papers I had written very early in my program of study. A special circumstance regarding the Basu Scholars program was the first book review I wrote for an early class was one Jhumka Basu had written. I am so honored and humbled to be included in these groups that continue the work of these talented, dedicated women whose time in the science education community was so short yet so rich.
Throughout my years as a teacher, the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Acheivement) program led by Karen Hunter, was a refreshing, energizing group to work with. The students of all ages were so inspiring and always taught me things. Thank you to Karen, Gail Becker and Dr. Valerie Otero for the honor and respect they modeled for me regarding working with younger students. Elementary students and experiences are not secondary light as these folks have said.
There are too many friends and family members to name individually, but I thank a few here. Thank you to Linda Smith and the Dillion family for buying me groceries and feeding me. Thank you to Michael and Lisa Burk for giving me a computer, letting me work at their air conditioned house and letting me ship books on their Prime account before I got mine. Thank you to Jennie Gershater Lopez for helping me move, physically, to bring this work to life. Thank you to Devira Chartrand for nursing me back to health after my hospitalization. Thank you to Michelle Cuthbertson for her abiding friendship, spiritual direction and her formatting assistance. Thank you to Scot and Kathleen Douglass for
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always being for me and mentoring me into more. Thank you to Michele Evans for inspiring me with her words and life. Thank you to Lynda Hinds for seeing this before I did, travelling with me to conferences, and offering her home as a respite. Thank you to Sarah and Jeff Wegert-Sarah as a friend and colleague, and Jeff as a friend, who provided work space and their home for breaks and mini-retreats. Thank you to Susan and Keith Julien for friendship, family and dinner conversation.
Finally, I thank my family and entire network of friends who always asked about my work, and waited patiently for me to finish, cheering me on. There is absolutely no way I did this on my own, and thank you all for everything large and small that you provided for me.
I hope this work helps to make visible the stories of those who have not always been seen and heard, and sets the ground work for my future and continued work to include those who have not always been included in STEM endeavors. I especially want to thank my mother and grandmothers who did not always have the opportunities that I have, but found their way.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I: THE PROBLEM..............................................................1
Introduction..............................................................1
Theoretical Framework.....................................................5
Statement of the Problem..................................................7
Policy..................................................................7
Participation of girls in STEM..........................................9
Teacher Preparation and Practices......................................10
STEM Workforce.........................................................11
Purpose of the Study and Research Questions..............................13
Overview of Methodology..................................................14
Participants and Sampling..............................................14
Data Collection........................................................15
Data Analysis..........................................................16
Significance of the Study................................................16
Summary..................................................................17
II: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE...............................................18
Introduction.............................................................18
Institutional Theory and Policy..........................................19
Feminism and STEM Education............................................21
Feminism, Identity and Reformed Practices................................25
Student Identity.......................................................25
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Teacher identity
32
Feminism and STEM Workforce.............................................34
FeministStandpoint Theory and Policy....................................38
Summary.................................................................40
III: METHODOLOGY..........................................................42
Introduction............................................................42
Participants and Setting................................................43
Target Population and Sample............................................43
Research Design.........................................................47
Methods.................................................................49
Data Collection.......................................................49
Data Analysis.........................................................53
Establishing Trustworthiness............................................54
Delimitation and Limitations............................................55
Role of Researcher and Ethical Considerations...........................57
Summary.................................................................58
IV: FINDINGS..............................................................59
Introduction............................................................59
Results.................................................................59
Bethany...............................................................61
Janelle...............................................................65
Jessica...............................................................67
Melanie...............................................................70
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Discussion of the Intersection of Time and Context..................73
Contextual Critical Junctures and Sense Making of Womens Experiences.76
V: DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS..........................94
Introduction..........................................................94
Intersection of Time and Type of Represented Experiences..............96
Relationship Intersections............................................97
Contextual Critical Junctures......................................100
Recommendations as a Result of This Study............................107
K-12 Teacher Preparation and Practice..............................108
Methodological Implications........................................109
Education to Workforce ContinuumMissed Opportunities..............110
Recommendations for Future Research..................................Ill
Conclusion...........................................................112
REFERENCES.............................................................114
APPENDIX
A: Interview Protocols...............................................121
Initial Interview Script/Protocol 1:...............................121
Interview Protocol 2...............................................122
B: Glossary of Terms.................................................123
C: Participant Images and Captions...................................124
Janelle............................................................124
Jessica............................................................128
Melanie............................................................133
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Bethany
139
x


CHAPTERI THE PROBLEM
Introduction
Despite national-scale efforts to promote gender and ethnic diversity in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workforce, women continue to be underrepresented. Policy and institutional demands continue to be made without strong evidence of what works and without clear suggestions for how to carry out this task. For example, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards clearly state that all US students should be prepared to meet the demands of the global workforce, especially in STEM fields. Common Core standards focus on achievement scores in literacy and math as well as assessing college and career readiness (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2014).
The aim of the NGSS is to prepare all students for college and career readiness, as well as being informed consumers of science (Lead States, 2013). Ten states have adopted the NGSS which are based on the National Research Councils (NRC) Framework for K-12 Science Education (Lead States, 2013). In addition to the focus on preparing students for STEM careers, national standards promote a need for students to develop scientific literacy. Scientifically literate citizens are able to participate in the decision-making processes in a democratic society.
Other policy decisions such as the federal Race to the Top initiative (RTTT) uses the Common Core state standards and the assessment tools that go with them to incentivize states and their educational reform efforts. In particular, reform efforts aim to improve the diversity of the STEM workforce by promoting workforce readiness for all students. This
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includes students that are historically underrepresented in STEM occupations such as ethnic minorities, females and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Girls make up approximately 50% of students in US K-12 schools but women of all ethnicities continue to be underrepresented in the STEM workforce more than any other group (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). Significant financial investments are made by both federal and state governments for creating college and career readiness for all students in STEM fields. For example, the 2015 US presidential budget proposal included over $150 million dollars to improving STEM teaching and learning to prepare a more robust and diverse STEM workforce including gender diversity (STEM Education for Global Leadership, 2014). However, very little information about the types of experiences that lead to successful college completion and STEM workforce success for women and other underrepresented groups is associated with such legislation and funding.
By investigating experiences (beginning as early as elementary school) of women in the STEM workforce and those who have left the STEM workforce, I seek to establish an understanding of contexts that can promote gender equity on a broad scale. The research reported here uses feminist and institutional theoretical perspectives to build a framework for understanding and reporting Contextual Critical Junctures that have led to the success of women in the STEM workforce.
In the 2010 American Association of University Women (AAUW) report Why so Few? on female underrepresentation in STEM, the authors use the term STEM to refer to the physical, biological and agricultural sciences, computer and information sciences, engineering, engineering technologies and mathematics. They use the terms STEM, science, technology, mathematics, scientific and engineering interchangeably. For this paper,
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I will follow the AAUWs use of the term STEM. I will use girls when discussing k-12 education, women when discussing workplace, and females when researchers do not distinguish between girls and women. A glossary of terms and definitions is included in the appendix.
I propose interrogating contexts of females experiences to further the conversation and broaden the research base on females and gender equity in STEM. These contexts will include their k-12 experiences, their informal STEM experiences, their relational experiences and any other self-determined experiences they deem as critical to their persistence in or exit from the STEM workforce.
To move the conversation forward, connections must be made between k-12 educational policies and their claims to increase the STEM workforce readiness.
Investigating the contexts of females who have persisted and exited the STEM workforce, which include their k-12 experiences, can be a starting point. This starting point is useful for articulating and enacting how educational policies could facilitate more gender equitable teaching and learning practices and provide useful information on STEM workforce exit or persistence.
Employing frameworks and methodology that include women in the knowledge production can further the conversation on gender equity and STEM. Traditionally, women have been excluded from knowledge production, especially related to STEM (Lorber, 2012). Knowledge production includes what is considered relevant or meaningful knowledge, and how this knowledge is communicated and represented (Lorber, 2012). Historically, access to knowledge production in STEM disciplines has been limited to mostly males. Additionally, there have been hierarchies of STEM disciplines and the resulting knowledge production
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from these disciplines. Some STEM subjects have been considered hard sciences such as physical science and engineering, and others soft sciences, such as biology and environmental science (Lorber, 2012). Including women as active participants in representing the contexts of their experience will further knowledge on what encouraged or stifled their STEM education and career attainment.
Contextual Critical Junctures (CCJ) is what I am calling the framework that emerged from a pilot study, literature and data analysis. The three elements of CCJ are:
1. the experience can be articulated and represented
2. the experience had an impression on the participants view of themselves or their abilities
3. the participant may or may not have had control over the situation.
In other words, the framework consists of experiences, impressions and agency. Upon analysis, five CCJ emerged from the data collected in this study. These are more than merely the important experiences participants identified or when the experiences occurred. The CCJ are my interpretations of participant experiences in the context of this study. These five Contextual Critical Junctures include a dynamic nature and meet the three elements of experience, impression and agency.
The participants shared stock digital images, or took digital images with their own devices. Participants identified for themselves what has been important to their STEM experiences, from both their personal and professional lives.
The examination of experiences that participants identify and make visible and those that have been identified as Contextual Critical Junctures will move the body of research beyond differences in females and males in STEM education and careers that has occupied
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much of the research literature on gender and STEM. Examining experiences and those that align with the CCJ framework will help make connections that lead to recommendations in k-12 educational policy enactment, and include women in knowledge production. Examining experiences and those that align with the CCJ framework will also help make connections between experiences and STEM workforce persistence or exit.
Theoretical Framework
Two theoretical perspectives will be used for this study Standpoint Feminism and Institutional Theory. Standpoint Feminism states that women and their knowledge building have been excluded from what is accepted and included as knowledgeespecially in STEM disciplines (Lorber, 2012). Standpoint Feminism begins from the premise that women and their experiences of their situations in the world are a starting point for knowledge creation that is more inclusive and robust. Standpoint Feminism takes this further by saying that when women and their experiences are acknowledged, it then provides a Standpoint for social change (Harding, 1991, 2004).
Tenets of Standpoint Theory include strong objectivity and strong reflexivity. Strong objectivity is a counter to the prevalent assertion that sciences are objective and value neutral. Strong objectivity, as an assertion of Standpoint Theory, states that by including more stories and experiences of oppressed or underrepresented groups, the objectivity is actually increased, more robust and nuanced (Harding, 1993).
Strong reflexivity is related to strong objectivity in that Standpoint Theory encourages one to critically examine their social position and how this is influencing the research questions, the interaction with participants and the analysis of results. This strong
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reflexivity is seen as an asset and tool to help analyze data and interpret results with participants experiences being important (Harding, 1993; Hesse-Biber & Leavy, 2007).
Institutional heory is a way of looking at both the educational and work systems that girls and women occupy. Meyers (1977) foundational work in Institutional Theory and education states research must examine the effects of education as an institution, not merely at a classroom level, organization or peer groups. Students and non-students can experience immediate socialization, conferring of status and the recurring effects of the legitimacy of status that is conferred by the school as institution.
Expanding on Myers work, Hanson (2001) and Scott (1995) offer both a definition of institutions and pillars that are consistent among institutions. Scott states institutions consist of cognitive, normative and regulatory structures and activities that provide meaning to social behavior. Institutions are transported by cultures, structures and routines and operate on many levels (p. 646). Hansen (2001) breaks down this definition that is mainly conceptual in nature to include the three pillars of institutions. These are the cognitive, regulative and normative. The cognitive pillar is the filter in which people view reality and provides meaning to their interpretation of the world. The regulative pillar provides stability to institutions by determining actions through formal and informal rules that govern behaviors. Finally, the normative pillar places an emphasis on norms and values for the pursuit of valued ends and the legitimate means to achieve these ends. All institutions consist of these pillars, and institutions can understand and shape change though steps that move forward, becoming more homogenized or trying for systematic reform by changing one or more components of the institution (Hanson, 2001).
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The frameworks of Standpoint Feminism and Institutional Theory provide the structures to include women in knowledge production from their own experiences. They also provide structure for examining the contexts surrounding their experiences.
Statement of the Problem
Career and workforce readiness are goals of both Common Core state stands and Next Generation Science Standards (Common Core, 2014; Lead States, 2013). In addition, the federal policy Race to the Top has workforce and career readiness as one of its goals (Race to the Top, 2014). All three policies promote increasing diversity that includes economic, ethnicity and gender diversity related to workforce readiness and educational attainment. Common Core and RTTT seek to increase diversity especially in both STEM educational attainment and STEM careers (Race to the Top, 2014). NGSS also seeks to better prepare a STEM workforce, and in addition aims to increase the scientific literacy of all Americans. These policies are currently the most prevalent in influencing practices in US k-12 schools.
Policy
In one of only two research papers on policy, diversity and STEM education, Rodriguez (1997) critiques the National Science Education Standards (NSES) framework that led to the current NGSS. He claims although there are good intentions, it is a dangerous discourse to keep the disparities hidden. Rodriguez calls this the dangerous discourse of invisibility. The rationale for wanting to increase diversity, including gender diversity, is not given in the NSES framework.
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In much the same way, Common Core and RTTT claim a need to increase the diversity in the STEM workforce. This is one of the rationales for implementation.
However, the policies
1. do not make inequitable conditions explicit
2. do not describe what inequitable conditions are
3. make recommendations for increasing the equity in workforce readiness.
In addition, workforce readiness is the focus while placing less emphasis on scientifically literate students. NGSS expands on the NSES framework from which it originated and which Rodriguez critiqued. They include case studies and teaching and learning implications for diverse groups, including girls, in their background information on how the standards were developed (Lead States, 2013). However, they are not tied to either Common Core state standards or RTTT initiatives.
With over 4 billion dollars devoted to RTTT initiatives that in part promote increasing gender diversity in the STEM workforce (RTTT, 2014), there is no explicit framework for why inequities exist, or for the types of inequities encountered. Neither is there a framework for promoting more equitable teaching and learning practices. In short, there is no context to the call to increase gender equity in K-12 STEM education and workforce preparation and participation. Including context to critically examine the goals of these policies is a vital step forward in furthering the conversation on gender equity and STEM education and careers and a contribution of this proposed study.
In many elementary schools, with the RTTT initiative and its precursor No Child Left Behind (NCLB), science has been cut to make more time for reading and math, subjects tested in the current high stakes accountability and testing environment that RTTT endorses
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(Griffith & Sharmann, 2008; Froschauer, 2006; Center for Education Policy (CEP), 2006). If students are not taught science and do not have exposure to scientific ways of thinking in their formative years due to focusing exclusively on literacy and mathematics, both boys and girls are not able to begin preparation for scientific literacy and workforce readiness. Participation of girls in STEM
Regarding girls and STEM education, there has been progress in narrowing the gender gap (AAUW, 2010; Blickenstaff, 2006; Brotman & More, 2008; Riegle-Crumb, King, Grodsky & Muller, 2012). In elementary years, boys and girls equally report liking and participation in hands on STEM lessons (George, 2006; Baram-Tasabari & Yarden, 2011). For example, more girls are scoring in the proficient and advanced ranges in math tests, an area that in the recent past girls were outperformed by boys. Also, more girls are taking math and science classes in secondary school than in recent history.
A factor in girls k-12 STEM participation is the environment in which they learn.
The AAUW (2010) has reported in areas that have traditionally indicated success in STEM careers, such as advanced mathematics placement and spatial skills, boys outperform girls. However, with an environment that allows for experiences using materials and spatial activities, girls skills improve.
Girls performance on high stakes tests in mathematics improve when messages about who is capable and can succeed in math and engineering includes both girls and boys. Traditionally and historically, STEM subjects have been stated as for boys, or that boys are good at them. For example, boys are good at math, and girls are good at languages has been a message given to boys and girls. (Correll, 2001; 2004) examines this phenomenon and discovers that boys and girls assess what they need to be successful differently. When boys
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and girls assess math success, boys overestimate their ability compared to performance and girls underestimate their performance. When they are asked to assess what is needed for success on a gender- neutral nonsense subject that was made up by the researcher, both boys and girls assess their abilities and performance inline with actual performance.
These studies indicate that
1. lack of early exposure affects both boys and girls, but it may affect girls more
2. boys do better with certain experiences and girls with others
3. positive identity messages influence girls STEM learning.
These studies have contributed to documenting differences between males and females in dimensions of k-12 education. They have also contributed to a call for more inclusionary STEM education practices. They address differences between boys and girls in their exposure to classes and materials, their assessment and performance and how they see themselves as learners. Identifying and addressing differences has enabled some progress to be made in increasing gender equity. However, gender inequity persists. There is a need to expand on the studies of differences by inquiring more deeply in the contexts of experiences. Teacher Preparation and Practices
One cannot discuss the growth and challenges of females and STEM without discussing their k-12 experiences which are guided primarily by teachers. Beginning with elementary teachers, research suggests that many teachers do not have confidence in teaching specific content areas such as science or engineering, and see themselves as generalists (Hargreaves, 2000; Rivoli & Ralston, 2009). Teachers experience ambivalence in their identities as they struggle to balance testing expectations, student needs and content knowledge and (Uphadhyay, 2009; Enyedy, Goldberg & Welsh, 2005). These experiences
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frame gender equity or inequity in how experiences, norms and values are enacted in the classroom (Zapata & Gallard, 2007). This has an impact on girls particularly, since coupled with few elementary experiences, plus the likelihood of a teacher who may not express confidence in STEM subject matter reduces the opportunity for a learning environment conducive to their participation.
An example from the secondary teaching environment reveals positive intentions for gender equity do not always equal a reformed learning environment for girls. Teachers who call themselves reformed based and are well intentioned about offering girls a rich learning environment still teach in a way that limits girls participation and connection to the subject. For example, teachers continue to call on boys more and maintain an environment where boys had more access to the hands on materials than did the girls (Calabrese Barton & Tan, 2008; Carlone, 2004; Zapata & Gallard, 2007).
Teacher preparation courses that prepare new teachers, as well as professional development for practicing teachers are not specifically teaching about how to increase gender equity in STEM teaching (Wiseman, 2012). Although it is often stated as a goal to increase opportunities for all students and improve the readiness for underrepresented groups in the STEM workforce, specifics about teaching and learning for girls are not put in context or made explicit.
STEM Workforce
After examining policies influencing girls and STEM, participation by girls in STEM classes and the teaching practices and preparation of k-12 educators related to girls and STEM, looking at discrepancies in the STEM workforce is in order. As Riegle-Crumb, King, Grodsky and Muller (2008) state, the more things change the more they stay the same.
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However, this is not a retreat into cynicism but a challenge to continue to examine the undeniable underrepresentation of women and STEM. It is also a call to continue to work to improve the status of women and girls in STEM education and careers. Discrepancies include both numbers of women in the STEM workforce and pay for their work (BLS, 2013).
To begin with, in all fields of work, there is a pay gap between men and women. In the STEM fields, this is also observed (AAUW, 2010; BLS 2013). However, women working in the STEM fields tend to earn more than women in other fields. Although there is a pay gap, STEM careers can provide women with earning potential greater than in other fields and a level of economic security. This is a connection to the k-12 policies mentioned earlier and their focus on STEM workforce career readiness.
Women who are working in STEM fields, particularly those working as scientists, engineers and technologists and women working in the high tech industry leave their jobs at a higher rate than their male peers. They also leave STEM jobs at a higher rate than their female counterparts in non-STEM fields (Freehill et al., 2009; Hewlett et al, 2008; Xu,
2008). Often, it is assumed that women leave work for child rearing and family purposes, but there are other reasons. Researchers have reported that not only do family responsibilities play a part in women leaving their STEM career, but the workplace environment and bias contribute as well.
Family responsibilities are seen as a reason that women are underrepresented in STEM workplaces (Mason, Wolfinger & Goulden, 2009; Xie & Shauman, 2003). Both men and women in STEM occupations state family responsibilities could be a barrier to success, but women experience what Simard et al (2008) call the family penalty differently than men (p. 5). Women are more likely to forgo marriage or children, or delay having children.
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They also report being the primary caregiver when they are with a partner who also works full time. When women are with a partner who is also in STEM, Hewlett (2008) reports the mans career is given the priority over the womans. In a retention study of engineering, women and men stated interest in another career was a primary reason, but women were more likely to report time and family issues, too (Frehill et al, 2008).
These workplace findings are an extension of the environments and biases that influence the experiences of girls in their k-12 schooling. They focus on the differences in pay, numbers of females in STEM positions, and different reasons women exit STEM careers. They also highlight, as do the examples from k-12 education, that institutions have an influence of their own, in addition to the particular experiences of individuals that make up the institutions.
To move the conversation of gender equity forward, more than differences must be examined. Differences alone cannot account for historical and current, persistent inequities that females experience (Riegle-Crumb, King, Grodsky & Muller 2008; Guthrie, 2014). The research must include more on the contexts that females experience differences. Identifying contextual critical junctures is one way to move the research on gender equity forward.
Purpose of the Study and Research Questions
The purpose of this study is to make experiences visible that are shared by participants and subsequently interpreted as Contextual Critical Junctures via the development of a framework. This will provide a context to current gender gap research. Rather than adding to the numerous studies on differences when females loose interest or leave science and engineering fields compared to males, this study will examine womens experiences and make them visible to help identify the critical junctures and the contexts of
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this experiences. These experiences will be examined for potential k-12 policy and institutional implications and recommendations. The following research questions guided the study:
1. What experiences do women, who have obtained a STEM degree in engineering and physical science, identify in their STEM careers/education that led to persistence or exit from a STEM career, and when do these occur?
2. How do these experiences contribute to the development of a Contextual Critical Junctures framework?
3. How do these experiences, interpreted as Contextual Critical Junctures by the researcher, contribute to sense making of womens experiences?
Overview of Methodology
Participants and Sampling
This study used qualitative methods. The target population for this study was women who work or have worked in engineering or physical science positions. Physical science and engineering continue to have fewer numbers of women participants, and less growth compared with other STEM disciplines (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). Recruiting of participants occurred through professional organizations for women in STEM, outreach coordinators for STEM business and a university honors engineering program. Recruitment efforts included telephone calls, emails, meetings with key personnel in outreach and referrals. In addition, national professional organizations were contacted.
Criteria for selecting participants included:
1. majoring in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics degree program,
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2. currently working or have worked in a physical science or engineering occupation for at least three years
3. willingness and ability to take or obtain digital images.
Women who are working in STEM professions but do not hold a STEM degree will not be considered for this study. This study will include women who obtained their degree in the Einited States. Sampling technique was purposive sampling (Tashakkorie & Teddlie, 2003). Data Collection
Photo elicitation was used as a data collection method (Rose, 2012; Tinkler, 2013). Participants completed two interviews. The first interview was used to obtain consent, explain the purpose of the study and guide participants in obtaining digital images. These images will be related to their STEM experiences in their personal and professional lives. Participants will be guided to consider images that relate to their participation or lack of participation in STEM endeavors. This may include taking classes, going on field trips, visiting work sites, etc. There is no limit to what a respondent may capture as significant. Participants will also be asked to caption their images once they are collected.
In the second interview, participants explained the captions they gave their images using their own language and descriptors as they see fit. The second interview followed a semi-structured format and included broad questions. For example, What does this represent? Participants also sorted their images into a priori categories given by the researcher taken from literature that included k-12 experiences, informal experiences, relational experiences and a category for anything else?. During this interview, participants explained their captions and responded to broad questions related to the captions or images themselves. Both interviews were recorded.
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Data Analysis
After the photo-elicitation interview was transcribed, the transcripts, images and captions were analyzed. Analysis methods included content analysis and frequency analysis. The analysis methods included content analysis and frequency analysis, both within each individuals responses and across the responses given by all participants. In addition, the framework for Contextual Critical Junctures emerged, which included experiences, impressions and agency, and 5 Contextual Critical Junctures were identified. Keats (2009) suggests overviewing all the textual and visual data collected and analyzing the visual and textual data separately. Once this is done, exploring the relationships between the visual and written data is possible. Both a priori and generative coding will be employed. For example, a priori codes included themes reported in gender and STEM literature such as learning/working environment, connections with a mentor/positive role model and direct instruction/experiences in content areas.
Significance of the Study
This study identified Contextual Critical Junctures from women participants to add to the current research on gender and STEM. In particular, by asking the participants themselves to make visible through digital images experiences they deem as critical to their STEM educational and occupational attainment. The context that is provided will be used to make suggestions on how current k-12 educational policies could be enacted to align with the claim of wanting to increase gender diversity in the STEM workforce. An additional significance of the study is to provide a context for women participants to add to the knowledge base of gender and STEM, where according to Standpoint Theory, their experiences and contributions have been absent or less visible.
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Summary
Policies that are driving k-12 reform efforts related to preparing a more diverse STEM workforce conflict with k-12 STEM education practices due to high stakes testing and commonly leaving science untouched in elementary grades despite this time that both boys and girls are interested and participate well.
Teachers that work with both girls and boys, especially at the elementary levels, see themselves as generalists, and express low confidence in their content abilities. In addition, teacher professional development and preparation often do not address gender biases that can produce negative stereotypes pertaining to girls and science and math education. Despite the increasing number of women in the workforce, women in the STEM workforce are still underrepresented, particularly in engineering and physical science. Women in STEM occupations are underrepresented to a greater extent than women in non-STEM occupations. When they are in STEM fields, they leave them at rates higher than other fields, and report that the work environment, stereotypes and biases and family responsibilities contribute to their decisions.
Institutional Theory and Standpoint Feminism are used as a theoretical framework. They allow for the framing of the study where women created their own visual representations that allowed analysis of context, not only differences between males and females. Differences are often reported on in STEM and gender research. From data analysis, recommendations are given for k-12 policy and practice changes to prepare a more gender equitable educational and workforce experience.
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CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction
There is interest in girls participation in STEM educational opportunities and in women and their STEM career choices. The interest includes both participation and nonparticipation in educational experiences as well as career choices. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has examined the education of girls in STEM fields as well as participation (or lack thereof) of women in STEM careers.
In k-12 education, there has been progress made in the number of girls taking STEM courses and in their increasing scores on achievement tests. However, inequity persists as witnessed by decreased performance on high stakes tests and in the fewer numbers of girls taking advanced placement courses in STEM subjects. These high stakes tests and advanced placement courses have been seen as instrumental in proceeding on to further STEM education and in choosing a STEM career. Differences in access and performance have been stated as a major reason for gender inequity in the STEM workforce (AAUW, 2010).
Gender inequity continues to be seen in the STEM workforce. Although women are both earning more STEM degrees in postsecondary education, and their participation in STEM occupations has increased, women are still vastly outnumbered. In engineering, physical sciences and mathematics occupations, only approximately 10% of their participants are women (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013).
This chapter focuses on the current body of literature related to girls and women and their STEM experiences-both educational and in the workforce. The discussion will begin with institutional theory, and current policies related to k-12 STEM education. Next, the discussion will move to the history of science education and I will parallel it with a
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discussion of feminist movements to establish is relevance for girls education in STEM. I will then extend the conversation to workforce studies on women in STEM. Finally, I will conclude with recommendations connecting policy and practice with workforce readiness and the need for contextualizing womens experiences by identifying CCJ.
Institutional Theory and Policy
Historically, schooling is seen as an institution to socialize individuals and provide educational opportunities to create meaningful participation in society. Institutional Theory suggests that institutions themselves impact ah those involved and not involved. Meyer (1977) brought forth the idea that schools themselves act as more then socializing the individual but as institutions with specific roles. He explored the idea that educational institutions are spaces for rites that transform the political, social and economic positions in society that far transcend an individuals educational experience. Meyers goes on to state that education as institutional rites transform social roles through powerful initiation ceremonies.. .by creating new classes of personnel with new types of authoritative knowledge (p. 56). These rites include promotions or retentions in grade levels, the graduation between levels of schoolor notand even how one is seen as a good student or a less able student. Other scholars have expanded upon his work that specifically relate to educational policies.
Hanson (2001) explores Institutional Theory and educational changes. This is connected to Meyers work of schools exerting institutional influence. It also frames the desired outcomes of policies aimed at educational reform for all students. He defines reform as a major change leading to a restructuring of core processes, programs and/or procedures. Hanson examines Institutional Theory to address conditions that make significant educational
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change difficult and under what conditions can significant changes actually take place. Building on Meyers (1977) work, Hanson discusses what DiMaggion and Powell call an organizational field. An organizational field expands the entities that form an institution beyond merely school or work.
A schools organizational field includes accreditation agencies, teacher training and professional development, boards of education, legislatures, universities, parent groups and textbook and assessment producers. This ties in Meyers claim that schools as educational institutions have influences that go beyond individual experiences and are tied to political, social and economic venues. An aspect of a schools organizational field includes the teachers and what influences them. Teachers influences include their own histories with various aspects of educational experiences (including equity issues) and the experiences they create (or not) that promote equitable teacher practices for their students. This also includes teachers and their preparation and experiences with STEM content and how they create equitable opportunities and experiences for their students.
Institutions that offer teacher education programs influence whether prospective teachers are building a STEM content background as well as learning gender equitable practices. Wiseman (2012) has examined the intersection of policy, reform and teacher education. She identifies the impetus for changing teacher education which includes teaching diverse learners in a highly technical society, achievement gaps among diverse students and international comparisons that show US students not competing at expected levels in mathematics and science. She also links these concerns to students not prepared for success in the global workforce. As an example, she uses No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and its efforts to define a highly qualified teacher. She also discusses NCLBs successor, Race to
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the Top (RTTT) and its emphasis on accountability as the two largest federal programs that are driving teacher education efforts at the federal and state level. Wiseman (2012) notes that public opinion and political agendas drive reform and policies related to teacher education, with scant research on how these policies effect teacher education. Among her findings, she notes that specific attention needs to be paid to the preparation of mathematics and science teachers to bridge the gap between content and pedagogical knowledge (including creating equitable opportunities for all students).
Institutional Theory in education provides the framework to analyze policies that tend to rely heavily on improving student achievement test scores. Increasing student achievement on test scores may have little to do with workforce readiness compared to the effect schooling has as an institution. If current policies are claiming that increasing achievement test scores alone will increase gender equity in females participation in STEM courses and careers, without examining the effects of schools as institutions, something is missing. Interrogating what women in the STEM workforce represent and talk about as important in their k-12 experiences, as well as examining the policies that are promoting workforce readiness beginning in elementary school with RTTT requirements will provide context to examine the possible influence institutions have in promoting or inhibiting gender equity.
Feminism and STEM Education
A brief history of western science is helpful when discussing research on females in both STEM education and STEM careers. It is also helpful when thinking about connections between institutions and how policies that guide institutional workings are related to gender equity.
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The dominant paradigms in educational research and the natural sciences have included empiricism, positivism and postpositivism. A paradigm is the guiding assumptions and consensus related to a group of phenomena under study (Kuhn, 2012). Since the period in western history known as the Enlightenment, the positivist paradigm has been dominant in research and in the history of science. Briefly, the positivist and postpositivist paradigm is concerned with the objective truth and experimentation related to what is positively and objectively observed (Bredo, 2006). I intentionally use the word men in describing Kuhns paradigm work, which is the word he used, and is a reminder that in the construct of paradigms and science disciplines in general, women were excluded form participation. The enterprise of the sciences were undertaken by a majority of European, (read white) educated men.
This history of who participated and who was excluded in the sciences led to a major contribution of one branch, in particular, of feminism. Raising questions such as What is science? and For whom? and Who says? is a major contribution of Standpoint Feminism in the pursuit of knowledge formation (Lorber, 2012). If those of a non-dominant gender (and other underrepresented groups including ethnic minorities and people belong to a low socioeconomic status) were not included in the knowledge building and what is considered knowledge, it stands to reason that the resulting science institutions and science education reflected the values and priorities of its participating members. The conception of western science and membership in of the resulting scientific community was almost exclusively the privilege of white European, educated males. It is apparent then it is full of the values and societal norms of that group of people. Feminism offers both critique and expansion on science and STEM education. The history of science education will be used as
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representative of STEM education, as it is a major component of what is now considered STEM education.
In a review of literature on gender and science education, four themes have been identified specifically related to girls and science. Brotman and Moore (2008) organized their review of 107 research articles from 5 major science education journals and 2 journals that include science in gender in their scope. The time frame was from 1995 to 2006.
Articles were chosen that included girls, gender, females and/or science in their title, abstract or key words and kept issues of girls or gender and science as the primary focus. Studies were included that focused on k-12 education, teachers in graduate programs and women and science if there was a direct connection to k-12 science. Single sex education and higher education in the sciences were not included, nor were editorials (Brotman & Moore, 2008). The studies were organized into four themes related to engaging girls in science:
1. A focus on equity and access
2. A focus on curriculum and pedagogy
3. A focus on reconstructing the nature and culture of science
4. A focus on identity.
These themes are roughly chronological, and are parallel to feminist movements and their priorities and contributions in increasing gender equity in science and science education. Science education researchers who also adopted a feminist framework had different priorities in their research topics. These topics parallel the topics identified by Brotman and Moore (2008).
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Feminism can be broad and have dynamic meanings. A general explanation of feminisms taken from Brickhouse (2001) states that Feminisms are unique in their consistent focus on gender and the political commitment to changing those structures that have historically favored masculinities over femininities (p. 976). The waves of feminisms and the four themes Brotman and Moore (2008) identified in the literature roughly correspond. Calabrese Barton (1997) identified waves of feminisms related to science education that Brotman and Moore use to further categorize their four identified themes. Discussing waves of feminisms parallel to science education literature for girls is useful in understanding both contributions and further directions for research.
First wave feminists and feminisms of the 1960s in the United States, also termed liberal feminisms, were concerned with equity and access, but did not examine or challenge inequitable structures. Moving from the theme of equity and access to that of curriculum and pedagogy, difference feminisms or second wave feminisms were looking at more than equity and access. They were interrogating inequitable structures that caused girls and their contribution to be excluded or ignored. They wanted to examine ways of knowing that girls bring to science and mathematics. The third theme, that of changing the nature and culture of science roughly corresponds to third wave feminisms, which has a political and activist stance. Third wave and emancipatory principals also roughly correspond to the fourth theme, that of identity, where intersectionality between and among race, class, gender, etc. is undertaken. The next section will focus on the research using feminism and identity, the fourth theme of research categorized by Brotman and Moore (2008).
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Feminism, Identity and Reformed Practices
Identity is one of the four themes identified by Brotman and Moore (2008) in current research on gender and science education. It corresponds to third wave feminisms concerned with liberation and emancipation (Calabrese Barton, Tan & Rivet, 2008). Since identity is categorized as a current research focus and aligned with third wave feminisms, examining studies that consider identity is necessary in understanding and contributing to research in gender equity.
Identity is fluid and constructed socially within communities of practices
(Calabrese Barton, Tan & Rivet, 2008, p.75). It is who one is and who one wants to be. In the science classroom, as a community of practice, the authors quote Lave and Wenger (1991) that learning science becomes a process of coming to be, of forging identities in activity (p.3). Within a science classroom, there are many activities and processes for girls to form a science identity.
Student Identity
Students are also given identities and positioned in science classrooms. The authors state that girls, and especially minority girls in poverty settings are positioned with less power in science classes (Calabrese Barton, Tan & Rivet, 2008). This is seen when teachers call on girls less than boys for content questions and when they are not given as much attention by the teacher. Girls also do not have the same opportunities as boys to interact with materials. This leads to girls believing a science identity is not compatible with their female gendered identity.
Three practices were observed that increased the participation and engagement of the 20 girls in their ethnographic study in urban middle schools (Calabrese Barton & Tan,2008).
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The practices included creating their own signature science artifacts, such as songs, posters or musical raps that were outside of the assigned coursework. Another practice that increased participation and engagement in science by girls in the study was playing with identities. For example, girls could try to be both good science students, but also cool and playful. This was accomplished when girls tried to be experts, included public performances and sharing of their work and interacted with the class on their terms.
The final practice Calabrese Barton and Tan noted was that of negotiating roles with strategic participation (2008). For example, a student who claimed to love science and engaged in every extracurricular science field trip offered was labeled as a poor student in class, with behavior issues and a lackluster participation. This student was able to combine her love of science with her current behaviors by co-opting the science class norms with her own behaviors. She accomplished this by still moving around the room, but now she was being a guide and expert for others to justify her classroom movements. Or she began gesturing and signaling to the teacher that she wanted to read or participate in discussions. This is similar to playing with identity, but allowed the student to keep both her street identity and her love of science as she participated in classroom norms, but with her own behaviors.
The practices the girls authored most likely historically would have been marginalized in the science classroom, or dismissed as not scientific, when held up to traditional views of science as masculine. Creating new identities that were sanctioned in the science classroom merged out of school resources and identities with those of school science. Girls in the study experienced a new engagement and learning that allowed for being gendered and scientific-a new science identity.
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This study (Calabrese Barton & Tan, 2008) is important in providing examples of how classrooms have only supported a certain kind of learning that was not available to girls. When access to different learning experiences and the inclusion of all that girls identified with was allowed in the classroom, more equitable conditions were created for girls.
Zohar and Sela studied girls and boys in a secondary physics classroom (2003). Their relied in part on the work of Carol Gilligan that critiqued the work of Piaget and Kohlberg as being the cognitive and moral development of males that relied heavily on rights and rules as opposed to the moral development of females that relies heavily on responsibility and relationships. This is related to how a girl and a boy assess their science and math learning.
Girls have reported that they want to see a connection to the real world and connect with deep knowledge about the subject. A difference with girls and boys in the physic class included boys expressing satisfaction with learning formulae and girls expressed dissatisfaction with only formulae. Girls assessed learning physics in relation to a deep understanding and connection to the world around them, instead of merely rights and rules that the authors describe as a traditionally male way of knowledge and cognitive development (Zohar & Sela, 2003).
Girls assess themselves as learning physics only if they can put it into relationship with a broader worldview where boys assess themselves as learning if there is consistency within physics concepts and they obtain the right answer. Girls want deep understanding and are likely to give up the idea of merely learning the right answer for obtaining a deep understanding (Zohar & Sela, 2003).
All but one girl did not embrace competitiveness that all but one boy did as part of a science identity. In addition, when transcripts were analyzed, girls valued thinking and
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understanding above merely obtaining a correct answer. They expressed a dislike with rote memorization and wanted to connect and think deeply and inquire. Girls who expressed a quest for understanding were not encouraged, and they realized that questions and a yearning for meaning were not part of the science practices they had to embrace. One girl responded that she didnt need to understand, just memorize (Zohar & Sela, 2003).
In contrast, boys expressed enjoyment in deep thinking and inquiry as well, but over twice as many girls as boys expressed distress or criticism regarding their quest for understanding, and the degree of distress stated was deeper than distress stated by boys.
Girls science identity included wanting to see relationships within a larger context and to have a deep understanding in an inquiry environment, even when they were chastised or misunderstood when asking for this experience (Zohar & Sela, 2003).
This study by Zohar and Sela (2003) is important in the examination of differences between girls and boys within a traditionally male dominated subject, physics. It highlighted that even with girls and boys being successful, different concepts and meanings were important.
Another idea related to girls and identity pertains to research on self-assessment. Correll (2001) analyzed survey results of over 16,000 high school students from the 1988 National Educational Longitudinal Study. Correll examined the correlation between a students math achievement and self-assessment of their math ability by gender as well as the influence that self-assessment had on persistence in STEM classes and careers. With equal mathematics performance, high school boys assessed themselves higher than high school girls did on perceived mathematics competence. A higher self-assessment of mathematics ability among students of equal abilities led to higher odds a student would take calculus and
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choose a STEM college major. Boys were more likely to enroll in calculus than girls with equal abilities, but with lower self-assessment. Girls who took calculus in high school were three times more likely to enroll in a STEM degree program than girls who did not take calculus. Boys who took calculus were only two times more likely than boys who did not take calculus to enroll in STEM degrees. When a girl assessed her verbal abilities highly, even if her mathematics ability was also high, she was less likely to enroll in a STEM degree program. Correll argues that stereotypes of areas considered masculinemathematics and STEM degrees and careersand feminine-verbal abilities, influenced self-assessment.
When Correll (2004) studied self-assessment related to something that had no stereotypes associated with what is masculine or feminine she found further information. Males and females were assessed on their contrast sensitivity ability a fictional skill, and told that either this was a skill that men were more likely to have or that showed no gender differences. Although individuals in both groups of participants were given the same test and told that they scored 13 out of 20 in round one, and 12 out of 20 in round two, those in the male advantage group assessed their abilities and interests in pursuing a career in contrast sensitivity higher than women did. In the group that was told the skill was gender neutral, no gender differences in self-assessment or future career interest were noted.
Correll found that females and males held different standards for what was considered ability in the male advantage group (2004). Females assessed themselves as needing 10 points higher than males assessed themselves as needing in order to be identified as skilled.
In the no gender differences group, males and females assessed what score was needed to be skilled as only differing by one point.
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The findings of Correlfs studies (2001, 2004) suggest that in disciplines commonly referred to as masculine, such as STEM, males assess their abilities and interest in courses and careers as higher and females assess their abilities and interests as lower. The findings also suggest that females assess the needed skill level to be successful in STEM courses and careers higher than males.
Correlfs studies contribute to the knowledge base by revealing that stereotypes about what is considered masculine and feminine influence how girls and boys assess their performance. Differences in assessment and performance are related to stereotypes and may influence the choices made by girls in pursuing STEM education leading to more equitable STEM careers.
In a study on girls participation, Carlone (2004) researched a traditional physics class and a more hands on, reformed physics class. Girls want to be good students and choose classes based on maintaining a good student identity. This class choice may not include classes in reformed physical sciences courses if they perceive the class to be too difficult to maintain a certain grade point average, despite being interested in the subject.
Carlone (2004) studied culturally produced meanings of science in a physics curriculum that was designed to be more gender inclusive. She examined how these meanings reproduced and contrasted larger sociohistorical meanings of science and scientists and the ways girls participated within and against these meanings. In her study, Carlone (2004) questions whether a different kind of science would make for more interesting science for girls. A different kind of science would include values that are important to girls and connections to girls lives and important areas of interest. This corresponds to the topic of
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changing the nature and culture of science (Brotman and More, 2008) rather than seeing girls as deficient in their abilities to learn science.
Carlones (2004) ethnographic study of an Active Physics class of 28 students (14 girls and 14 boys) was designed around different science curriculum that was promoted as more gender inclusive. The reform based physics curriculum that was being used was an attempt to broaden the participation of students and included inquiry based, real world situations to promote inclusionary practices. Carlone observed, that despite the intent of the curriculum, that for many girls, their identities of being a good student were not congruent with their identities of an active, science learner. They resisted the new identity of a more broad definition of science and scientist than that of traditional masculine views in favor of the identity of a good student.
Girls maintained a certain identity, even with a more inclusionary curriculum, but so did their teacher. Carlone (2004) claims that the instructor reproduced many sociohistorical productions of science including science is hard and scientists or good science students have an innate ability. This is consistent with a male dominated and male production of the scientific enterprise. Although the instructor was committed to the more gender inclusive curriculum, it was enacted in a way that promoted science identities as someone with innate talent, naturally smart and male. This made the curriculum inaccessible, alienating and/or uninteresting for many of the girls, and did not challenge the taken for granted assumptions about who is good at science. Girls did not resist these taken for granted identities of who is good at science unless it challenged their identity as a good student.
In Carlones study, (2004) the instructor did not nurture forming a new science identity, and even the girls that identified themselves as hands on and an active learner, as the
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course came to completion, did not define themselves as a science person but as a good student who needed the class for credit. The science identity was in conflict of the good student identity in the context of achievement, and all the girls stated they only needed the class for a credit to look good on transcripts. Within the culture of achievement, a science identity was at odds with the identity of being a good student. The girls resisted a science identity for themselves, regardless of success and interest in the class.
These studies highlight many issues in the quest for more inclusionary and gender equitable science practices including the differences that are seen in boys and girls identities and in the teachers replication of these differences. This leads to more research on teacher identity as it relates to gender equity.
Teacher identity
The topic of identity is important to science education from an educators view. Science teachers identities influence how they teach. A case study by Upadhyay (2009) documented how one elementary teacher negotiates the demands of high stakes testing, student achievement and self and professional identities. In the teachers work within an urban environment, she had to alter her practices when administration would do walkthroughs. The teacher was well aware and committed to more inclusionary inquiry practices that considered connections to real life situations, background knowledge and promoting deep understanding. These are practices that create meaningful learning for all students but especially girls. She had to constantly negotiate her social and professional identity and the commitment of her schools district to achievement on tests that do not measure these types of learning experiences. This type of environment is seen as penalizing girls and other marginalized students and replicating a certain type and culture of science
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(Fusco & Calabrese Barton, 2001). This teacher negotiated and resisted a professional identity that was only focused on test scores. This is a difficult task to accomplish, especially in the early years of a teaching career.
An example of pre-service teacher education gender equity issues combined with early years of science instruction is shared by Bianchini, Johnston, Oram and Cavazos (2003). The authors argue that to teach science in equitable and contemporary ways, preservice teachers and their instructors need to enact and define the nature of science themselves. By doing this in their pre-service education, first year high school science teachers brought these practices into their science classrooms. Rather than examine aspects of equity and the nature of science, these education students and then first year teachers adopted practices that lived out for themselves and their students. These practices included discussing historical representations of science, crafting science practices the pre-service students would embrace related to participation and use of materials, and lowering the risk of failure in the learning environment. They also included discussions and examples of biases, both implicit and explicit, to address texts and materials, assumptions about girls and discourses used in the classroom. Likewise, professional development for practicing teachers needs to include examining biases and beliefs related to their teaching practices for gender equity.
The first year teachers equitable and contemporary nature of science pedagogy and curriculum was in conflict with the identity they were expected to adopt related to state standards. Similar to the teacher in Upadhyays study (2009), state standards and achievement were not conducive to adopting an identity of teaching in an equitable and contemporary way to increase science learning for girls and other underrepresented students
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in science. Teachers have to negotiate their own identities around a high stakes testing environment that often does not value science teaching in favor of literacy and mathematics testing. The cases examined conflicted with the teachers desire and ability to implement equitable science teaching practices (Upadhyay, 2009; Bianchini et al, 2003).
To increase girls meaningful participation in STEM classes and activities, and to combat stereotypes related to girls and subject matter traditionally seen as masculine is to adopt a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed intelligence mindset. This belief can influence the learning environment that is created and deemed important in girls participation and skill development that contradicts stereotypes (AAUW, 2010).
The studies on teachers and their identities clearly indicate that there is a gap in teachers recognition and intentions in enacting more equitable practices and their implementation in the classroom. These studies also show that teachers do not have specific training or professional development in making their teaching more gender inclusive. They also highlight the differences in what is required by current educational policies in place related to achievement testing and career readiness, but conflict with equitable teaching and learning.
Feminism and STEM Workforce
With the current pervasive focus on k-12 policy and STEM workforce readiness, it is necessary to examine women and their STEM work. Women give several reasons for exiting their STEM jobs that are related to the work environment. Hewlet, Buck, Servon, Sherbin, Shiller, Sosnovich, & Sumberg (2008) report that challenges in the work environment happen during mid-career for many women. Women reported feelings of isolation, lack of support, extreme work schedules and ambiguity on what constitutes success and achievement as
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reasons for leaving. Xu (2008) reports that when women leave STEM research positions, it is to pursue research positions in other disciplines, not merely exiting to stop working.
Although explicit biases may be decreasing, women in STEM fields report implicit biases as having a negative effect on their workplace experiences. Implicit biases may be stronger or more severe than explicit biases (Valian,1998). For example, it is possible, as Valian states, for there to be a workplace value or belief of promoting gender equity. However, implicit bias about gender can still lead to negative stereotypes about women in math and science. Nosek, Banaji and Greenwald (2002) reported the both men and women of all races and ethnicities hold implicit beliefs that associate male with science and female with liberal arts.
Another example of implicit bias relates to work performance stereotypes. When women are seen as successful in STEM careers that are considered male, they are less well liked and experience derogatory instances more than their male counterparts that are successful (Heilman & Okimoto, 2007). When a woman is disliked in the work environment, yet is successful, career outcomes are affected. Evaluations are lower and there are less organizational awards. Heilman and Okimotos (2007) research suggests that gender stereotypes about women can lead to bias in judgments of women in male dominated environments. Although biases can change, physical science and engineering fields in particular are still considered masculine. Life and health sciences are now seen as appropriate for women compared to 40 years ago (Farenga & Joyce, 1999).
Among the disciplines in STEM, engineering and physical sciences still have the fewest number of women in their ranks and are deemed male dominated (Riegle-Crumb, King, Grodsky & Muller, 2012; AAUW, 2010). In a national survey of men and women in
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all branches of engineering, in addition to women reporting having parents in professional positions, and taking longer to make their decision to enter engineering, there were gender differences favoring men. These were seen in engineers with five or years of work, and increased with the length of time a person stayed in engineering. The gender differences favoring men were around salary and supervisory responsibility. All the women in the study and men with 16-20 years of experience endorsed the statement that there are more opportunities for men than women in engineering (Jagacinski, 1987).
In the physical sciences, Eccles (2007) reports women are underrepresented not due to gender differences in math or science aptitudes or in differences in self-efficacy related to success, but rather due to gender differences in the values placed on occupations. Females want to see connections to the world and people in the world. The differences begin early in life and can reflect stereotypes about physical sciences. Providing better information and opportunities to experience physical sciences can lead to more informed decisions about going into physical sciences. Physical science and engineering careers are seen as less communally goal oriented than other non-STEM careers. This perception of physical science and engineering not working with or helping others influenced women in their decision to enter and remain or leave these professions. Diekman, Brown, Johnston and Clark (2009) call for a an examination of how communal goals influence interest and decisions in physical science and engineering and as a direction to pursue related to increasing gender equity in these occupations.
Kinzie (2007) focused on female responses at two critical transitions in their educationsenior year in high school and two years into postsecondary education regarding their intended major and future work. She was able to reveal differences among
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students and identified four distinct pathways pursued by women related to science and mathematics. Women were classified into four groups:
1. Neverswomen who in the twelfth grade werent interested in science or math and did not declare a STEM major in college
2. Departerswomen who in the twelfth grade were interested in science and math then declared a non-STEM major in college
3. Joinerswomen in the twelfth grade that were not interested in math or science but chose a STEM major in college
4. Persisterswomen in twelfth grade who had an interest in math or science and declared a STEM major in college.
Kinzie (2007) used discriminant analysis to identify the variables that were the best predictors of womens educational choices. These included academic achievement in mathematics, self-concept, educational aspirations, science grades, academic behaviors related to science and math courses, course taking patterns, science and math attitudes and beliefs and socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity at three crucial transitions in their educationeighth grade, tenth grade and twelfth grade.
Kinzie (2007) claims that by defining four distinct pathways, she moves beyond the dichotomous outcome of women leaving or staying in the math and science talent pool (Kinzie, p. 85). Her results show that women and girls paths in science and math can be predicted from a variety of traditional psychological, behavioral and achievement-related variables at three points in their academic careers. Math achievement was named as the critical filter to admission to STEM majors (p. 85).
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There is a need to examine experiences of girls and women in relation to the systems and structure they work and study within. Research is needed to not only focus on the differences that women experience in the workforce but the contexts of what they see as being disadvantages and advantages in their persistence or exit of STEM endeavors.
The workforce studies reported in this literature review provide background on differences women and men experience the workforce. They begin to move beyond only differences and examine specific reasons for leaving or staying in positions. This is a move to more contextual research in gender equity. Echoing Guthrie (2014), in current recruitment and retention studies for women in STEM the value of context is often lost. Metcalf (2010) calls for active interrogation of values, assumptions and power structures underlying STEM workforce research as they have historically been and will continue to be embedded within policy and programs related to girls and women in their STEM education and participation. Asking women to identify contextual critical junctures (CCJ), which provides context to interrogate values and assumptions, is a contribution of my proposed study.
FeministStandpoint Theory and Policy Standpoint feminist epistemology and research seeks to build knowledge and empowerment through the experiences of women (Hesse-Biber & Leavy, 2007; Johnson, Brown, Carlone & Cueves, 2011). These experiences have often been invisible, but they are present (Rodriguez, 1997). Standpoint Feminism sees sources of gender inequality as a neglect of female perspectives and experiences in the production of knowledge as in the exclusion of womens voices and experiences from the body of knowledge in the sciences (Lorber, 2012). It seeks to build bridges to break down boundaries. It also accounts for multiple Standpoints that can include racial, cultural and class differences (Harding, 1993).
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Feminist researchers critique the policies and practices and the discourses that surround them related to women and STEM. The critiques include the discourse and practices of both education and careers (Mansfield, Welton & Grogah, 2014). They also critique the pipeline model itself that is used widely to argue for more STEM education and workforce readiness including increasing diversity (Metcalf, 2010). The pipeline model is by far the most used analogy for increasing gender equity in both STEM education and careers for females and other represented groups but it is limited in providing contextual details on both flow and exit, as mentioned by Xu (2008).
In Brotman and Moores literature review (2008) and in the American Association of University Womens (AAUW) report on Women in STEM (2010), policy on gender and science is under-researched. In the literature review of over 107 research studies over an 11 year period expressly related to girls and science published in five top science education journals only two were related to policy. There were no studies related to principals and administrators views and policies related to experiences of teachers and students on gender and science and no studies related to policies and k-12 schoolwide structures that would enhance parental involvement and education related to gender and science.
Brotman and Moore (2008) summarize the situation with policy reform related to gender by saying .. .the fact that these school-level and policy-level issues are largely absent from the dialogue on gender and science in the widely read science education journals reviewed herein demands attention in itself;.. .these issues are not prominently addressed in more narrowly focused journals that explicitly address policy and school leadership either
(p. 972).
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With a lack of research on policy, yet having k-12 policies in place that are driving STEM education and workforce readiness, it is time to further the conversation. This can be done by including a framework such as institutional theory to examine policy. Another way the conversation can be furthered is to provide the research participants an opportunity to comment on their k-12 experiences and examine it in light of k-12 policy claims.
Summary
The studies in this review have examined performance, assessment and learning environments. They have also examined themes in research on girls and STEM as well as the corresponding feminist waves. Workforce literature on women and STEM has also been examined. In general, the studies have focused on differences. These differences are between girls and boys in STEM education and men and women in STEM work. There have been insightful and important contributions related to engaging girls in STEM, increasing academic performance of girls and increasing girls access to STEM courses. In the workforce, similar issues have been addressed including work environment for women, persistence in a career and disparities in pay and expectations for performance.
However, focusing on differences has not explained the persistent gender gap in physical science and engineering careers (Riegel-Crumb, King, Grodsky & Muller, 2012). This study will contribute to the literature on gender equity and STEM education and careers in 3 major ways. The first is moving away from examining differences to examining context. Examining context of the participants experiences will further the conversation on gender equity. Literature on what I am calling differences has contributed to changes in all the areas that Brotman and Moore (2008) describe in the four categories of equity and access, curriculum and pedagogy, nature and culture of science and identity. Yet with the persistent
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gender gap in the STEM workforce and the widespread focus on STEM workforce readiness in K-12 policy, it is time to move beyond differences to examine the context where perhaps differences are experienced and seen.
An additional contribution of this study will be in the use of feminist theory, particularly Standpoint Theory. Standpoint Theory has maintained that females are largely excluded from knowledge production, especially in the sciences. In addition, Standpoint Theory promotes strong objectivity that includes women and their experiences. Since women and their experiences and knowledge production have historically been excluded or marginalized, including them as active participants in identifying the contextual critical junctures of their STEM experiences adds to the knowledge base. With the exclusion and marginalization of women, what is seen as objective is not as robust as possible, a claim that Standpoint Feminism promotes with the idea of strong objectivity.
A third contribution of this study is in the use of a visual methodology, discussed in the next chapter, in data collection and analysis that will actually make the experiences visible via digital media.
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CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY
Introduction
The examination of Contextual Critical Junctures (CCJ) as a framework, and the experiences that women identify and make visible will move the body of research beyond differences in females and males in STEM education and careers that has occupied much of the research literature on gender and STEM. Examining experiences and the development of Contextual Critical Junctures as a framework will help make connections that lead to recommendations in k-12 educational policy enactment, and include women in knowledge production. This examination will also help make connections between experiences and STEM workforce persistence or exit.
Developing a Contextual Critical Junctures framework is important as a way of framing the realities of the participants. Contextual Critical Junctures as a framework works well with the photo-elicitation visual methodology in making what is invisible seen. Make the invisible visible, or seen, helps to make sense of the life experiences the participants reported. This sense-making was important for me as a researcher, and also for the women themselves, as each participant expressed that this was the first time they had been asked or thought about the various experiences that they made visible with images and that I later identified as a Contextual Critical Juncture.
This study is built on the premise that women in engineering and physical science careers have experiences and Contextual Critical Junctures in their lives that have not been made visible. The purpose of this qualitative study is to make these Contextual Critical Junctures visible by having the participants represent experiences themselves using visual methodologies. To this end, the goal of this study was to explore the images and
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accompanying interview and caption data for potential policy and institutional implications and recommendations. This exploration lead to nuances women identified that align with the a priori categories of k-12 experiences, informal experiences, relational experiences and any other experiences including post-secondary and workforce items. It also led to the development of the Contextual Critical Junctures framework used to better understand experiences, along with the time and contexts, participants identified.
Participants and Setting
Gender inequity is seen in fewer numbers of women than men pursuing and remaining in physical science and engineering positions. It is also seen in less pay than male counterparts doing similar work (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). Research has identified practices that are deemed important to increasing gender equity (Association of American University Women, 2010). What is less evident in the research are the contexts that women identify are important, or when critical experiences occur (Guthrie, 2014). This study examined what I am calling Contextual Critical Junctures (CCJ) that women themselves made visible from images and captions of their experiences. The CCJ will include more than only positive or negative experiences, but the context, the experience and what was critical about the experience that either moved the participant towards or away from STEM education or career attainment.
Target Population and Sample
The target population for this study is women who have completed an engineering or physical science degree. This degree could be at the bachelors, masters or Ph.D. level. Since current k-12 policies informing STEM education place a high importance on workforce readiness, women working in corporate settings will be the participants. This is not to say
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higher education and research positions are not important to examine, but with this study, to align with the value placed on workforce readiness in current educational policies, women working in corporate settings will be the focus.
Recruiting of participants occurred through professional organizations for women in engineering and physics, outreach coordinators for engineering and science businesses and university physics and engineering programs.
Purposive sampling was used as the sampling technique. Purposive sampling is used in both qualitative and mixed methods research that involves cases based on a specific purpose rather than randomly (Tashakkorie & Teddlie, 2003). Specifically, purposive sampling was used to achieve representativeness and comparability. This sampling technique was useful for two purposes. One is selecting a sample that represents a broader group of cases as closely as possible. The other is to set up comparisons among cases (Teddlie & Yu, 2007).
Participants were from engineering and science professions, either currently employed or who have left their occupation. Criteria for selecting participants included:
1. a degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics program
2. currently working or have worked in a science or engineering occupation for at least 3 years
3. willingness and ability to participate in this study by completing various activities (e.g. taking or obtaining digital images).
Potential participants, who did not participate in the study for various reasons also referred other women to the study.
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From the recruiting sources, over 20 women were contacted by the researcher, or themselves contacted the researcher. Sixteen potential participants were available for follow up by the researcher through phone and/or email or a personal visit. From these 16, seven women were selected that met the criteria of working or having worked in a science or engineering occupation and potentially were able to complete the study based on time frame, family and work needs and study criterion. Of these seven, four were able to complete the study in its entirety.
Participants from industry, rather than higher education, were recruited because the study focus is increasing a more gender diverse workforce as it relates to k-12 policy interests and classroom practices. A brief description of participants is given in Table 1. The four case study participants are women who range in age from 31-61 years old. Two participants have remained in their engineering profession and two participants have exited their professions. One exited an engineering career, and one exited a physics research career. All participants chose a pseudonym.
Stake (2006) recommends no fewer than four or no more than ten cases to maximize the benefits of case study research. These benefits include interactivity and uniqueness (p.
22). The sample included multiple ages of women, with multiple years of either experience or years since exit.
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Table 1: Brief profiles of case study participants (using pseudonyms)____________________
Janelle is 31 years old and a practicing engineer. She has been in her current position for 3 years. She holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering. Parents remain married, father is engineer, mother is social scientist.
Jessica is 37 years old and a former scientist for 10 years. She is currently a program developer for a design firm. She holds B.S. degrees in computer science and physics and a M.S./Ph.D. in physics. Parents divorced in her elementary years. Father is in sales and marketing, mother worked part-time in a biology occupation
Bethany is 61 years old and practicing engineer. She has been in her current position for 15 years and working as an engineer for 36 years. She holds a B.A. degree in French literature and aB.S./M.S. degree in mechanical engineering. Parents remained married during their lifetime. Mother was engineer, father was an inventor and engineer.
Melanie is 45 years old and a former engineer for 5 years. She is currently pursuing a credential in coaching/spiritual formation. She holds a B.A. degree in electrical engineering and an M. A. in counseling. Parents remained married. Father remarried after wifes death when Melanie was in her mid twenties. Mother (deceased) was an engineer, and father is an engineer
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Research Design
A qualitative design was used for this study. Qualitative research is an inquiry process of understanding where the researcher develops a complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, reports detailed views of informants, and conducts the study in a natural setting (Creswell, 1998, p. 15). This approach makes knowledge claims based on the constructivist (Guba & Lincoln, 1985) or advocacy/participatory (Mertens, 2003) perspectives. In qualitative research, data is collected from those immersed in everyday life of the setting in which the study is framed. Data analysis is based on the values that these participants perceive for their world. Ultimately, it provides contexts for understanding problems.
This study used a multiple case study design, is descriptive in nature and used qualitative methods for collecting and analyzing data. Case studies are an exploration of a bounded system of a case or multiple cases over time through detail, in depth data collection involving multiple sources of information rich in context (Creswell, 2005, p. 73). Stake (2006) explains that case studies are investigated because, we are interested in them [case studies] for both their uniqueness and commonality. We would like to hear their stories (p. 7). The multiple case study design or collective case study investigates several cases to gain insight into a central phenomenon (Creswell, 1998; Stake, 2006).
In multiple case study design, the analysis is performed at two levels: within each case and across the cases (Stake, 2006). Analysis of this data can be a holistic analysis of the entire case or an embedded analysis of a specific aspect of the cases (Yin, 1994).
In this study, first, each case was analyzed using frequency analysis of how many of each type of experience occurred. Second, each case was analyzed using content analysis to
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see what type of experience occurred and what was included in the captions. Finally, all the cases were analyzed for the emergence of Contextual Critical Junctures using the development of the Contextual Critical Junctures framework. The development of the Contextual Critical Junctures framework came from a previous pilot study, and emerged from data in this study. Elements of a Contextual Critical Juncture, include:
1. the ability to represent and articulate an experience
2. the experience made an impression on the participants view of themselves or their abilities
3. the participant may not have had control over the impression or its impact.
The Contextual Critical Junctures framework and its development is further discussed in chapter four.
Regarding photo-elicitation, Keats (2009) suggests overviewing all the textual and visual data collected and analyzing the visual and textual data separately. Once this is done, exploring the relationships between the visual and written data is possible. Rose (2012) provides guidelines for what codes could reflect when using photo-elicitation data. These include if the data include inventories of material realities, representations of social interactions or identities and as objects whose meaning is negotiated in the context of the interview.
A priori categories given to help participants organize their images, as well as frequency and content analysis reflected these recommendations. The images were analyzed first to determine frequency and content. Then, the captions were analyzed for content followed by the transcribed photo-elicitation interview data. The meanings participants gave their images and captions became more nuanced and clear upon negotiation in the interview
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process. In addition to what photo-elicitation data shows, being aware of what the data does not show is also important to consider.
Methods
Data Collection
After obtaining IRB consent, data collection included visual data in the form of digital images. These are images that participants took themselves, or gathered from stock images found on the Internet. Using visual images has been part of research methods across many disciplines in the social sciences (Tinkler, 2013). Using digital images in research and presentations of research is a newer endeavor, but is a powerful tool used by researchers and participants alike (Rose, 2012; Tinkler, 2013).
Photo-elicitation was used as a data collection method. Harper, (1986) defines photoelicitation as inserting images into interviews. By using photo-elicitation, Schwartz states that participants respond without hesitation in the interview and the interview strangeness is averted (1989; p. 151-152).
Photo elicitation was used to provide participants with the means to choose for themselves experiences important to them. These experiences could be from any time in their life, and from any experiences. It differs from digital story telling in that one line or one story was not the goal; rather, participants myriad experiences and what they chose to represent would help answer the research questions. The purpose of this study was not to derive one or more stories per se, but to contextualize lived experiences as Contextual Critical Junctures. Photo-elicitation as used in this study provided the opportunity to make visible discreet experiences, that led to the researcher identifying the Contextual Critical Junctures and the development of a framework.
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Narrative methodology was not chosen for similar reasons. The researcher did not want to craft merely a narrative of experience, but to examine many experiences as discreet entities and the possibilities for change. Additionally, using photo-elicitation as opposed to strict narrative research allows for the participant to speak freely about their experience related to the image, with a reduction in awkwardness that can come from merely answering questions or choosing where to start to answer the questions. The photo/image adds a depth that mere narrative research cant provide (Hurworth, 2004). Although each methodology serves a purpose in various studies, photo-elicitation best fits the research questions and theoretical perspective.
Two interviews were conducted with each participant. The initial interview included meeting the participant, and explaining the project, including examples of how to collect images for use in photo-elicitation. In a simple form, photo-elicitation is inserting a photograph or image into a research interview (Harper, 1986). This first interview established some initial trust between the participants and the researcher. In addition, obtaining consent and answering any questions occurred during this initial interview (Rose, 2012). Participants were given an explanation about the phases and sources of data collection. As an example, they were guided on how to gather images from various times and experiences in their lives. Employing visual methodologies encourages participants in having a broad range and a freedom to collect images they as participants want to collect (Hodgetts, Chamberline & Radley, 2007).
After participants collected at least 10 images, they wrote a brief caption or description of their image. When this step was completed, the second interview occurred within two to four weeks of the initial interview (Rose, 2012). During this semi-structured
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interview, the images and the captions were discussed in detail and the interview recorded for transcription. Participants shared their images and captions via Word Documents or Google Docs. Emails and comments were also exchanged during data collection and analysis.
The semi-structured interview questions included questions that are broad. For example, questions in the interview protocol included
1. What does this represent?
2. Why did you take this?
3. What is significant about this image?
4. What would you like me to know about this image?
5. What did you not take?
6. Why did you not include certain images?
7. What categories would you create for your images?
From these broad prompts and the answers that were given, additional questions were pursued and developed further based on topics that emerged (Rose, 2012).
In addition to captioning their images and the discussion being recorded during the second interview, participants organized their images into five a priori categories guided by existing literature (Calabrese & Tan, 2008; Falk & Dierking, 2010; Hargreaves, 2000; Upadhyay, 2009) that provide connections between and among cases. The images were related to experiences participants had in relation to their exit or persistence in their physics or engineering occupations. The a priori categories provided guidance and a way to categorize experiences, but participants were also free to organize their images in their own way. The a priori categories are broad enough to encourage participants in selecting images
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from a wide range of experiences, not only those related to science and mathematics. The a priori categories included:
1. Elementary experiencesanything pertaining to classroom or school.
2. Secondary experiencesanything pertaining to classroom or school.
3. Relational experiencesanything that included a relationship or connection with a person.
4. Informal experiencesanything that occurred outside of a formal classroom such as a zoo trip, or after school program.
5. Anything Elseall other experiences not already categorized.
Photo-elicitation is used to provide more depth and context to interview questions and
to provide for participants to represent specifics of their experiences. Photo-elicitation is defined by Harper (1986) as inserting images into interviews. By using photo-elicitation, Schwartz states that participants respond without hesitation in the interview and the interview strangeness is averted (1989; p. 151-152). Photo elicitation is appropriate in analysis to:
1. gain not merely more, but different insights by allowing participants to talk about different things in different ways that dont get discussed in traditional interviews
2. allow participants to articulate and represent thoughts and feelings that usually remain implicit
3. to empower the participants in the research process (p. 305).
Photo elicitation also combines with traditional qualitative analysis tools such as content and frequency analysis.
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Data Analysis
Through a pilot study and a literature review, an initial framework for Contextual Critical Junctures was developed. In the pilot study, participants were asked to collect images from their STEM educational and work experiences and label them as positive or negative. A photo-elicitation interview was conducted using the images the participants had collected. They did not caption these images.
When the images and interview data were analyzed using frequency and content analysis, the binary labels of positive and negative were found to be incomplete. For example, a participant would collect an image and label it as a positive experience, but then in the interview responses, describe the event or part of the experience as negative. In reviewing literature, the a priori categories were determined, in order to provide guidance to participants on categorizing their selections, if needed. In order to address the complexity and move beyond the binary categories of positive and negative, the framework of Contextual Critical Junctures was developed. This allows for a more fluid, continuous expression of experiences that moves beyond positive or negative labels.
In the current study, the images were analyzed first to determine frequency and content of type of experiences and when they occurred. Then, the captions were analyzed for content followed by the transcribed photo-elicitation interview data. The meanings participants gave their images and captions became more nuanced and clear upon negotiation in the interview process.
Selections of images and their captions are shared in chapter 4. In addition, selections of interview data, and the experiences that were analyzed and identified as a Contextual
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Critical Juncture (CCJ) are presented. By developing and using CCJ, there is more depth, nuance and detail to examine.
Establishing Trustworthiness
In qualitative design, the researcher seeks believability based on coherence, insight (Eisner, 1991) and trustworthiness (Guba & Lincoln, 1985). Trustworthiness is established through a process of verification rather then through traditional validity and reliability measures used in quantitative research. The uniqueness of a qualitative study within a specific context prevents it being exactly replicated in another context. However, statements about the researchers positions enhance the chances of the study being replicated in a different context or other setting (Creswell, 2003).
According to Guba and Lincoln (1985), trustworthiness includes establishing four areas-credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability. There are several techniques used for establishing these areas. Each of the areas and the techniques used in this study will be described below.
Member checking was used to establish credibility. Member checking involved getting feedback from the participants on the accuracy of the identified categories and themes. This helped promote confidence in the study findings. Triangulation among different sources of data (interviews, images, captions) was also used.
Transferability is showing that findings are applicable in other contexts. Although as previously discussed, qualitative research cannot be exactly replicated, attempting to address whether findings can be applied to other contexts contributes positively to establishing trustworthiness. To determine the transferability of the study, descriptions of the relationships and field experiences of the researcher and participants are reported. The
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researcher formed relationships through initial contact and subsequent interviews, emails and phone conversations.
Dependability is showing the findings are consistent. To promote dependability, an external audit-asking a person outside the project to conduct a review of the study was employed. This person was from another institution in a science education department.
They observed the framework elements, and confirmed the a priori categories were appropriate to the study. They also examined the themes that emerged from the interview data and made suggestions on where there was overlap and the potential to combine themes.
The last area of trustworthiness discussed for this study is confirmability. Confirmability is the degree to which the findings represent the participants meaning and not the researcher. Confirmability will be established by triangulation of data sources as well as an audit trail and reflexivity. An audit trail providing details of each step of the research process is available in the appendix. Reflexivity is attending to the construction of knowledge and acknowledging that the researchers background shapes the research enterprise in its entirety. Reflexivity is also an important part of conducting research using a Standpoint feminist framework and will be addressed in part in the following section.
Delimitation and Limitations
A delimitation of this study is not reporting on the categories of what was not shared or represented. Participants were asked the question, What did you not represent?, as is common in photo-elicitation interview. However, not all respondents answered this question. Additionally, the comments that were given were brief, and did not, as per the question, have a representative image, which fell outside of the scope of the research questions. Briefly, the topics that were not represented include having an ongoing identity as an engineer although
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not working as an engineer any longer, parents ongoing role and presence, and no one ever asking about their experiences. Exploring what was not included and why would be an interesting additional study.
A limitation of this study is workforce language. Workforce language is used throughout the study, as it is so prevalent in policy and education literature. Workforce language, including increasing women and the participation in the STEM workforce, increasing girls participation in STEM subjects and retaining girls and women in STEM subjects and positions is used in many funding opportunities for research and educational programs. It must be acknowledged that this creates a paradox. The premise of women leaving and not entering the STEM workforce could be a neoliberal way of addressing surface issues or deficit thinking without examining more context and details of women and their experiences. However, since this is the language and rationale for current policy and programming decisions, I have used workforce language as a starting point, and for consistency. It is the intention to use workforce language as a lens, but a critical lens and not to suggest that all women should be in STEM courses and careers. The focus is examining equity and access across experiences which include the workforce. Increasing the access and opportunity for all students, including girls and women in STEM endeavors is as important as increasing numbers of women in STEM courses and the workforce. Examining contexts, such as CCJ, will provide a rich background and help increase understanding of womens experiences that could lead to changes in k-12 education and workforce environments for more inclusivity and opportunities, if this is desired.
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Role of Researcher and Ethical Considerations
In case study, since the researcher is the main instrument, acknowledging bias is necessary. Peer debriefing addresses Bias A, the effects the researcher has on the participants and Bias B, the effects the participants have on the researcher (Merriam, 2009). Ethics are addressed by obtaining IRB approval and the researchers ethics and values related to the treatment of researcher participants and research practices. Because ethical issues that arise that are unanticipated, I will be using the ethical checklist given in Merriam (2009). I also consulted with my academic advisor throughout the study.
In this case, I am a white, female, graduate student and school district employee who has observed women and girls in various education and work experiences. Women in my family have also experienced situations related to their education and career attainment that motivate me to explore this topic further. In my work history in STEM education and in my graduate studies, I have formed relationships with many professionals in k-12 settings, corporate settings and higher education settings that influence my desire to investigate this topic further.
Throughout the study, I kept a journal of notes and reflections in keeping with the reflexivity component of Standpoint Feminism. Of note is the work I did in formal and informal arenas, as well as a majority of the time in elementary settings. Additionally, the work that I have done with groups and interviewing was recorded. These reflections influenced the type of questions that were asked, who was included in the study and how the data was collected.
Although I am not a practicing engineer or physicist (such as participants in the study), analyzing data and in particular, reflecting on each contextual critical juncture that I
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identified brought to mind similar and different experiences I had undergone. For example, the Contextual Critical Juncture of Mathematics brought to mind an instance when I was the only girl in a college math class where I loved the class but was anxious as the only girl. It also reminded me that the highest math class in secondary school was not available due to scheduling conflicts, and my regret at missing that opportunity. Additionally, the Contextual Critical Juncture of Playing and Doing along with the Contextual Critical Juncture of Interpersonal Interconnectedness reminded me of my observations of self, moving from a studious person, learning from watching and reading, to a person who discovered the joy in learning by doing in post-secondary experiences.
Summary
A qualitative methods approach was employed in this study. The purpose of the study is for participants to making visible their experiences that led to the development of a framework of Contextual Critical Junctures of their important STEM experiences. Data collection included two semi-structured interviews, one of which was a photo-elicitation interview, images taken or collected by participants and captions written by participants about what and when their experiences consisted of. Data analysis included content analysis and frequency analysis as well as the identification of themes. These themes formed the basis of the identification of experiences included in Contextual Critical Junctures as a framework for understanding the participants experiences. Data analysis and findings are discussed in subsequent chapters 4 and 5.
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CHAPTER IV FINDINGS
Introduction
The purpose of this study is examine experiences women reveal and to identify Contextual Critical junctures (CCJ) to provide a context to current gender equity research related to girls and women and their STEM experiences. Rather than adding to the numerous studies on differences when females loose interest or leave science and engineering fields compared to males, this study examines womens experiences in the STEM workforce and their education and make them visible to help identify the critical junctures. Identifying critical junctures provides details and nuances of not only events but under the circumstances in which they occurred. The identification of these junctures can lead to further understanding of experiences that are identified as important and meaningful to girls and women in their STEM education and careers. These experiences will be examined for potential k-12 policy and institutional implications and recommendations.
This chapter will share selections of images, captions and interview data, as well as levels of analysis that answered the research questions. Individual experiences will be shared, followed by the identification by the researcher of five Contextual Critical Junctures as determined by the Contextual Critical Junctures framework.
Results
Results of the study are presented in order of the research questions they answered and by level of analysis. Three levels of analysis occurred. The first level includes frequency analysis of images in each a priori category of elementary, secondary, relational, informal and other. The second level includes content analysis of the images and captions, with an adjustment to categories. The third level of analysis linked participants experiences
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with elements that contributed to the CCJ framework. The first and second level of analysis help answer the first and second research questions, (What experiences do women identify...and when do these occur? and How do these experiences contribute to the development of the CCJ framework?). This analysis allowed examination of particpants experiences with respect to time and context. The third level of analysis allowed examination of how the experiences contributed to the CCJ framework and to the identification of five Contextual Critical Junctures.
To answer the first two research questions, two phases of analysis occurred. The first phase of analysis included analyzing the frequency with which each participant included an image in the previously identified a priori categories of Elementary, Secondary, Informal, Relational and Other experiences. This level of analysis was conducted with each of the case study participants.
The second phase of analysis was content analysis on the images and captions. From this analysis, which included added details from the captions, the experiences were organized in a slightly different way from the original a priori categories. Images and captions revealed that Elementary, Secondary and Other, were a measure of time-when the event occurred. Elementary occurred during elementary agesusually approximately 5 years old to 11 years old. Secondary occurred during middle school and high school ages usually approximately 12 years old to 18 years old. Other occurred from approximately 19 years old until adulthood and represented postsecondary education through work experiences.
Type of activity was determined to be formal or informal. Formal experiences were in class or structured settings with a set lesson or curriculum adopted by the teacher,
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school or organization. These often included a set schedule or routine, with traditional assessment and testing/accountability measures such as quizzes or written tests, if in a school setting. Informal experiences were clubs and activities outside the school day, or experiences that were not school related. These typically had a less structured schedule, little to no formal assessment, and participatory, hands-on elements. These hands-on elements were not necessarily science or STEM related, but could be from a number of disciplines.
A relational component was embedded in each experience, whether occurring in elementary, secondary or other time periods, or whether it was an informal or formal experience and will be included in cross-case analysis. For example, participants emphasized the nature of their parents status and therefore it is included in the participant description earlier on.
These two levels of analysis help answer the questions of when experiences occurred, and what kind of experience was had. In the following section, each participants experiences are positioned in places and contexts that provide a snapshot of their STEM life. Selections of images, along with captions, are included in the following case study scenarios. The complete collection of images and captions are included in the appendix. Tables of type of experience and when these occurred are also provided.
Bethany
Bethany is 61 years old and a practicing engineer. She has been in her current position for 15 years, and has worked as an engineer for 36 years. She has worked full time and part time. She holds bachelors degrees in French literature and mechanical engineering. She also holds a masters degree in mechanical engineering. During interviews, Bethany
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discussed her parents as having remained married during their lifetime, and that both her parents were engineers. She also discussed her marriage as a source of support.
Bethany gathered 15 images, and upon first analysis of the images, the types of images she collected were both personal, original images and those that were stock images from the Internet. She collected 10 original images and five stock images. Representations included people, places, objects and experiences.
After frequency analysis of images, content analysis of images and captions was completed. The original categories were collapsed to include the time they occurred, either during elementary, secondary or other times (E=elementary, S=secondary and 0=other). The type of experience was either formal or informal (F=formal and I=informal). Table 2 gives a sample of images and captions, as well as times and types of experiences Bethany reported.
Bethany had 11 of 15 experiences from elementary, and four from secondary. Of the 11 elementary experiences, six were informal, three were formal and two were both informal and formal. Of the four experiences from secondary school, they were all formal.
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Table 2: Bethanys Time and Type of Experiences (n=15 images/captions)
Image
Time
(E,S,0)
Type
(F,I)
F/I
Caption Excerpt
In Middle School I was told I could not take Shop Class because it was for boys. I had to take Home Ec. Later in High School, I jumped at the chance to take Car Care for Girls and Architectural Drafting.
.. .1 developed my own faith in high school. Since I believed that things were not impossible, but that with prayer and hard work, anything could be accomplished, I never felt like a failure or that something was too hard. I never felt alone.
There was always lots of classical music at home. We also memorized the songs to many musicals and sang in the church choirs. I was a very good clarinetist and belonged to the Honor Band in Elementary School.... Music sequences and melodies organize your brain and memorizing it helps you memorize other things.
S
E
E
E
E
F
F
I
I/F
I
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Table 2, contd
Image Time Type Caption Excerpt
(E,S,0) (F,I)
S F
E I
E I
E F
E I
E I
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Janelle
Janelle is 31 years old and a practicing engineer. She has been in her current position for 3 years. She holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering. During interviews Janelle talked about her parents influences on her choices and decisions related to her education and career.
Janelle gathered 10 images that included both stock images from the internet and personal images. Images represented people, experiences, thoughts and a toy.
As with Bethanys data, frequency analysis of images and content analysis of images and captions was completed. The original categories were collapsed to include the time they occurred, either during elementary, secondary or other times (E=elementary, S=secondary and 0=other) and the type of experience, either formal or informal (F=formal and I=informal). Table 3 displays selections of Janelles images and captions.
Janelle had five out of 10 experiences from elementary, three from secondary and two from other. Of the five elementary experiences, three were informal and two were formal.
Of the three secondary experiences, two were both informal and formal and one was formal. Of the two other experiences, both were formal. Although Janelle included an image of her father, she did not caption this as a relational experience.
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Table 3: Janelles Time and Type of Experiences (n=10 images/captions)
Image
Time
(E,S,0
)
Typ
(F,I)
Caption Excerpt
.. .Donatello was super smart and knew how to use technology... and I thought that was cool. He was an influence at least through elementary school.
*2
E
E
O
O
E
S
s
F/I
F
F
F
F
I
F/I
F
My dad used to let me change the oil with him when I was young, elementary school aged. I loved being on the wheelie thing ... and it wasnt until many years later that I realized this had an impact in my enjoyment of doing things.
In high school, I was in an intro to engineering class. We were participating in a robot building competition. Instead of participating in actually building the robot, I offered to take the photos and create our journal...
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Jessica
Jessica is 37 years old and a former scientist for 10 years. She is currently a program developer for a design firm. She holds bachelor degrees in computer science and physics and a masters degree and Ph.D. in physics. During interviews, she revealed that her parents divorced in her elementary years and she lived in an all-female household. She also discussed her first husbands death and how she met her second husband from the same circle of acquaintances. Her father is in sales and marketing. Her mother worked part-time in a biology occupation and suffers from Munchausen by Proxy-a mental disorder related to needing to be ill for attention.
Jessica gathered 12 images that were all stock images from the internet. Images represented experiences from all of the original categories of elementary, secondary, informal, relational and other.
Frequency analysis of images and content analysis of images and captions was completed. The original categories were collapsed to include the time they occurred, either during elementary, secondary or other times (E=elementary, S=secondary and 0=other) and whether the experiences were formal or informal (F=formal and I=informal), as with other participants data. Table 4 displays the results of Jessicas content analysis, along with selections of her images and captions.
Jessica had three out of 12 experiences from elementary, three from secondary and six other. Of the elementary experiences shared, one was formal, one was informal and one was both informal and formal. Of the secondary experiences shared, two were formal and one was informal. Of the six other experiences shared, five were formal, and one was formal
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and informal. Jessica had the most experiences in the other category of all the participants. She also worked the longest amount of time of the two participants who left their fields.
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Table 4: Jessicas Ti
Image
and Type of Experiences (n=l 2 images/captions)
Time Typ Caption Excerpt
(E,S,0 e
) (F,I)
0 F I actually started as a chemistry
major.. .1 quickly found out that my memory skills were terrible. I was drawn to physics... if I couldnt remember a principle, it was possible to just rederive it! It all made sense.
S F My high school physics teacher was
very influential in my choice to major in physics. I always enjoyed her class, her practical attitude and her no-nonsense approach to life. She loved cats...
O F When I was in college, I struggled
with classical mechanics. I went to the Professor to ask for help and he told me that I would never get an A because I would just use it to try to go to medical school, like the other women who majored in physics.
0 F/I
s F
0 F
E I
s I
0 F
E I/F
E F
0 F
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Melanie
Melanie is 45 years old and a former engineer for 5 years. She is currently pursuing a credential in coaching/spiritual formation. She holds a bachelors degree in electrical engineering and a masters degree in counseling. Melanies parents remained married until her mothers death. Melanies father remarried after his first wifes death when Melanie was in her mid-twenties. Mother (deceased) was an engineer, and father is an engineer.
Although Melanie is not currently practicing as an engineer, and is pursuing another career path, she identifies herself as an engineer, and sees engineering on a daily basis in her life.
Melanie collected 11 images, with nine images original creations and two stock images. Melanies nine original images were compilations of special objects, personal family images and representations she arranged. They included people, experiences and interactions with family members (Table 5)
After frequency analysis of images, content analysis of images and captions was completed. The original categories were collapsed to include the time they occurred, either during elementary, secondary or other times (E=elementary, S=secondary and 0=other) and as informal or formal (F=formal and I=informal). Table 5 summarizes this phase of data analysis for Melanie.
Melanie had four out of 11 experiences during elementary, two secondary and five other. Of the elementary experiences, all four were informal. Of the secondary experiences, both were formal. The other experiences included four informal and one formal.
Before the categories were collapsed, Melanie had the most representations from the relational category than other participants, with six. Although other participants had fewer representations they labeled relational, upon interviewing each participant about their
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images and captions, a relational theme emerged. These categories of images and the following themes were member checked and confirmed with each participant.
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Table 5: Melanies Ti
Image
and Type of Experiences (n=l 1 images/captions)
Time Type Caption Excerpt
(E,S,0) (F,I)
O
When I was in college, my boyfriend (now my husband, and a software engineer) taught me basic maintenance and repair skills on my first car. Worried that my learning style...would be frustrating for both of us, I was overjoyed to discover his mostly-patient, flexible way of teaching me...
S F Intellectually, I tended to jump in
the deep end, where I would quickly find out what I didnt know... From grade 7 through high school, the deep end was in math and science.
... One of my reasons for taking this job involved continuing my research into places where engineers can make a difference...
O F/I
E
F
E F
E I
S I
0 F
0 I/F
E F
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Discussion of the Intersection of Time and Context
Participants included images that were stock, Internet pictures as well as actual artifacts and family pictures. Elementary experiences were represented the most (n=23), followed by other, (representing post-secondary experiences and work experiences) (n=13) and secondary experiences (n=l 1). The participants who had left their professions represented post-secondary and work experiences more than those who remained in their professions. Elementary experiences were shared the most from the participants who remained in their professions. When combined with secondary experiences, all participants had more school experiences that were represented compared to post-secondary and work experiences. From the participants responses, elementary and secondary experiences are important to their persistence or exit from their STEM occupation.
In addition, experiences that were important were not only formal. Informal experiences were represented as important. More informal experiences were represented in elementary and more formal experiences were represented in secondary. Post-secondary and work experiences were formal. The totals of images representing the time frame of elementary, secondary and post secondary/work and the numbers of formal and informal experiences are listed in Table 6. The experiences identified as Contextual Critical Junctures and what elements are included in the Contextual Critical Juncture framework are detailed in the next section.
Identifying what kinds or experiences participates represented with their images and captions and when these occurred provided the building blocks for the third level of analysis. The third level of analysis uses interview data about the identified experiences to develop a
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framework called Contextual Critical Junctures. How these experiences were used in the development of a Contextual Critical Junctures framework are detailed in the next section.
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Table 6: Data Display of Frequency Analysis and Collapsed Categories from Images (n=48)_________________________________
Janelle (n=10) Jessica (n=12) Bethany (n=15) Melanie (n=ll) Totals
F I F/I F I F/I F I F/I F I F/I
Elementary 2 3 0 1 1 1 3 6 2 0 4 0 23
Secondary 1 1 1 2 1 0 4 0 0 2 0 0 12
Post-Secondary/Work 2 0 0 5 0 1 0 0 0 1 4 0 13
Totals 5 4 1 8 2 2 7 6 2 3 8 0 48
*F=Formal, I=Informal, F/I= both Formal and Informal Experience
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Contextual Critical Junctures and Sense Making of Womens Experiences
The third level of data analysis linked participants experiences with elements that contributed to the CCJ framework. The photo-elicitation interview data was transcribed and included participants discussion of their images and captions, as well as their comments as they were looking at the images and answering semi-structured interview questions. Each participant interview was analyzed individually and compared across cases, as well as with the initial images and captions the participants gave. The following themes emerged in cross-case analysis. These themes are guided by participants experiences that contributed to elements of the Contextual Critical Juncture framework.
The first two levels of analysis were what women identified from their elementary, secondary or post-secondary/workforce experiences and what type of experience, either formal or informal, they had. The third level of analysis identifies what experiences are included as a Contextual Critical Juncture and how this framework was developed. To review, the framework of Contextual Critical Juncture is:
1. an experience that can be represented and articulated
2. the experience made an impression of the participants view of themself and/or their capabilities
3. the participant may or may not have had control to act on the impression.
After conducting a pilot study, briefly discussed earlier, and upon analysis of this
study data, the elements of more than merely themes or experiences emerged. The descriptions participants gave, when being interviewed, had three elements in common-experiences that could be articulated and represented, impressions on themselves or their abilities, and possibly not being able to control or act on these impressions. More than only
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an experience in time, or a type of experience, common themes emerged that included these three elements. A short form of this description could be experience, impression and agency. This is the framework of Contextual Critical Junctures.
The identified themes that emerged as Contextual Critical Junctures are mathematics, play, music, faith communities and intersectionality among experiences. These junctures move beyond positive and negative labels and experiences. They give more information regarding the contexts and experiences the participants lived and the common elements of the framework-experiences, impressions and agency. They also show movement across times of participants lives and are not static. After each Contextual Critical Juncture, a discussion follows.
Contextual Critical Juncture 1: Mathematics-Back and Forth
All participants shared about a love of math (Table 7). This took the form of talking about math, taking math classes, or using math in their daily lives. For some participants, this love changed, as they struggled with math in middle or high school. This struggle has been reported in the literature. However, the joy associated with math, and the connections with other subjects which will be discussed in an additional Contextual Critical Juncture, Intersectionality, is not as evident in the literature. Nor is the possibility of moving between and among a liking and a dislike or struggle with mathematics. For example, one participant discussed the connections with her family history and mathematics. Other participants shared that they loved the challenges in math classes including tests, puzzles and games. Although mathematics is currently a focus of standardized testing, it is often taught in isolation as a stand-alone subject. Family connections, or connections with other subjects is not currently the norm in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education.
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Table 7:
Participant
Janelle
Jessica
Melanie
Bethany
CCJ1
Image
C aption
I loved math in elementary school. In middle school I started struggling with it, and in high school I avoided it as best I could. This fear of math helped guide me towards music as a career first.
We would do logic games and learn math or other topics... I recall sitting on a swing set in fourth grade, telling another student (who was not in the program) about exponents.
... I create entirely unique geometric lace patters... I am also like both of my
grandmothers, who used math to run every aspect of busy domestic lives, including sewing, knitting, and crochet.
Math was my favorite subject in all of school.
In middle and high school I took advanced math classes. I was 1 of 2 girls in my high school classes. I was not intimidated by being in a class of boys. But I was too shy as a high school student to to go the university for calculus so I waited until College.
Interview
This one (image) kind of encompasses I would say, flourishing during different periods of my life in elementary school. In 4* grade we had those timed (math) tests and I just loved taking those.
I went outside to recess after a math challenge class and I was sitting on the swingset with one of my friends and I was like We just learned about this thing and it was called exponents!
Do you know what exponents are? No, she said. We were laughing and talking and swinging on swings and it seemed like the most natural easy thing in the world.
Im from a family of women and men who use their hands in their work. I know how to count, I know how to create a pattern, I know how to measure I know how to do ratios. Im engineering but not an engineer anymore.
As you probably know, many engineers (have) math as one of their best subjects, even more than science.
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Contextual Critical Juncture 2: Playing and Doing
The case study participants described the importance of play in the form of games, puzzles and making and doing (Table 8). This play CCJ spanned disciplines and informal and formal settings. The participants expressed these forms of play increased their learning and provided enjoyment and a sense of community. At times, participants were denied the opportunity to play, as highlighted by one of the participants responses and image, but this did not take away the desire for and actual need for play in all settings of the participants academic and professional careers. Literature on play is most often associated with preschool and younger children. However, current maker movements are gaining attention in public and academic settings. Access to this type of experience in both formal and informal settings was critical for participants across many ages and settings.
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Table 8: CCJ2
Participant
Janelle
Jessica
Melanie
Image
I Yellow 0 1 1 s r Honev Marmalade i
Peter
Jane X X
X
Alee
Marmite

Marmalade

15
15
18
21
C aption
I loved doing logic puzzles in elementary school. Problem solving is something that I feel Im quite good at.
When I was a child I asked for an Erector Set for Christmas several years in a row, but I was told no. My mother thought that I would injure myself!... I wish I had been allowed to explore this interest more as a child. I still love building and creating things.
In my mind, every kid in the world knew that these were delicate... I loved to take them out of their boxes and look at the intricate structures inside,
Interview
This is, this is something that has always been an interest.
I think it was maybe 5th grade when I first got introduced with these specific type of logic problems, and I you know, when Im at the ariport I still tend to take puzzles and do them cause I enjoy them... its just something always enjoyed.
I loved building... when I use physics today, I use it to build something. I build a product. I build something thats useful to somebody... Its gotta be creation for me. So I keep going down these paths where Im allowed to create.
Thats why Im here actually at this company is to build stuff.
Ive played with all manner of tubes. Ive gotten my dad s permission to smash one and listen to the pop and done all kinds of things with them, so the value that I was taught was play with it, check it out figure out how it works... wed go in the garage, and he had a variable voltage generator ... and my mom had just gotten these metallic com skewers... and he stuck one in each end of a hot dog and connected
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Table 8, contd
Participant Melanie, contd
Bethany
Image
C aption
We played board games or card games every weekend and sometimes during the week.
During the summer we played outside most evenings with the other neighborhood kids
Interview
positive and negative to cook the hotdog with his voltage generator (laughing)... I thought that was fun...
... part of it is, you know... being in a group, whether it is your family or your neighborhood kids, part of its competition... part of its social, getting along, you know whether its teasing or encouraging, so I think its social skills combined with competitive aspects of it probably...
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Contextual Critical Juncture 3: Music, Performance and Enjoyment Music, as performance, listening and in musical learning contexts was critical for the four case study participants (Table 9). The importance music had on the four individuals spanned ages and grade levels, and is still important to the participants in their current lives. However, at least one participant had to choose between music and engineering, and the importance of music to science and engineering was left to the participants to connect. One participant commented that for many engineers, music is important, and another commented on the part music played in her STEM magnet school. Music could be a largely under used resource in experiences that are important to girls and women and the STEM education and experiences.
In literature, there is some reference to the mathematical nature of music, such as fractions, scales and number lines, but these participants described a different relationship with music. It was more than merely an extension of mathematics or engineering, but an endeavor that provided them with a way to classify information, organize their thinking and build confidence.
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Table 9: CCJ3
Participant
Janelle
Jessica
Melanie
Image
C aption
Music has always been a big influencer. In high school I wanted to pursue music in college. When I applied to
___the form asked for 3
interests. I listed music, engineering, and then history, because those were things I was interested in.
I remember loving it (STEM magnet school). They had a particular emphasis on music, and I recall associating keyboard lessons with math.
From early childhood, I listened to classical music, As I grew, I learned that math and science are important to the composition and performance of music, but they dont fully describe or encompass it. This awareness helped me make connections between math and science and other areas of learning.
Interview
They put me as music, and I thought well I dont like math anyway, so theres no reason to do engineering ... music was a driving force, but at the same time in this instance, I was kinda forced to go down one path, because of uh,administrative decisions that I didnt really have control over and because of my lack of enjoyment of math I just went with it and didnt think anything of it..
... I remember in particular there was a lot of music, and I have very clear images of the music program... I just got very absorbed to that culture and I enjoyed it and I had a really good experience... the music part was very much a game... I loved going to school...
... in my life there is a high value placed on how things work, how things go together... by learning classical music from birth to the present, I learned how to listen for different
instruments... And so... I learned that um the skill of cataloguing and experiencing things so you can make a decision or judgment was valuable.
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Table 9, contd
Participant
Bethany
Image
C aption
There was always lots of classical music in our home... I was a very good clarinetist and belonged to the Honor Band in Elementary School. I took piano in elementary and high school. I was not very good but I loved to play, even into college.
Music sequences and melodies organize your brain and memorizing it helps you memorize other things.
Interview
... as you have already probably found, many engineers come from a music background... I mean I talk with women engineers all the time... we talk about you know how did you get here so I know that both (music and math)., those are common threads...
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Contextual Critical Juncture 4: Communities of Faith
Three of the four participants counted faith and faith communities as critical to their science and engineering experiences (Table 10). The faith and faith communities described in interviews and represented with images and captions were various forms of Christianity.
Faith and faith communities provided a pathway of service and making a difference, a view of oneself as able to endure and overcome difficult problems and that support from God and others was available. However, one participant discussed her faith community as a source of difficulty in how she viewed herself and other women in relationships, working environments and positions of leadership.
There is a public discourse that often situates faith and faith communities as antagonistic to science and scientific discourse. There is a dichotomy between faith and science that is often placed as a for or against position that may not allow for the complexities and importance that women in this study expressed related to their STEM education and experiences.
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Table 10: CCJ 4
Participant
Jessica
Melanie
Image
C aption
I picked the church to represent culture. In this case, my husband comes from a conservative church culture that does not allow women to lead. They take this to the extreme that a woman cant lead off a hymn (even if it starts with a soprano part), and cant teach boys over the age of 12. Not everyone in the church believes this, but this is a persistent influence in my life.
One of my reasons for taking this job involved continuing my research into places where engineers can make a difference. I only met one engineer while in Africa... His primary work was as a missionary, which related to another reason I took this job. As I studied this missionary-who-used-to-be-an-engineer, I realized that I had far more common with him, vocationally, than I did with my career-engineer parents. Meeting this former engineer had a big influence on my drive to be an engineer-who-makes-a-difference. I have kept the make a difference part, but not the engineer part.
Interview
... you know women cant, women cant, women cant, women cant over and over and over- theres none of those rules on men. And they say... that they dont intend that to extend to the secular world, but it does, it definitely affects the psyche when you see it
... Im a follower of Christ and I desire to use that productively. I still have a strong call on my life to be a missionary. And that is part of my language of me... I wanted to leave home, I went to a largely undeveloped country because I wondered what do engineers do there? I saw it and I was like that could be a very gratifying place to be an engineer... meeting that engineer made me realize too, Im not going to stop being an engineer. I thought these are my people whether or not I call myself an engineer.
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Table 10, contd__________________________________________
Participant Image C aption
Bethany
Church was a constant in my life. Mom and Dad were teachers and leaders and in the choir.
I had some nice Sunday School teachers and youth group leaders. I developed my own faith in high school. Since I believed that things were not impossible, but that with prayer and hard work, anything could be accomplished, I never felt like a failure or that something was too hard.
I never felt alone.
Interview
... you know whats in your heart part of it, and so mine was very positive, and open and taught me to seek my own path... and my parents were the same way, too, they werent oppressive that way... faith dynamics, thats separate from faith, that s more... you know churches and stuff...
I mean fortunately, I didnt grow up in the south, or you know, or certain denominations, where people would have more difficulty. So for me, it still is, a way to resolve problems, and issues and work through them and put things in perspective.
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Contextual Critical Juncture 5: Interpersonal Interconnectedness
Intersectionality has been documented in the literature as the complexities and experiences women live related to class, race and gender as a matrix of oppression (Collins, 2000). Borrowing from the idea that there is complexity and various expressions of race, class and gender that women face, interpersonal connectedness is used here as a model of the complexities women experience related to bias and stereotypes, supports and challenges and their appearance as a Contextual Critical Juncture. Intersectionality is used to describe the five Contextual Critical Junctures in context to each other.
All participants represented and discussed complexities within themselves and from others in their community (Table 11). These intersections occurred regarding participating as a female in male dominated spaces and what the participants brought to these experiences that they had to either express or deny in a variety of circumstances ranging from k-12 schooling to work environments. Of note is the role that appearance played for two participants. They expressed a difficulty in being able to be fully expressed-their own words- in their appearance and in how they were perceived as able to do their jobs. If one wore a skirt, there were comments about being unsafe or not being able to do quality research. The women in the study expressed a discomfort or unknowing of how to do their work and be themselves. One participant described a painful experience where she judged another female in the way that she had been judged based on her appearance. This occurred even with the difficulty that being judged brought to the participant that she described numerous times in her interview.
Related to participation, two participants expressed that they were denied participation in certain classes or did not participate fully. Each participant expressed having
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to learn how to navigate participation in various endeavors that caused them to have to pick and choose how to present themselves in dress, actions and reactions with peers and supervisors. The call for more underrepresented people, including females, to take STEM courses and pursue STEM careers, is continually made from public and academic sources. There is abundant literature on pipelines to STEM educational opportunity and STEM careers, but this literature largely ignores the intersections girls and women must navigate and choose from when entering and exiting these pipelines.
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Full Text

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MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE: A QUALITATIVE STUDY PROVIDING CONTEXT OF WOMEN'S STEM EXPERIENCES THROUGH VISUAL REPRESENTATION b y HELEN LOUISE DOUGLASS B.S. University of New Mexico, 1991 M.A., Colorado Christian University, 1996 A thesis submitte d to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Education and Human Development Program 2016

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2016 HELEN LOUISE DOUGLASS ALLRIGHTS RESERVED

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ii The thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Helen Louise Douglass has been approved for the Education and Human Development Program by Bryan Wee, Chair Geeta Verma, Advisor Alan Davis Rene Galindo Date December 16 2016

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iii Douglass Helen Louise (Ph.D., Educational Research) Making the Invisible Visible: A Qualitative Study Pr oviding Context of Women's STEM Experiences Through Visual Representation Thesis direct ed by Associate Professor Geeta Verma ABSTRACT This study examines what four case study participants identify as important in their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. These experiences represent both formal and informal scenarios from many disciplines and ages. Participants collect ed digital images, captioned them and completed an interview. From the data, a Contextual Critical Junctures framework was developed and five Contextual Critical Junctures are discussed. The results suggest an interconnectedness between experiences, cont exts and relationships that provide more depth to STEM and gender equity research. The form and content of this abst ract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Geeta Verma

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iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This work emerged in large part through the suppo rt, encouragement and expertise of my advisor, Dr. Geeta Verma, and my committee chair Dr. Bryan Wee. My committee members, Dr. Alan Davis and Dr. Rene Galindo also provided their support, always challenged me and helped me improve and clarify my thinkin g. Transitioning from a practitioner to a researcher requires time and a community, as well as an opportunity to experience actual research projects. I want to thank my advisor, Dr. Verma, for including me on her projects and releasing more and more resp onsibility to me as I improved as a researcher. I also want to thank Dr. Kara Mitchell Viesca and Dr. Maria Araceli Ruiz Primo for hiring me as a graduate assistant on their projects and allowing me to see the research process and participate in those com munities. Thank you to Dr. Julie Oxenford O'Brian and Sherri Ahmadi for their friendship and support as fellow students on these projects. My professors provided the great privilege to learn in a community that opened new worlds to me and my fellow stud ents. I would like to thank them, and my fellow graduate students, for the many conversations and thought provo king ideas that were discussed. I thank Dr. Boni Hamilton for her wisdom and expertise and the constant reminder to find a true inquiry for my study. I also thank Dr. Madhavi Tandon for her laughter breaks and her deep generosity to those who follow her in this process. I am pleased to call Boni and Madhavi frie nds beyond our student status. The Sandra K. Abell Summer Research Institute for Gra duate Students allowed an intensive time of mentorship and "cr itical friends" for those of us in the program. My bruised arm was a testament to the "feedback" award I received. I thank the students and

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v professors of the 2013 class for their support and f riendship, as well as the incredible examples of sch olarship, service and teaching. The Jhumki Basu Scholars brought together those of us who work in equity and ethics to mentor and support us. A special circumstance regarding the Abell scholars program was getting to meet authors of papers I had written very early in my program of study. A special circumstance regarding the Basu Scholars program was the first book review I wrote for an early class was one Jhumka Basu had written. I am so honored and hu mbled to be included in these groups that continue the work of these talented, dedicated women whose time in the science education commu nity was so short yet so rich. Throughout my years as a teacher, the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Acheivemen t) program led by Karen Hunter, was a refreshing, energizing group to work with. The students of all ages were so inspiri ng and always taught me things. Thank you to Karen, Gail Becker and Dr. Valerie Otero for the honor and respect they modeled for me r egarding working with younger students. Elementary students and experiences are not "secondary light" as these folks have said There are too many friends and family members to name individually, but I thank a few here. Thank you to Linda Smith and the D illion family for buying me groceries and feeding me. Thank you to Michael and Lisa Burk for giving me a computer, letting me work at their air conditioned house and letting me ship books on their Prime account before I got mine. Thank you to Jennie Gers hater Lopez for helping me move, physically, to bring this work to life. Thank you to Devira Chartrand for nursing me back to health after my hospitalization. Thank you to Michelle Cuthbertson for her abiding friendship, spiritual direction and her forma tting assistance. Thank you to Scot and Kathleen Douglass for

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vi always being for me and mentoring me into more. Thank you to Michele Evans for inspiring me with her words and life. Thank you to Lynda Hinds for seeing this before I did, travelling with me to conferences, and offering her home as a respite. Thank you to Sarah and Jeff Wegert Sarah as a friend and colleague, and Jeff as a friend, who provided work space and their home for breaks and mini retreats. Thank you to Susan and Keith Julien for fri endship, family and dinner conversation. Finally, I thank my family and entire network of friends who always asked about my work, and waited patiently for me to finish, cheering me on. There is absolutely no way I did this on my own, and thank you all for everything large and small that you provided for me. I hope this work helps to make visible the stories of those who have not always been seen and heard, and sets the ground work for my future and continued work to include those who have not always b een i ncluded in STEM endeavors. I especially want to thank my mother and grandmothers who did not always have the opportunities that I ha ve, but found their way.

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vii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I: THE PROBLEM ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 1 Introdu ction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 1 Theoretical Framework ................................ ................................ .............................. 5 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ .......................... 7 Policy ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 7 Participation of girls in STEM ................................ ................................ ............... 9 Teach er Preparation and Practices ................................ ................................ ....... 10 STEM Workforce ................................ ................................ ................................ 11 Purpose of the Study and Research Questions ................................ ........................ 13 Overview of Methodology ................................ ................................ ....................... 14 Participants and Sampling ................................ ................................ ................... 14 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 15 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 16 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ......................... 16 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 17 II: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................ ................................ ........ 18 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 18 Institutional Theory and Policy ................................ ................................ ............... 19 Feminism and STEM Education ................................ ................................ .......... 21 Feminism, Identity and Reformed Pra ctices ................................ ............................ 25 Student Identity ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 25

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viii Teacher identity ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 32 Feminism and STEM Workforce ................................ ................................ ............ 34 FeministStandpoint Theory and Policy ................................ ................................ ... 38 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 40 III: METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ 42 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 42 Participants and Setting ................................ ................................ ........................... 43 Target Population and Sample ................................ ................................ ................. 43 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 47 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 49 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 49 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 53 Establishing Trustworthiness ................................ ................................ ................... 54 Delimitation and Limitations ................................ ................................ ................... 55 Role of Researcher and Ethical Considerations ................................ ...................... 57 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 58 IV: FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 59 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 59 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 59 Bethany ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 61 Janelle ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 65 Jessica ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 67 Melanie ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 70

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ix Discussion of the Interse ction of Time and Context ................................ ........... 73 Contextual Critical Junctures and Sense Making of Women's Experiences ....... 76 V: DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS ....................... 94 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 94 Intersection of Time and Type of Represented Experiences ................................ ... 96 Relationship Intersections ................................ ................................ ........................ 97 Contextual Critical Junctures ................................ ................................ ............. 100 Recommenda tions as a Result of This Study ................................ ........................ 107 K 12 Teacher Preparation and Practice ................................ ............................. 108 Methodological Implications ................................ ................................ ............. 109 Education to Workforce Continuum Missed Opportunities ........................... 110 Recommendations for Future Research ................................ ................................ 111 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 112 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 114 APPENDIX A: Interview Protocols ................................ ................................ ........................... 121 Initial Interview Script/Protocol 1: ................................ ................................ .... 121 Interview Protocol 2 ................................ ................................ .......................... 122 B: Glossary of Terms ................................ ................................ ............................. 123 C: Participant Images and Captions ................................ ................................ ....... 124 Jane lle ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 124 Jessica ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 128 Melanie ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 133

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x Bethany ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 139

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1 CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM Introduction Despite national scale efforts to promote gender and ethnic diversity in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workforce, women continue to be underrepresented. Policy and institutional demands continue to be made without strong evidence of what works and without clear suggestions for how to carry out this task. For example, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards clearly state that all US students should be prepared to meet the demands of the global workforce, especially in STEM fields. Common Core stand ards focus on achievement scores in literacy and math as well as assessing college and career readiness (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2014). The aim of the NGSS is to prepare all students for college and career readiness, as well as being inform ed consumers of science (Lead States, 2013). Ten states have adopted the NGSS which are based on the National Research Council's (NRC) Framework for K 12 Science Education ( Lead States, 2013). In addition to the focus on preparing students for STEM caree rs, national standards promote a need for students to develop scientific literacy. Scientifically literate citizens are able to participate in the decision making proce sses in a democratic society. Other policy decisions such as the federal Race to the Top initiative (RTTT) uses the Common Core state standards and the assessment tools that go with them to incentivize states and their educational reform efforts. In particular, reform efforts aim to improve the diversity of the STEM workforce by promoting wo rkforce readiness for all students. This

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2 includes students that are historically underrepresented in STEM occupations such as ethnic minorities, females and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Girls make up approximately 50% of students in US K 12 schools but women of all ethnicities continue to be underrepresented in the STEM workforce more than any other group ( Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). Significant financial investments are made by both federal and state governments for creating colle ge and career readiness for all students in STEM fields. For example, the 2015 US presidential budget proposal included over $150 million dollars to improving STEM teaching and learning to prepare a more robust and diverse STEM workforce including gender d iversity ( STEM Education for Global Leadership, 2014) However, very little information about the types of experiences that lead to successful college completion and STEM workforce success for women and other underrepresented groups is associated with suc h legislation and funding. By investigating experiences (beginning as early as elementary school) of women in the STEM workforce and those who have left the STEM workforce, I seek to establish an understanding of contexts that can promote gender equity on a broad scale. The research reported here uses feminist and institutional theoretical perspectives to build a framework for understanding and reporting Contextual Critical Junctures that have led to the success of women in the STEM workforce. In the 2010 American Association of University Women (AAUW) report "Why so Few?" on female underrepresentation in STEM, the authors use the term "STEM" to refer to the physical, biological and agricultural sciences, computer and information sciences, engineering, engi neering technologies and mathematics. They use the terms "STEM", science, technology, mathematics, scientific and engineering interchangeably. For this paper,

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3 I will follow the AAUW's use of the term STEM. I will use girls when discussing k 12 education women when discussing workplace, and females when researchers do not distinguish between girls and women. A glossary of terms and definitio ns is included in the appendix. I propose interrogating contexts of female's experiences to further the conversati on and broaden the research base on females and gender equity in STEM. These contexts will include their k 12 experiences, their informal STEM experiences, their relational experiences and any other self determined experiences they deem as critical to the ir persistence in or exit from the STEM workforce. To move the conversation forward, connections must be made between k 12 educational policies and their claims to increase the STEM workforce readiness. Investigating the contexts of females who have persi sted and exited the STEM workforce, which include their k 12 experiences, can be a starting point. This starting point is useful for articulating and enacting how educational policies could facilitate more gender equitable teaching and learning practices and provide useful information on STEM workforce exit or persistence. Employing frameworks and methodology that include women in the knowledge production can further the conversation on gender equity and STEM. Traditionally, women have been excluded from knowledge production, especially related to STEM ( Lorber, 2012). Knowledge production includes what is considered relevant or meaningful knowledge, and how this knowledge is communicated and represented ( Lorber, 2012). Historically, access to knowledge p roduction in STEM disciplines has been limited to mostly males. Additionally, there have been hierarchies of STEM disciplines and the resulting knowledge production

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4 from these disciplines. Some STEM subjects have been considered hard sciences such as phys ical science and engineering, and others soft sciences, such as biology and environmental science ( Lorber, 2012 ). Including women as active participants in representing the contexts of their experience will further knowledge on what encouraged or stifled their STEM education and career attainment. Contextual Critical Junctures (CCJ) is what I am calling the framework that emerged from a pilot study, literature and data analysis The three elements of CCJ are: 1. t he experience can be articulated and represent ed 2. t he experience had an impression on the participant's view of themselves or th eir abilities 3. t he participant may or may not have had control over the situation. In other words, the framework consists of experiences, impressions and agency. Upon analysis five CCJ emerged from the data collected in this study. These are more than merely the important experiences participants identified or when the experiences occurred. The CCJ are my interpretations of participant experiences in the context of this study These five Contextual Critical Junctures include a dynamic nature and meet the three elements of expe rience, impression and agency. The participants shared stock digital images, or took digital images with their own devices. Participants identified for themselves what has been important to their STEM experiences, from both their p ersonal and professional lives. The examination of experiences that participants identify and make visible and those that have been identified as Contextual Critical Junctures will move the body of research beyond differences in females and males in STEM education and careers that has occupied

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5 much of the research literature on gender and STEM. Examining experiences and those that align with the CCJ framework will help make co nnections that lead to recommendations in k 12 educational policy enactment, and include women in knowledge production. Examining experiences and those that align with the CCJ framework will also help make connections between experiences and STEM workforc e persistence or exit. Theoretical Framework Two theoretical perspecti ves will be used for this study Standpoint Feminism and Institutional Theory. Standpoint Feminism states that women and their knowledge building have been excluded from what is acce pt ed and included as knowledge especially in STEM disciplines ( Lorber, 2012) Standpoint Feminism begins from the premise that women and their experiences of their situations in the world are a starting point for knowledge creation that is more inclusive an d robust. Standpoint Feminism takes this further by saying that when women and their experiences are acknowledged, it then provides a Standpoint for social change (Harding, 1991, 2004 ). Tenets of Standpoint Theory include strong objectivity and strong r eflexivity. Strong objectivity is a counter to the prevalent assertion that sciences are objective and value neutral. Strong objectivity, as an asserti on of Standpoint Theory states that by including more stories and experiences of oppressed or underrep resented groups, the objectivity is actually increased, more robust and nuanced (Harding, 1993). Strong reflexivity is related to strong objectivity in that Standpoint Theory encourages one to critically examine their social position and how this is influe ncing the research questions, the interaction with participants and the analysis of results. This strong

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6 reflexivity is seen as an asset and tool to help analyze data and interpret results with participants' experiences being important (Harding, 19 93; Hes se Biber & Leavy, 2007). Institutional heory is a way of looking at both the educational and work systems that girls and women occupy. Meyer 's (1977) foundational work in Institutional T heory and education states research must examine the effects of educa tion as an institution, not merely at a classroom level, organization or peer groups. Students and non students can experience immediate socialization, conferring of status and the recurring effects of the legitimacy of status that is conferred by the sch ool as institution. Expanding on Myers work, Hanson (2001) and Scott (1995) offer both a definition of institutions and pillars that are consistent among institutions. Scott states "institutions consist of cognitive, normative and regulatory structures an d activities that provide meaning to social behavior. Institutions are transported by cultures, structures and routines and operate on many levels" (p. 646). Hansen (2001 ) breaks down this definition that is mainly conceptual in nature to include the three pillars of institutions. These are the cognitive, regulative and normative. The cognitive pillar is the filter in which people view reality and provides meaning to their interpretation of the world. The regulative pillar provides stability to instituti ons by determining actions through formal and informal rules that govern behaviors. Finally, the normative pillar places an emphasis on norms and values for the pursuit of valued ends and the legitimate means to achieve these ends. All institutions consi st of these pillars, and institutions can understand and shape change though steps that move forward, becoming more homogenized or trying for systematic reform by changing one or more components of th e institution (Hanson, 2001).

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7 The frameworks of Standpoi nt Feminism and Institutional T heory provide the structures to include women in knowledge production from their own experiences. They also provide structure for examining the contexts surrounding their experiences. Statement of the Problem Career and wor kforce readiness are goals of both Common Core state stands and Next Generation Science Standards (Common Core, 2014; Lead States, 2013). In addition, the federal policy Race to the Top has workforce and career readiness as one of its goals (Race to the T op, 2014). All three policies promote increasing diversity that includes economic, ethnicity and gender diversity related to workforce readiness and educational attainment. Common Core and RTTT seek to increase diversity especially in both STEM education al attainment and STEM careers (Race to the Top, 2014). NGSS also seeks to better prepare a STEM workforce, and in addition aims to increase the scientific literacy of all Americans. These policies are currently the most prevalent in influencing practice s in US k 12 schools. Policy In one of only two research papers on policy, diversity and STEM education, Rodriguez (1997) critiques the National Science Education Standards (NSES) framework that led to the current NGSS. He claims although there are good i ntentions, it is a dangerous discourse to keep the disparities hidden. Rodriguez calls this the dangerous discourse of invisibility. The rationale for wanting to increase diversity, including gender diversity, is no t given in the NSES framework.

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8 In much the same way, Common Core and RTTT claim a need to increase the diversity in the STEM workforce. This is one of the rationales for implementation. However, the policies 1. d o not make inequi table conditions explicit 2. do not describe what in equitable conditi ons are 3. make recommendations for increasing the equity in workforce readiness. In addition, workforce readiness is the focus while placing less emphasis on sci entifically literate students. NGSS expands on the NSES framework from which it originated and w hich Rodriguez critiqued. They include case studies and teaching and learning implications for diverse groups, including girls, in their background information on how the standards were developed (Lead States, 2013). However, they are not tied to either Common Core state standards or RTTT initiatives. With over 4 billion dollars devoted to RTTT initiatives that in part promote increasing gender diversity in the STEM work force (RTTT, 2014), there is no explicit framework for why inequities exist, or for th e types of inequities encountered. Neither is there a framework for promoting more equitable teaching and learning practices. In short, there is no context to the call to increase gender equity in K 12 STEM education and workforce preparation and particip ation. Including context to critically examine the goals of these policies is a vital step forward in furthering the conversation on gender equity and STEM education and careers and a contr ibution of this proposed study. In many elementary schools, with t he RTTT initiative and its precursor No Child Left Behind (NCLB), science has been cut to make more time for reading and math, subjects tested in the current high stakes accountability and testing environment that RTTT endorses

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9 (Griffith & Sharmann, 2008; Froschauer, 2006; Center for Education Policy (CEP), 2006). If students are not taught science and do not have exposure to scientific ways of thinking in their formative years due to focusing exclusively on literacy and mathematics, both boys and girls ar e not able to begin preparation for scientific literacy and workforce readiness. Participation of girls in STEM Regarding girls and STEM education, there has been progress in narrowing the gender gap (AAUW, 2010; Blickenstaff, 2006; Brotman & More, 2008; Riegle Crumb, King, Grodsky & Muller, 2012). In elementary years, boys and girls equally report liking and participation in hands on STEM lessons (George, 2006; Baram Tasabari & Yarden, 2011). For example, more girls are scoring in the proficient and adv anced ranges in math tests, an area that in the recent past girls were outperformed by boys. Also, more girls are taking math and science classes in secondary school than in recent history. A factor in girls' k 12 STEM participation is the environment in which they learn. The AAUW (2010) has reported in areas that have traditionally indicated success in STEM careers, such as advanced mathematics placement and spatial skills, boys outperform girls. However, with an environment that allows for experiences using materials and spatial activities, girls' skills improve. Girls' performance on high stakes tests in mathematics improve when messages about who is capable and can succeed in math and engineering includes both girls and boys. Traditionally and his torically, STEM subjects have been stated as for boys, or that boys are good at them. For example, boys are good at math, and girls are good at languages has been a message given to boys and girls. (Correll, 2001; 2004) examines this phenomenon and discov ers that boys and girls assess what they need to be successful differently. When boys

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10 and girls assess math success, boys overestimate their ability compared to performance and girls underestimate their performance. When they are asked to assess what is needed for success on a gender neutral nonsense subject that was made up by the researcher, both boys and girls assess their abilities and performance i nline with actual performance. These studies indicate that 1. l ack of early exposure affects both boys an d girls, but it may affect gir ls more 2. boys do better with certain experienc es and girls with others 3. positive identity messages i nfluence girls' STEM learning. These studies have contributed to documenting differences between males and females in dimensions of k 12 education. They have also contributed to a call for more inclusionary STEM education practices. They address differences between boys and girls in their exposure to classes and materials, their assessment and performance and how they see themsel ves as learners. Identifying and addressing differences has enabled some progress to be made in increasing gender equity. However, gender inequity persists. There is a need to expand on the studies of differences by inquiring more deeply in the contexts of experiences. Teacher Preparation and Practices One cannot discuss the growth and challenges of females and STEM without discussing their k 12 experiences which are guided primarily by teachers. Beginning with elementary teachers, research suggests tha t many teachers do not have confidence in teaching specific content areas such as science or engineering, and see themselves as generalists (Hargreaves, 2000; Rivoli & Ralston, 2009). Teachers experience ambivalence in their identities as they struggle to balance testing expectations, student needs and content knowledge and (Uphadhyay, 2009; Enyedy, Goldberg & Welsh, 2005). These experiences

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11 frame gender equity or inequity in how experiences, norms and values are enacted in the classroom (Zapata & Gall ard, 2007). This has an impact on girls particularly, since coupled with few elementary experiences, plus the likelihood of a teacher who may not express confidence in STEM subject matter reduces the opportunity for a learning environment co nducive to the ir participation. An example from the secondary teaching environment reveals positive intentions for gender equity do not always equal a reformed learning environment for girls. Teachers who call themselves reformed based and are well intentioned about of fering girls a rich learning environment still teach in a way that limits girls' participation and connection to the subject. For example, teachers continue to call on boys more and maintain an environment where boys had more access to the hands on materi als than did the girls (Calabrese Barton & Tan, 2008; Carlone, 2004; Zapata & Gallard, 2007). Teacher preparation courses that prepare new teachers, as well as professional development for practicing teachers are not specifically teaching about how to incr ease gender equity in STEM teaching (Wiseman, 2012). Although it is often stated as a goal to increase opportunities for all students and improve the readiness for underrepresented groups in the STEM workforce, specifics about teaching and learning for gi rls are not put in context or made explicit. STEM Workforce After examining policies influencing girls and STEM, participation by girls in STEM classes and the teaching practices and preparation of k 12 educators related to girls and STEM, looking at discr epancies in the STEM workforce is in order. As Riegle Crumb, King, Grodsky and Muller (2008) state, the more things change the more they stay the same.

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12 However, this is not a retreat into cynicism but a challenge to continue to examine the undeniable unde rrepresentation of women and STEM. It is also a call to continue to work to improve the status of women and girls in STEM education and careers. Discrepancies include both numbers of women in the STEM workforce and pay for their work (BLS, 2013). To begin with, in all fields of work, there is a pay gap between men and women. In the STEM fields, this is also observed (AAUW, 2010; BLS 2013). However, women working in the STEM fields tend to earn more than women in other fields. Although there is a pay gap STEM careers can provide women with earning potential greater than in other fields and a level of economic security. This is a connection to the k 12 policies mentioned earlier and their focus on STEM workforce career readiness. Women who are working i n STEM fields, particularly those working as scientists, engineers and technologists and women working in the high tech industry leave their jobs at a higher rate than their male peers. They also leave STEM jobs at a higher rate than their female counterp arts in non STEM fields (Freehill et al., 2009; Hewlett et al, 2008; Xu, 2008). Often, it is assumed that women leave work for child rearing and family purposes, but there are other reasons. Researchers have reported that not only do family responsibilit ies play a part in women leaving their STEM career, but the workplace environmen t and bias contribute as well. Family responsibilities are seen as a reason that women are underrepresented in STEM workplaces (Mason, Wolfinger & Goulden, 2009; Xie & Shauman, 2003). Both men and women in STEM occupations state family responsibilities could be a barrier to success, but women experience what Simard et al (2008) call the "family penalty" differently than men (p. 5). Women are more likely to forgo marriage or ch ildren, or delay having children.

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13 They also report being the primary caregiver when they are with a partner who also works full time. When women are with a partner who is also in STEM, Hewlett (2008) reports the man's career is given the priority over th e woman's. In a retention study of engineering, women and men stated interest in another career was a primary reason, but women were more likely to report time and family is sues, too (Frehill et al, 2008). These workplace findings are an extension of the environments and biases that influence the experiences of girls in their k 12 schooling. They focus on the differences in pay, numbers of females in STEM positions, and different reasons women exit STEM careers. They also highlight, as do the examples fr om k 12 education, that institutions have an influence of their own, in addition to the particular experiences of individuals that make up the institutions. To move the conversation of gender equity forward, more than differences must be examined. Differe nces alone cannot account for historical and current, persistent inequities that females experience (Riegle Crumb, King, Grodsky & Muller 2008; Guthrie, 2014). The research must include more on the contexts that females experience differences. Identifyin g contextual critical junctures is one way to move the rese arch on gender equity forward. Purpose of the Study and Research Questions The purpose of this study is to make experiences visible that are shared by participants and subsequently interpreted as C ontextual Critical Junctures via the development of a framework. This will provide a context to current gender gap research. Rather than adding to the numerous studies on differences when females loose interest or leave science and engineering fields comp ared to males, this study w ill examine women's experiences and make them visible to help identify the critical junctures and the contexts of

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14 this experiences. These experiences will be examined for potential k 12 policy and institutional implications and recommendations. The following research questions guided the study: 1. What experiences do women, who have obtained a STEM degree in engineering and physical science, identify in their STEM careers/education that led to persistence or exit from a STEM care er, and when do th ese occur? 2. How do these experiences contribute to the development of a Contextual Critical Junctures framework? 3. How do these experiences, interpreted as Contextual Critical Junctures by the researcher, contribute to sense making of women' s experiences? Overview of Methodology Participants and Sampling This study used qualitative methods. The target population for this study was women who work or have worked in engineering or physical science positions. Physical science and engineering co ntinue to have fewer numbers of women participants, and less growth compared with other STEM disciplines (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). Recruiting of participants occurred through professional organizations for women in STEM, outreach coordinators fo r STEM business and a university honors engineering program. Recruitment efforts included telephone calls, emails, meetings with key personnel in outreach and referrals. In addition, national professional organizations were contacted. Criteria for select ing participants included: 1. m ajoring in a science, technology, engineering or mat hematics degree program,

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15 2. currently working or have worked in a physical science or engineering occupation f or at least three years 3. willingness and ability to take or obtain dig ital images. Women who are working in STEM professions but do not hold a STEM degree will not be considered for this study. This study will include women who obtained their degree in the United States. Sampling technique was purposive sampling (Tash akk orie & Teddlie, 2003) Data Collection P hoto elicitation was used as a data collection method (Rose, 2012; Tinkler, 2013). Participants completed two interviews. The first interview was used to obtain consent, explain the purpose of the study and guide p articipants in obtain ing digital images. These images will be related to their STEM experiences in their personal and professional lives. Participants will be guided to consider images that relate to their participation or lack of participation in STEM e ndeavors. This may include taking classes, going on field trips, visiting work sites, etc. There is no limit to what a respondent may capture as significant. Participants will also be asked to caption their i mages once they are collected. In the second interview, participants explained the captions they gave their images using their own language and descriptors as they see fit. The second interview followed a semi structured format and included broad questions. For example, "What does this represent?" Participants also sort ed their images into a priori categories given by the researcher taken from literature that include d k 12 experiences, informal experiences, relational experiences and a category for "anything else?". During this interview, particip ants explained their captions and responded to broad questions related to the captions or images them selves. Both interviews were recorded.

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16 Data Analysis After the photo elicitation interview was transcribed, the transcripts, images and captions were anal yzed. Analysis methods included content analysis and frequency analy sis. The analysis methods include d content analysis and frequency analysis, both within each individual's responses and across the responses given by all participants. In addition, the framework for Contextual Critical Junctures emerged, which included experiences, impressions and agency, and 5 Contextual Critical Junctures were identified. Keats (2009) suggests overviewing all the textual and visual data collected and analyzing the vis ual and textual data separately. Once this is done, exploring the relationships between the visual and written data is possible. Both a priori and generative coding will be employed. For exa mple, a priori codes included themes reported in gender and STE M literature such as learning/working environment, connections with a mentor/positive role model and direct instruction/experien ces in content areas Significance of the Study This study identified Contextual Critical Junctures from women participants to a dd to the current research on gender and STEM. In particular by asking the participants themselves to make visible through digital images experiences they deem as critical to their STEM educational and occupational attai nment. The context that is provid ed will be used to make suggestions on how current k 12 educational policies could be enacted to align with the claim of wanting to increase gender diversity in the STEM workforce. An additional significance of the study is to provide a context for women participants to add to the knowledge base of gender and STEM, where according to Standpoint Theory their experiences and contributions have been absent or less visible.

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17 Summary Policies that are driving k 12 reform efforts related to preparing a more dive rse STEM workforce conflict with k 12 STEM education practices due to high stakes testing and commonly leaving science untouched in elementary grades despite this time that both boys and girls are interested and participate well. Teachers that work with b oth girls and boys, especially at the elementary levels, see themselves as generalists, and express low confidence in their content abilities. In addition, teacher professional development and preparation often do not address gender biases that can produc e negative stereotypes pertaining to girls and science and math education. Despite the increasing number of women in the workforce, women in the STEM workforce are still underrepresented, particularly in engineering and physical science. Women in STEM oc cupations are underrepresented to a greater extent than women in non STEM occupations. When they are in STEM fields, they leave them at rates higher than other fields, and report that the work environment, stereotypes and biases and family responsibilitie s contribute to their decisions. Institutional T heory and Standpoint Feminism are used as a theoretical framework. They allow for the framing of the study where women create d their own visua l representations that allowed analysis of context, not only diff erences between males and females. Differences are often reported on in STEM and gender research. From data analysis, recommendations are given for k 12 policy and practice changes to prepare a more gender equitable educational and workforce experience.

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18 CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction There is interest in girls' participation in STEM educational opportunities and in women and their STEM career choices. The interest includes both participation and non participation in educational exper iences as well as career choices. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has examined the education of girls in STEM fields as well as participation (or lack thereof) of women in STEM careers. In k 12 education, there has been progress made in the number of girls taking STEM courses and in their increasing scores on achievement tests. However, inequity persists as witnessed by decreased performance on high stakes tests and in the fewer numbers of girls taking advanced placement courses in ST EM subjects. These high stakes tests and advanced placement courses have been seen as instrumental in proceeding on to further STEM education and in choosing a STEM career. Differences in access and performance have been stated as a major reason for gende r inequity in the STEM workforce (AAUW, 2010). Gender inequity continues to be seen in the STEM workforce. Although women are both earning more STEM degrees in postsecondary education, and their participation in STEM occupations has increased, women are still vastly outnumbered. In engineering, physical sciences and mathematics occupations, only approximately 10% of their participants are women (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). This chapter focuses on the current body of literature related to girls a nd women and their STEM experiences both educational and in the workforce. The discussion will begin with institutional theory, and current policies related to k 12 STEM education. Next, the discussion will move to the history of science education and I w ill parallel it with a

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19 dis cussion of feminist movements t o establish is relevance for girls' education in STEM. I will then extend the conversation to workforce studies on women in STEM. Finally, I will conclude with recommendations connecting policy and practice with workforce readiness and the need for contextualizing women's experiences by identifying CCJ. Institutional Theory and Policy Historically, schooling is seen as an institution to socialize individuals and provide educational opportunities to create meaningful participation in society. Institutional T heory suggests that institutions themselves impact all those involved and not involved. Meyer (1977) brought forth the idea that schools themselves act as more then socializing the individual bu t as institutions with specific roles. He explored the idea that educational institutions are spaces for rites that transform the political, social and economic positions in society that far transcend an individuals' educational experience. Meyers goes o n to state that education as institutional rites transform "social roles through powerful initiation ceremoniesby creating new classes of personnel with new types of authoritative knowledge" (p. 56). These rites include promotions or retentions in grade levels, the gradu ation between levels of school or not a nd even how one is seen as a good student or a less able student. Other scholars have expanded upon his work that specifically rela te to educational policies. Hanson (2001) explores Institutional T he ory and educational changes. This is connected to Meyers work of schools exerting institutional influence. It also frames the desired outcomes of policies aimed at educational reform for all students. He defines reform as a major change leading to a res tructuring of core processes, programs and/or procedures. Hanson examines Institutional T heory to address conditions that make significant educational

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20 change difficult and under what conditions can significant changes actually take place. Building on Mey ers (1977) work, Hanson discusses what DiMaggion and Powell call an organization al field. An organizational field expands the entities that form an institution beyond merely school or work. A schools' organizational field includes accreditation agencies, teacher training and professional development, boards of education, legislatures, universities, parent groups and textbook and assessment producers. This ties in Meyers' claim that schools as educational institutions have influences that go beyond individ ual experiences and are tied to political, social and economic venues. An aspect of a schools' organizational field includes the teachers and what influences them. Teachers' influences include their own histories with various aspects of educational exper iences (including equity issues) and the experiences they create (or not) that promote equitable teacher practices for their students. This also includes teachers and their preparation and experiences with STEM content and how they create equitable opport unities and experiences for their students. Institutions that offer teacher education programs influence whether prospective teachers are building a STEM content background as well as learning gender equitable pract ices. Wiseman (2012) has examined the in tersection of policy, reform and teacher education. She identifies the impetus for changing teacher education which includes teaching diverse learners in a highly technical society, achievement gaps among diverse students and international comparisons tha t show US students not competing at expected levels in mathematics and science. She also links these concerns to students not prepared for success in the global workforce. As an example, she uses No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and its efforts to define a hi ghly qualified teacher. She also discusses NCLB's successor, Race to

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2 1 the Top (RTTT) and its emphasis on accountability as the two largest federal programs that a re driving teacher education efforts at the federal and state level. Wiseman (2012) notes tha t public opinion and political agendas drive reform and policies related to teacher education, with scant research on how these policies effect teacher education. Among her findings, s he notes that specific attention needs to be paid to the preparation of mathematics and science teachers to bridge the gap between content and pedagogical knowledge (including creating equitable o pportunities for all students). Institutional T heory in education provides the framework to analyze policies that tend to rely heav ily on improving student achievement test scores. Increasing student achievement on test scores may have little to do with workforce readiness compared to the effect schooling has as an institution. If current policies are claiming that increasing achiev ement test scores alone will increase gender equity in females' participation in STEM courses and careers, without examining the effects of schools as institutions, something is missing. Interrogating what women in the STEM workforce represent and talk ab out as important in their k 12 experiences, as well as examining the policies that are promoting workforce readiness beginning in elementary school with RTTT requirements will provide context to examine the possible influence institutions have in promoting or inhibiting gender equity. Feminism and STEM Education A brief history of western science is helpful when discussing research on females in both STEM education and STEM careers. It is also helpful when thinking about connections between institutions an d how policies that guide institutional workings are related to gender equity.

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22 The dominant paradigms in educational research and the natural sciences have included empiricism, positivism and postpositivism. A paradigm is the guiding assumptions and conse nsus related to a group of phenomena under study (Kuhn, 2012). Since the period in western history known as the Enlightenment, the positivist paradigm has been dominant in research and in the history of science. Briefly, the positivist and postpositivist paradigm is concerned with the objective truth and experimentation related to what is positively and objectively observed (Bredo, 2006) I intentionally use the word "men" in describing Kuhn's paradigm work, which is the word he used, and is a reminder t hat in the construct of paradigms and science disciplines in general, women were excluded form participation. The enterprise of the sciences were undertaken by a majority of European, (read white) educated men. This history of who participated and who was excluded in the sciences led to a major contribution of one branch, in particular, of feminism. Raising questions such as "What is science?" and "For whom?" and "Who says?" is a major contribution of Standpoint Feminism in the pursuit of knowledge format ion (Lorber, 2012) If those of a non dominant gender (and other underrepresented groups including ethnic minorities and people belong to a low socioeconomic status) were not included in the knowledge building and what is considered knowledge, it stands t o reason that the resulting science institutions and science education reflected the values and priorities of its participating members. The conception of western science and membership in of the resulting scientific community was almost exclusively the p rivilege of white European, educated males. It is apparent then it is full of the values and societal norms of that group of people. Feminism offers both critique and expansion on science and STEM education. The history of science education will be used as

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23 representative of STEM education, as it is a major component of what is now considered STEM education. In a review of literature on gender and science education, four themes have been identified specifically related to girls and science. Brotman and M oore (2008) organized their review of 107 research articles from 5 major science education journals and 2 journals that include science in gender in their scope. The time frame was from 1995 to 2006. Articles were chosen that included "girls", "gender", "females" and/or "science" in their title, abstract or key words and kept issues of girls or gender and science as the primary focus. Studies were included that focused on k 12 education, teachers in graduate programs and women and science if there was a direct connection to k 12 science. Single sex education and higher education in the sciences were not included, nor were editorials (Brotman & Moore, 2008). The studies were organized into four themes related to engaging girls in science: 1. A focus on equi ty and access 2. A f ocus on curriculum and pedagogy 3. A focus on reconstructing th e nature and culture of science 4. A focus on identity. These themes are roughly chronological, and are parallel to feminist movements and their priorities and contributions in incre asing gender equity in science and science education. Science education researchers who also adopted a feminist framework had different priorities in their research topics. These topics parallel the topics identifi ed by Brotman and Moore (2008).

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24 Feminism can be broad and have dynamic meanings. A general explanation of feminisms taken from Brickhouse (2001) states that "Feminisms are unique in their consistent focus on gender and the political commitment to changing those structures that have historically favored masculinities over femininities" (p. 976). The waves of feminisms and the four themes Brotman and Moore (2008) identified in the literature roughly correspond. Calabrese Barton (1997) identified waves of feminisms related to science education th at Brotman and Moore use to further categorize their four identified themes. Discussing waves of feminisms parallel to science education literature for girls is useful in understanding both contributions and f urther directions for research. First wave fem inists and feminisms of the 1960's in the United States, also termed liberal feminisms, were concerned with equity and access but did not examine or challenge inequitable structures. Moving from the theme of equity and access to that of curriculum and pe dagogy difference feminisms or second wave feminisms were looking at more than equity and access. They were interrogating inequitable structures that caused girls and their contributi on to be excluded or ignored. They wanted to examine ways of knowing t hat girls bring to science and mathematics. The third theme, that of changing the nature and culture of science roughly corresponds to third wave feminisms, which has a political and activist stance. Third wave and emancipatory pri ncipals also roughly co rrespond to the fourth theme, that of identity where intersectionality between and among race, class, gender, etc. is undertaken. The next section will focus on the research using feminism and identity, the fourth theme of research categorized by Brotman and Moore (2008).

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25 Feminism, Identity and Reformed Practices Identity is one of the four themes identified by Brotman and Moore (2008) in current research on gender and science education. It corresponds to third wave feminisms concerned with liberation and emancipation (Calabrese Barton, Tan & Rivet, 2008). Since identity is categorized as a current research focus and aligned with third wave feminisms, examining studies that consider identity is necessary in understanding and contributin g to research in gender equity. Identity is "fluid and constructed socially wi thin communities of practices" (Calabrese Barton, Tan & Rivet, 2008, p.75). It is who one is and who one wants to be. In the science classroom, as a community of practice, the authors quote La ve and Wenger (1991) that learning science becomes "a process of coming to be, of forging identities in activity" (p.3). Within a science classroom, there are many activities and processes for girls to form a science identity. Student Identity Students a re also given identities and positioned in science classrooms. The authors state that girls, and especially minority girls in poverty settings are positioned with less power in science classes (Calabrese Barton, Tan & Rivet, 2008). This is seen when teac hers call on girls less than boys for content questions and when they are not given as much attention by the teacher. Girls also do not have the same opportunities as boys to interact with materials. This leads to girls believing a science identity is no t compatible with their female gendered identity. Three practices were observed that increased the participation and engagement of the 20 girls in their ethnographic study in urban middle schools (Calabrese Barton & Tan,2008).

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26 The practices included cre ating their own signature science artifacts, such as songs, posters or musical raps that were outside of the assigned coursework. Another practice that increased participation and engagement in science by girls in the study was playing with identities. F or example, girls could try to be both good science students, but also cool and playful. This was accomplished when girls tried to be experts, included public performances and sharing of their work and interacted with the class on their terms. The final p ractice Calabrese Barton and Tan noted was that of negotiating roles with strategic participation (2008). For example, a student who claimed to love science and engaged in every extracurricu lar science field trip offered was labeled as a poor student in c lass, with behavior issues and a lackluster participation. This student was able to combine her love of science with her current behaviors by co opting the science class norms with her own behaviors. She accomplished this by still moving around the room, but now she was being a guide and expert for others to justify her classroom movements. Or she began gesturing and signaling to the teacher that she wanted to read or participate in discussions. This is similar to playing with identity, but allowed the student to keep both her "street" identity and her love of science as she participated in classroom norms, but with her own behaviors. The practices the girls authored most likely historically would have been marginalized in the science classroom or dismi ssed as not scientific, when held up to traditional views of science as masculine. Creating new identities that were sanctioned in the science classroom merged out of school resources and identities with those of school science. Girls in the study experi enced a new engagement and learning that allowed for being gendered and sci entific a new science identity.

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27 This study (Calabrese Barton & Tan, 2008) is important in providing examples of how classrooms have only supported a certain kind of learning that wa s not available to girls. When access to different learning experiences and the inclusion of all that girls identified with was allowed in the classroom, more equitable con ditions were created for girls. Zohar and Sela studied girls and boys in a secondar y physics classroom (2003). Their relied in part on the work of Carol Gilligan that critiqued the work of Piaget and Kohlberg as being the cognitive and moral development of males that relied heavily on rights and rules as opposed to the moral development of females that relies heavily on responsibility and relationships. This is related to how a girl and a boy assess t heir science and math learning. Girls have reported that they want to see a connection to the real world and connect with deep knowledge a bout the subject. A difference with girls and boys in the physic class included boys expressing satisfaction with learning formulae and girls expressed dissatisfaction with only formulae. Girls assessed learning physics in relation to a deep understandin g and connection to the world around them, instead of merely rights and rules that the authors describe as a traditionally male way of knowledge and cognitive developmen t (Zohar & Sela, 2003). Girls assess themselves as learning physics only if they can pu t it into relationship with a broader worldview where boys assess themselves as learning if there is consistency within physics concepts and they obtain the right answer. Girls want deep understanding and are likely to give up the idea of merely learning the right answer for obtaining a deep understa nding (Zohar & Sela, 2003). All but one girl did not embrace competitiveness that all but one boy did as part of a science identity. In addition, when transcripts were analyzed, girls valued thinking and

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28 under standing above merely obtaining a correct answer. They expressed a dislike with rote memorization and wanted to connect and think deeply and inquire. Girls who expressed a quest for understanding were not encouraged, and they realized that questions and a yearning for meaning were not part of the science practices they had to embrace. One girl responded that she didn't need to understand, just memorize (Zohar & Sela, 2003 ). In contrast, boys expressed enjoyment in deep thinking and inquiry as well, but o ver twice as many girls as boys expressed distress or criticism regarding their quest for understandi ng, and the degree of distress stated was deeper than distress stated by boys. Girl's science identity included wanting to see relationships within a larg er context and to have a deep understanding in an inquiry environment, even when they were chastised or misunderstood when asking for this experience (Zohar & Sela, 2003). This study by Zohar and Sela (2003) is important in the examination of differences b etween girls and boys within a traditionally male dominated subject, physics. It highlighted that even with girls and boys being successful, different concept s and meanings were important. Another idea related to girls and identity pertains to research on self assessment. Correll (2001) analyzed survey results of over 16,000 high school students from the 1988 National Educational Longitudinal Study. Correll examined the correlation between a student's math achievement and self assessment of their math ab ility by gender as well as the influence that self assessment had on persistence in STEM classes and careers. With equal mathematics performance, high school boys assessed themselves higher than high school girls did on perceived mathem atics competence. A higher self assessment of mathematics ability among students of equal abilities led to higher odds a student would take calculus and

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29 choose a STEM college major. Boys were more likely to enroll in calculus than girls with equal abilities, but with lower self assessment. Girls who took calculus in high school were three times more likely to enroll in a STEM degree program than girls who did not take calculus. Boys who took calculus were only two times more likely than boys who did not take calculus to en roll in STEM degrees. When a girl assessed her verbal abilities highly, even if her mathematics ability was also high, she was less likely to enroll in a STEM degree program. Correll argues that stereotype s of areas considered masculine mathematic s and S TEM degrees and careers and feminine verbal abiliti es, influenced self assessment. When Correll (2004) studied self assessment related to something that had no stereotypes associated with what is masculine or feminine she found further information. Males and females were assessed on their "contrast sensitivity ability" a fictional skill, and told that either this was a skill that men were more likely to have or that showed no gender differences. Although individuals in both groups of participants were giv en the same test and told that they scored 13 out of 20 in round one, and 12 out of 20 in round two, those in the male advantage group assessed their abilities and interests in pursuing a career in contrast sensitivity higher than women did. In the group that was told the skill was gender neutral, no gender differences in self assessment or futu re career interest were noted. Correll found that females and males held different standards for what was considered ability in the male advantage group (2004). Fe males assessed themselves as needing 10 points higher than males assessed themselves as needing in order to be identified as skilled. In the no gender differences group, males and females assessed what score was needed to be skilled as only differing by o ne point.

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30 The findings of Correll's studies (2001, 2004) suggest that in disciplines commonly referred to as masculine, such as STEM, males assess their abilities and interest in courses and careers as higher and females assess their abilities and interest s as lower. The findings also suggest that females assess the needed skill level to be successful in STEM courses and careers higher than males. Correll's studies contribute to the knowledge base by revealing that stereotypes about what is considered mascu line and feminine influence how girls and boys assess their performance. Differences in assessment and performance are related to stereotypes and may influence the choices made by girls in pursuing STEM education leading to more equitable STEM careers. In a study on girls' participation, Carlone (2004) researched a traditional physics class and a more hands on, reformed physics class. Girls want to be good students and choose classes based on maintaining a good student identity. This class choice may not include classes in reformed physical sciences courses if they perceive the class to be too difficult to maintain a certain grade point average, despite be ing interested in the subject. Carlone (2004) studied culturally produced meanings of science in a ph ysics curriculum that was designed to be more gender inclusive. She examined how these meanings reproduced and contrasted larger sociohistorical meanings of science and scientists and the ways girls participated within and against these meanings. In her study, Carlone (2004) questions whether a different kind of science would make for more interesting science for girls. A different kind of science would include values that are important to girls and connections to girls' lives and important areas of inte rest. This corresponds to the topic of

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31 changing the nature and culture of science (Brotman and More, 2008) rather than seeing girls' as deficient in th eir abilities to learn science. Carlone's (2004) ethnographic study of an Active Physics class of 28 stu dents (14 girls and 14 boys) was designed around different science curriculum that was promoted as more gender inclusive. The reform based physics curriculum that was being used was an attempt to broaden the participation of students and included inquiry based, real world situations to promote inclusionary practices. Carlone observed, that despite the intent of the curriculum, that for many girls, their identities of being a good student were not congruent with their identities of an active, science learn er. They resisted the new identity of a more broad definition of science and scientist than that of traditional masculine views in favor of the identit y of a good student. Girls maintained a certain identity, even with a more inclusionary curriculum, but so did their teacher. Carlone (2004) claims that the instructor reproduced many sociohistorical productions of science including science is hard and scientists or good science students have an innate ability. This is consistent with a male dominated and male production of the scientific enterprise. Although the instructor was committed to the more gender inclusive curriculum, it was enacted in a way that promoted science identities as someone with innate talent, naturally smart and male. This made the c urriculum inaccessible, alienating and/or uninteresting for many of the girls, and did not challenge the taken for granted assumptions about who is good at science. Girls did not resist these taken for granted identities of who is good at science unless i t challenged the ir identity as a good student. In Carlone's study, (2004) the instructor did not nurture forming a new science identity, and even the girls that identified themselves as hands on and an active learner, as the

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32 course came to completion, did not define themselves as a "science person" but as a "good student" who needed the class for credit. The science identity was in conflict of the good student identity in the context of achievement, and all the girls stated they only needed the class for a credit to look good on transcripts. Within the culture of achievement, a science identity was at odds with the identity of being a good student. The girls resisted a science identity for themselves, regardless of succe ss and interest in the class. These studies highlight many issues in the quest for more inclusionary and gender equitable science practices including the differences that are seen in boys and girls identities and in the teacher's replication of these differences. This leads to more researc h on teacher identity as it relates to gender equity. Teacher identity The topic of identity is important to science education from an educator's view. Science teachers' identities influence how they teach. A case study by Upadhyay (2009) documented how one elementary teacher negotiates the demands of high stakes testing, student achievement and self and professional identities. In the teacher's work within an urban environment, she had to alter her practices when administration would do walkthroughs. T he teacher was well aware and committed to more inclusionary inquiry practices that considered connections to real life situations, background knowledge and promoting deep understanding. These are practices that create meaningful learning for all students but especially girls. She had to constantly negotiate her social and professional identity and the commitment of her school's district to achievement on tests that do not measure these types of learning experiences. This type of environment is seen as p enalizing girls and other marginalized students and replicating a certain type and culture of science

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33 (Fusco & Calabrese Barton, 2001). This teacher negotiated and resisted a professional identity that was only focused on test scores. This is a difficult task to accomplish, especially in the early y ears of a teaching career. An example of pre service teacher education gender equity issues combined with early years of science instruction is shared by Bianchini, Johnston, Oram and Cavazos (2003). The autho rs argue that to teach science in equitable and contemporary ways, pre service teachers and their instructors need to enact and define the nature of science themselves. By doing this in their pre service education, first year high school science teachers brought these practices into their science classrooms. Rather than examine aspects of equity and the nature of science, these education students and then first year teachers adopted practices that lived out for themselves and their students. These practi ces included discussing historical representations of science, crafting science practices the pre service students would embrace related to participation and use of materials, and lowering the risk of failure in the learning environment. They also include d discussions and examples of biases, both implicit and explicit, to address texts and materials, assumptions about girls' and discourses used in the classroom. Likewise, professional development for practicing teachers needs to include examining biases a nd beliefs related to their teaching practices for gender equity. The first year teachers equitable and contemporary nature of science pedagogy and curriculum was in conflict with the identity they were expected to adopt relate d to state standards. Simila r to the teacher in Upadhyay's study (2009), state standards and achievement were not conducive to adopting an identity of teaching in an equitable and contemporary way to increase science learning for girls and other underrepresented students

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34 in science. Teachers have to negotiate their own identities around a high stakes testing environment that often does not value science teaching in favor of literacy and mathematics testing. The cases examined conflicted with the teachers desire and ability to implem ent equitable science teaching practices (Upadhyay 2009; Bianchini et al, 2003). To increase girls' meaningful participation in STEM classes and activities, and to combat stereotypes related to girls and subject matter traditionally seen as masculine is t o adopt a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed intelligence mindset. This belief can influence the learning environment that is created and deemed important in girls' participation and skill development that contra dicts stereotypes (AAUW, 2010). The studi es on teachers and their identities clearly indicate that there is a gap in teachers' recognition and intentions in enacting more equitable practices and their implementation in the classroom. These studies also show that teachers do not have specific tra ining or professional development in making their teaching more gender inclusive. They also highlight the differences in what is required by current educational policies in place related to achievement testing and career readiness, but conflict with equit able teaching and learning. Feminism and STEM Workforce With the current pervasive focus on k 12 policy and STEM workforce readiness, it is necessary to examine women and their STEM work. Women give several reasons for exiting their STEM jobs that are rel ated to the work environment. Hewlet, Buck, Servon, Sherbin, Shiller, Sosnovich, & Sumberg (2008) report that challenges in the work environment happen during mid career for many women. Women reported feelings of isolation, lack of support, extreme work schedules and ambiguity on what constitutes success and achievement as

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35 reasons for leaving. Xu (2008) reports that when women leave STEM research positions, it is to pursue research positions in other disciplines, not m erely exiting to stop working. Altho ugh explicit biases may be decreasing, women in STEM fields report implicit biases as having a negative effect on their workplace experiences. Implicit biases may be stronger or more severe than explicit biases (Valian,1998). For example, it is possible, as Valian states, for there to be a workplace value or belief of promoting gender equity. However, implicit bias about gender can still lead to negative stereotypes about women in math and science. Nosek, Banaji and Greenwald (2002) reported the both me n and women of all races and ethnicities hold implicit beliefs that associate male with scienc e and female with liberal arts. Another example of implicit bias relates to work performance stereotypes. When women are seen as successful in STEM careers that are considered male, they are less well liked and experience derogatory instances more than their male counterparts that are successful (Heilman & Okimoto, 2007). When a woman is disliked in the work environment, yet is successful, career outcomes are aff ected. Evaluations are lower and there are le ss organizational awards. Heilma n and Okimoto's (2007) research suggests that gender stereotypes about women can lead to bias in judgments of women in male dominated environments. Although biases can change, physical science and engineering fields in particular are still considered masculine. Life and health sciences are now seen as appropriate for women compared to 40 years ago (Farenga & Joyce, 1999 ). Among the disciplines in STEM, engineering and physical sciences still have the fewest number of women in their ranks and are deemed male dominated (Riegle Crumb, King, Grodsky & Muller, 2012; AAUW, 2010). In a national survey of men and women in

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36 all branches of engineering, in addition to women reporting havi ng parents in professional positions, and taking longer to make their decision to enter engineering, there were gender differences favoring men. These were seen in engineers with five or years of work, and increased with the length of time a person stayed in engineering. The gender differences favoring men were around salary and supervisory responsibility. All the women in the study and men with 16 20 years of experience endorsed the statement that there are more opportunities for men than women in engin eering (Jagacinski, 1987). In the physical sciences, Eccles (2007) reports women are underrepresented not due to gender differences in math or science aptitudes or in differences in self efficacy related to success, but rather due to gender differences in the values placed on occupations. Females want to see connections to the world and people in the world. The differences begin early in life and can reflect stereotypes about physical sciences. Providing better information and opportunities to experience physical sciences can lead to more informed decisions about going into physical sciences. Physical science and engineering careers are seen as less communally goal oriented than other non STEM careers. This perception of physical science and engineerin g not working with or helping others influenced women in their decision to enter and remain or leave these professions. Diekman, Brown, Johnston and Clark (2009) call for a an examination of how communal goals influence interest and decisions in physical science and engineering and as a direction to pursue related to increasing gender equit y in these occupations. Kinzie (2007) focused on female responses at two critical transitions in their education senior year in high school and two years into postsecond ary education regarding their intended major and future work. She was able to reveal differences among

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37 students and identified four distinct pathways pursued by women related to science and mathematics. Women were classified into four groups: 1. "Nevers" wo men who in the twelfth grade weren't interested in science or math and did not decl are a STEM major in college 2. "Departers" women who in the twelfth grade were interested in science and math then declared a non STEM major in college 3. "Joiners" women in the t welfth grade that were not interested in math or science but chose a STEM major in college 4. "Persisters" women in twelfth grade who had an interest in math or science and de clared a STEM major in college. Kinzie (2007) used discriminant analysis to identify the variables that were the best predictors of women's educational choices. These included academic achievement in mathematics, self concept, educational aspirations, science grades, academic behaviors related to science and math courses, course taking p atterns, science and math attitudes and beliefs and socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity at three crucial transitions in their education eighth grade, tenth grade and twelfth grade. Kinzie (2007) claims that by defining four distinct pathways, she moves beyond the "dichotomous outcome of women leaving or staying in the math and science talent pool" (Kinzie, p. 85). Her results show that women and girl's paths in science and math can be predicted from a variety of traditional psychological, behavioral an d achievement related variables at three points in their academic careers. Math achievement was named as the "critical filter" to admission to STEM majors (p. 85).

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38 There is a need to examine experiences of girls and women in relation to the systems and st ructure they work and study within. Research is needed to not only focus on the differences that women experience in the workforce but the contexts of what they see as being disadvantages and advantages in their persistence or exi t of STEM endeavors. The workforce studies reported in this literature review provide background on differences women and men experience the workforce. They begin to move beyond only differences and examine specific reasons for leaving or staying in positions. This is a move to more contextual research in gender equity. Echoing Guthrie (2014), in current recruitment and retention studies for women in STEM the v alue of context is often lost. Metcalf (2010) calls for active interrogation of values, assumptions and power structure s underlying STEM workforce research as they have historically been and will continue to be embedded within policy and programs related to girls and women in their STEM education and participation. Asking women to identify contextual critical junctures (CC J), which provides context to interrogate values and assumptions, is a contri bution of my proposed study. Feminist Standpoint Theory and Policy Standpoint feminist epistemology and research seeks to build knowledge and empowerment through the experiences of women (Hesse Biber & Leavy, 2007; Johnson, Brown, Carlone & Cueves, 2011). These experiences have often been invisible, but they are present (Rodriguez, 1997). Standpoint Feminism sees sources of gender inequality as a neglect of female perspectives and experiences in the production of knowledge as in the exclusion of women's voices and experiences from the body of knowledge in the sciences (Lorber, 2012). It seeks to build bridges to break down boundaries. It also accounts for multiple Standpoint s tha t can include racial, cultural and cla ss differences (Harding, 1993).

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39 Feminist researchers critique the policies and practices and the discourses that surround them related to women and STEM. The critiques include the discourse and practices of both educa tion and careers (Mansfield, Welton & Grogah 2014). They also critique the pipeline model itself that is used widely to argue for more STEM education and workforce readiness including increasing diversity (Metcalf, 2010). The pipeline model is by far th e most used analogy for increasing gender equity in both STEM education and careers for females and other represented groups but it is limited in providing contextual details on both flow and exit, as mentioned by Xu (2008 ). In Brotman and Moore's literatu re review (2008) and in the American Association of University Women's (AAUW) report on Women in STEM (2010), policy on gender and science is under researched. In the literature review of over 107 research studies over an 11 year period expressly related t o girls and science published in five top science education journals only two were related to policy. There were no studies related to principals and administrators views and policies related to experiences of teachers and students on gender and science a nd no studies related to policies and k 12 schoolwide structures that would enhance parental involvement and education rela ted to gender and science. Brotman and Moore (2008) summarize the situation with policy reform related to gender by saying "the fact that these school level and policy level issues are largely absent from the dialogue on gender and science in the widely read science education journals reviewed herein demands attention in itself;these issues are not prominently addressed in more narrow ly focused journals that explicitly address policy and school leadership either (p. 972).

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40 With a lack of research on policy, yet having k 12 policies in place that are driving STEM education and workforce readiness, it is time to further the conversation. This can be done by including a framework such as institutional theory to examine policy. Another way the conversation can be furthered is to provide the research participants an opportunity to comment on their k 12 experiences and examine it i n light o f k 12 policy claims. Summary The studies in this review have examined performance, assessment and learning environments. They have also examined themes in research on girls and STEM as well as the corresponding feminist waves. Workforce literature on wo men and STEM has also been examined. In general, the studies have focused on differences. These differences are between girls and boys in STEM education and men and women in STEM work. There have been insightful and important contributions related to eng aging girls in STEM, increasing academic performance of girls and increasing girls' access to STEM courses. In the workforce, similar issues have been addressed including work environment for women, persistence in a career and disparities in pay and e xpec tations for performance. However, focusing on differences has not explained the persistent gender gap in physical science and engineering careers (Riegel Crumb, King, Grodsky & Muller, 2012). This study will contribute to the literature on gender equity a nd STEM education and careers in 3 major ways. The first is moving away from examining differences to examining context. Examining context of the participants' experiences will further the conversation on gender equity. Literature on what I am calling d ifferences has contributed to changes in all the areas that Brotman and Moore (2008) describe in the four categories of equity and access, curriculum and pedagogy, nature and culture of science and identity. Yet with the persistent

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41 gender gap in the STEM workforce and the widespread focus on STEM workforce readiness in K 12 policy, it is time to move beyond differences to examine the context where perhaps differences ar e experienced and seen. An additional contribution of this study will be in the use of f eminist theory, particularly Standpoint Theory Standpoint Theory has maintained that females are largely excluded from knowledge production, especially in the sciences. In addition, Standpoint Theory promotes strong objectivity that includes women and th eir experiences. Since women and their experiences and knowledge production have historically been excluded or marginalized, including them as active p articipants in identifying the contextual critical junctures of their STEM experiences adds to the knowl edge base. With the exclusion and marginalization of women, what is seen as objective is not as robust as possible, a claim that Standpoint Feminism promotes with the idea of strong objectivity. A third contribution of this study is in the use of a visual methodology, discussed in the next chapter, in data collection and analysis that will actually make the experiences visible via digital media.

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42 CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY Introduction The examination of Contextual Critical Junctures (CCJ) as a framework, an d the experiences that women identify and make visible will move the body of research beyond differences in females and males in STEM education and careers that has occupied much of the research literature on gender and STEM. Examining experiences and the development of Contextual Critical Junctures as a framework will help make connections that lead to recommendations in k 12 educational policy enactment, and include women in knowledge production. This examination will also help make connections between experiences and STEM workforce persist ence or exit. Developing a Contextual Critical Junctures framework is important as a way of framing the realities of the participants. Contextual Critical Junctures as a framework works well with the photo elicitation visual methodology in making what is invisible seen. Make the invisible visible, or seen, helps to make sense of the life experiences the participants reported. This sense making was important for me as a researcher, and also for the women themselves, a s each participant expressed that this was the first time they had b een asked or thought about the various experiences that they made visible with images and that I later identified as a Contextual Critical Juncture. This study is built on the premise that women in engineering and physical science careers have experiences and Contextual Critical Junctures in their lives that have not been made visible. The purpose of this qualitative study is to make these Contextual Critical Junctures visible by having th e participants represent experiences themselves using visual methodologies. To this end, the goal of this study was to explore the images and

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43 accompanying interview and caption data for potential policy and institutional implications and recommendations. This exploration lead to nuances women identified that align with the a priori categories of k 12 experiences, informal experiences, relational experiences and any other experiences including post secondary and workforce items. It also led to the develop ment of the Contextual Critical Junctures framework used to better understand experiences, along with the time and contexts, participants identified. Participants and Setting Gender inequity is seen in fewer numbers of women than men pursuing and remaining in physical science and engineering positions. It is also seen in less pay than male counterparts doing similar work (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). Research has identified practices that are deemed important to increasing gender equity (Association of American University Women, 2010). What is less evident in the research are the contexts that women identify are important, or when critical experiences occur (Guthrie, 2014). This study examined what I am calling Contextual Critical Junctures (CCJ) t hat women themselves made visible from images and captions of their experiences. The CCJ will include more than only positive or negative experiences, but the context, the experience and what was critical about the experience that either moved the partici pant towards or away from STEM education or career attainment. Target Population and Sample The target population for this study is women who have completed an engineering or physical science degree. This degree could be at the bachelors, masters or Ph.D. level. Since current k 12 policies informing STEM education place a high importance on workforce readiness, women working in corporate settings will be the participants. This is not to say

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44 higher education and research positions are not important to exa mine, but with this study, to align with the value placed on workforce readiness in current educational policies, women working in corporate set tings will be the focus. Recruiting of participants occurred through professional organizations for women in eng ineering and physics, outreach coordinators for engineering and science businesses and university phy sics and engineering programs. Purposive sampling was used as the sampling technique. Purposive sampling is used in both qualitative and mixed methods res earch that involves cases "based on a specific purpose rather than randomly" (Tashakkorie & Teddlie, 2003). Specifically, purposive sampling was used to achieve representativeness and comparability. This sampling technique was useful for two purposes. O ne is selecting a sample that represents a broader group of cases as closely as possible. The other is to set up comparisons among cases (Teddlie & Yu, 2007). Participants were from engineering and science professions, either currently employed or who hav e left their occupation. Criteria for s electing participants included: 1. a degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematic s program 2. currently working or have worked in a science or engineering occupat ion for at least 3 years 3. willingness and abili ty to participate in this study by completing various activities (e.g. taking or obtaining digital images). Potential participants, who did not participate in the study for various reasons also refe rred other women to the study.

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45 From the recruiting sources over 20 women were contacted by the researcher, or themselves contacted the researcher. Sixteen potential participants were available for follow up by the researcher through phone and/or email or a personal visit. From these 16, seven women were select ed that met the criteria of working or having worked in a science or engineering occupation and potentially were able to complete the study based on time frame, family and work needs and study criterion. Of these seven, four were able to complete the s tudy in it's entirety. Participants from industry, rather than higher education, were recruited because the study focus is increasing a more gender diverse workforce as it relates to k 12 policy interests and classroom practices. A brief description of p articipants is given in Table 1. The four case study participants are women who range in age from 31 61 years old. Two participants have remained in their engineering profession and two participants have exited their professions. One exited an engineeri ng career, and one exited a physics research career. All participants chose a pseudonym. Stake (2006) recommends no fewer than four or no more than ten cases to maximize the benefits of case study research. These benefits include interactivity and uniquen ess (p. 22). The sample included multiple ages of women, with multiple years of either experience or years since exit.

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46 Table 1: Brief profiles of case study participants (using pseudonyms) Janelle is 31 years old and a practicing engineer. She has been in her current position for 3 years. She holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering. Parents remain married, father is engineer, mother is social scientist. Jessica is 37 years old and a former scientist for 10 years. She is currently a progra m developer for a design firm. She holds B.S. degrees in computer science and physics and a M.S./Ph.D. in physics. Parents divorced in her elementary years. Father is in sales and marketing, mother worked part time in a biology occupation Bethany is 61 years old and practicing engineer. She has been in her current position for 15 years and working as an engineer for 36 years. She holds a B.A. degree in French literature and a B.S./M.S. degree in mechanical engineering. Parents remained married during the ir lifetime. Mother was engineer, father was an inventor and engineer. Melanie is 45 years old and a former engineer for 5 years. She is currently pursuing a credential in coaching/spiritual formation. She holds a B.A. degree in electrical engineering an d an M.A. in counseling. Parents remained married. Father remarried after wife's death when Melanie was in her mid twenties. Mother (deceased) was an engineer, and father is an engineer

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47 Research Design A qualitative design was used for this study. Qual itative research is "an inquiry process of understanding" where the researcher develops a "complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, reports detailed views of informants, and conducts the study in a natural setting" (Creswell, 1998, p. 15). This approach makes knowledge claims based on the constructivist (Guba & Lincoln, 1985) or advocacy/participatory (Mertens, 2003) perspectives. In qualitative research, data is collected from those immersed in everyday life of the setting in which the study is framed. Data analysis is based on the values that these participants perceive for their world. Ultimately, it provides contexts for understanding problems. This study used a multiple case study design, is descriptive in nature and used qualitative methods for co llecting and analyzing data. Case studies are "an exploration of a bounded system' of a case or multiple cases over time through detail, in depth data collection involving multiple sources of information rich in context" (Creswell, 2005, p. 73). Stake ( 2006) explains that case studies are investigated because, "we are interested in them [case studies] for both their uniqueness and commonality. We would like to hear their stories" (p. 7). The multiple case study design or collective case study investiga tes several cases to gain insight into a central phenomenon (Creswell, 1998; Stake, 2006). In multiple case study design, the analysis is performed at two levels: within each case and across the cases (Stake, 2006). Analysis of this data can be a holistic analysis of the entire case or an embedded analysis of a specific aspect of th e cases (Yin, 1994). In this study, first, each case was analyzed using frequency analysis of how many of each type of experience occurred. Second, each case was analyzed using content analysis to

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48 see what type of experience occurred and what was included in the captions. Finally, all the cases were ana lyzed for the emergence of Contextual Critical Junctures using the development of the Contextual Critical Junctures framework. The development of the Contextual Critical Junctures framework came from a previous pilot study, and emerged from data in this study. Elements of a Contextual Critical Juncture, include: 1. t he ability to represent a nd articulate an experience 2. the experienc e made an impression on the participant's view of themse lves or their abilities 3. t he participant may not have had control over the impression or its impact. The Contextual Critical Junctures framework and its development is furt her discussed in chapter four Regarding photo elicitation, Keats (2009) suggests overviewing all the textual and visual data collected and analyzing the visual and textual data separately. Once this is done, exploring the relationships between the visual and written data is possible Rose (2012) provides guidelines for what codes could reflect when using photo elicitation data. These include if the data include inventories of material realities, representations of social interactions or identities and as objects whose meaning is ne gotiated in the c ontext of the interview. A priori categories given to help participants organize their images, as well as frequency and content analysis reflected these recommendations. The images were analyzed first to determine frequency and content. Then, the captions were analyzed for content followed by the transcribed photo elicitation interview data. The meanings participants gave their images and captions became more nuanced and clear upon negotiation in the interview

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49 process. I n addition to wh at photo elicitation data shows, being aware of what the data does not show is also important to consid er. Methods Data Collection After obtaining IRB consent, data collection included visual data in the form of digital images. These are images that parti cipants took themselves, or gathered from stock images found on the Internet. Using visual images has been part of research methods across many disciplines in the social sciences (Tinkler, 2013). Using digital images in research and presentations of rese arch is a newer endeavor, but is a powerful tool used by researchers and participants alike (Rose, 2012; Tinkler, 2013). Photo elicitation was used as a data collection method. Harper, (1986) defines photo elicitation as inserting images into interviews. By using photo elicitation, Schwartz states that participants respond "without hesitation" in the interview and the "interview strangeness" is averted (1989; p. 151 152). Photo elicitation was used to provide participants with the means to choose for the mselves experiences important to them. These experiences could be from any time in their life, and from any experiences. It differs from digital story telling in that one line or one story was not the goal; rather, participants' myriad experiences and wh at they chose to represent would help answer the research questions. The purpose of this study was not to derive one or more stories per se, but to contextualize lived experiences as Contextual Critical Junctures. Photo elicitation as used in this study provided the opportunity to make visible discreet experiences, that led to the researcher identifying the Contextual Critical Junctures and the deve lopment of a framework.

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50 Narrative methodology was not chosen for si milar reasons. The researcher did not wa nt to craft merely a narrative of experience, but to examine many experiences as discreet entities and the possibilities for change. Additionally, using photo elicitation as opposed to strict narrative research allows for the participant to speak freely a bout their experience related to the image, with a reduction in awkwardness that can come from merely answering questions or choosing where to start to answer the questions. The photo/image adds a depth that mere narrative research can't provide (Hurworth 2004). Although each methodology serves a purpose in various studies, photo elicitation best fits the research questions and theoretical perspective. Two interviews were conducted with each participant. The initial interview included meeting the partic ipant, and explaining the project, including examples of how to collect images for use in photo elicitation. In a simple form, photo elicitation is inserting a photograph or image into a research interview (Harper, 1986). This first interview established some initial trust between the participants and the researcher. In addition, obtaining consent and answering any questions occurred during this initial interview (Rose, 2012). Participants were given an explanation about the phases and sources of data c ollection. As an example, they were guided on how to gather images from various times and experiences in their lives. Employing visual methodologies encourages participants in having a broad range and a freedom to collect images they as participants want to collect (Hodgett s, Chamberline & Radley, 2007). After participants collected at least 10 images, they wrote a brief caption or description of their image. When this step was completed, the second interview occurred within two to four weeks of the init ial interview (Rose, 2012). During this semi structured

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51 interview, the images and the captions were discussed in detail and the interview recorded for transcription. Participants shared their images and captions via Word Documents or Google Docs. Emails and comments were also exchanged during data collection and analysis. The semi structured interview questions included questions that are broad. For example, questions in the interview protocol included 1. "What does this represent?" 2. "Why did you take thi s?" 3. "What is significant about this image?" 4. What would you like me to know about this image?" 5. "What did you not take?" 6. "Why did you not include certain images?" 7. "What categories would you create for your images?" From these broad prompts and the ans wers that were given, additional questions were pursued and developed further based on topics that emerged (Rose, 2012). In addition to captioning their images and the discussion being recorded during the second interview, participants organized their ima ges into five a priori categories guided by existing literature (Calabrese & Tan, 2008; Falk & Dierking, 2010; Hargreaves, 2000; Upadhyay, 2009) that provide connections between and among cases. The images were related to experiences participants had in r elation to their exit or persistence in their physics or engineering occupations. The a priori categories provided guidance and a way to categorize experiences, but participants were also free to organize their images in their own way. The a priori categ ories are broad enough to encourage participants in selecting images

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52 from a wide range of experiences, not only those related to science and mathematics. The a priori categories included: 1. Elementary experiences anything pertaining to classroom or school. 2. Secondary experiences anything pertaining to classroom or school. 3. Relational experiences a nything that included a relationship or connection with a person. 4. Informal experiences a nything that occurred outside of a formal classroom such as a zoo trip, or af ter school program. 5. Anything Else all other experiences not already categorized. Photo elicitation is used to provide more depth and context to interview questions and to provide for participants to represent specifics of their experiences. Photo elicit ation is defined by Harper (1986) as inserting images into interviews. By using photo elicitation, Schwartz states that participants respond "without hesitation" in the interview and the "interview strangeness" is averted (1989; p. 151 152). Photo elicit ation i s appropriate in analysis to: 1. gain not merely more, but different insights by allowing participants to talk about "different things in different ways" that don't get discuss ed in traditional interviews 2. allow participants to articulate and represent thoughts and feelings that usually remain implicit 3. to empower the participants in the rese arch process (p. 305). Photo elicitation also combines with traditional qualitative analysis tools such as content and frequency analysis.

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53 Data Analysis Through a pil ot study and a literature review, an initial framework for Contextual Critical Junctures was developed. In the pilot study, participants were asked to collect images from their STEM educational and work experiences and label them as positive or negative. A photo elicitation interview was conducted using the images the participants had collected. The y did not caption these images. When the images and interview data were analyzed using frequency and content analysis, the binary labels of positive and negat ive were found to be incomplete. For example, a participant would collect an image and label it as a positive experience, but then in the interview responses, describe the event or part of the experience as negative. In reviewing literature, the a priori categories were determined, in order to provide guidance to participants on categorizing their selections, if needed. In order to address the complexity and move beyond the binary categories of positive and negative, the framework of Contextual Critical Junctures was developed. This allows for a more fluid, continuous expression of experiences that moves beyo nd positive or negative labels. In the current study, the images were analyzed first to determine frequency and content of type of experiences and w hen they occurred. Then, the captions were analyzed for content followed by the transcribed photo elicitation interview data. The meanings participants gave their images and captions became more nuanced and clear upon negotiatio n in the interview process Selections of images and their captions are shared in chapter 4. In addition, selections of interview data, and the experiences that were analyzed and identified as a Contextual

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54 Critical Juncture (CCJ) are presented. By developing and using CCJ, there is more depth nuance and detail to examine. Establishing Trustworthiness In qualitative design, the researcher seeks be lievability based on coherence, insight (Eisner, 1991) and trustworthiness (Guba & Lincoln, 1985). Trustworthiness is established throu gh a process of verification rather then through traditional validity and reliability measures used in quantitative research. The uniqueness of a qualitative study within a specific context prevents it being exactly replicated in another context. However statements about the researchers' positions enhance the chances of the study being replicated in a different context or o ther setting (Creswell, 2003). According to Guba and Lincoln (1985), trustworthiness includes establishing four areas credibility, tr ansferability, dependability and confirmability. There are several techniques used for establishing these areas. Each of the areas and the techniques used in this study will be described below. Member checking was used to establish credibility. Member c hecking involved getting feedback from the participants on the accuracy of the identified categories and themes. This helped promote confidence in the study findings. Triangulation among different sources of data (interviews, i mages, captions) was also u sed. Transferability is showing that findings are applicable in other contexts. Although as previously discussed, qualitative research cannot be exactly replicated, attempting to address whether findings can be applied to other contexts contributes positi vely to establishing trustworthiness. To determine the transferability of the study, descriptions of the relationships and field experiences of the researcher and participants are reported. The

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55 researcher formed relationships through initial contact and subsequent interviews, e mails and phone conversations. Dependability is showing the findings are consistent. To promote dependability, an external audit asking a person outside the project to conduct a review of the study was employed. This person was fr om another institution in a science education department. They observed the framework elements, and confirmed the a priori categories were appropriate to the study. They also examined the themes that emerged from the interview data and made suggestions o n where there was overlap and th e potential to combine themes. The last area of trustworthiness discussed for this study is confirmability. Confirmability is the degree to which the findings represent the participants meaning and not the researcher. Confi rmability will be established by triangulation of data sources as well as an audit trail and reflexivity. An audit trail providing details of each step of the research process is available in the appendix. Reflexivity is attending to the construction of knowledge and acknowledging that the researcher's background shapes the research enterprise in its entirety. Reflexivity is also an important part of conducting research using a Standpoint feminist framework and will be addressed in part in the following section. Delimitation and Limitations A delimitation of this study is not reporting on the categories of what was not shared or represented. Participants were asked the question, "What did you not represent?", as is common in photo elicitation interview However, not all respondents answered this question. Additionally, the comments that were given were brief, and did not, as per the question, have a representative image, which fell outside of the scope of the research questions. Briefly, the topics t hat were not represented include having an ongoing identity as an engineer although

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56 not working as an engineer any longer, parents' ongoing role and presence, and no one ever asking about their experiences. Exploring what was not included and why would be a n interesting additional study. A limitation of this study is workforce language. Workforce language is used throughout the study, as it is so prevalent in policy and education literature. Workforce language, including increasing women and the particip ation in the STEM workforce, increasing girls participation in STEM subjects and retaining girls and women in STEM subjects and positions is used in many funding opportunities for research and educational programs. It must be acknowledged that this creat es a paradox. The premise of women leaving and not entering the STEM workforce could be a neoliberal way of addressing surface issues or deficit thinking without examining more context and details of women and their experiences. However, since this is th e language and rationale for current policy and programming decisions, I have used workforce language as a starting point, and for consistency. It is the intention to use workforce language as a lens, but a critical lens and not to suggest that all women should be in STEM courses and careers. The focus is examining equity and access across experienc es which include the workforce. Increasing the access and opportunity for all students, including girls and women in STEM endeavors is as important as increas ing numbers of women in STEM courses and the workforce. Examining contexts, such as CCJ, will provide a rich background and help increase understanding of women's experiences that could lead to changes in k 12 education and workforce environments for more inclusivity and oppor tunities, if this is desired.

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57 Role of Researcher and Ethical Considerations In case study, since the researcher is the main instrument, acknowledging bias is necessary. Peer debriefing addresses Bias A, the effects the researcher h as on the participants and Bias B, the effects the participants have on the researcher (Merriam, 2009). Ethics are addressed by obtaining IRB approval and the researcher's ethics and values related to the treatment of researcher participants and research practices. Because ethical issues that arise that are unanticipated, I will be using the ethical checklist given in Merriam (2009). I also consulted with my academi c advisor throughout the study. In this case, I am a white, female, graduate student and s chool district employee who has observed women and girls in various education and work experiences. Women in my family have also experienced situations related to their education and career attainment that motivate me to explore this topic further. In my work history in STEM education and in my graduate studies, I have formed relationships with many professionals in k 12 settings, corporate settings and higher education settings that influence my desire to i nvestigate this topic further. Throughout the st udy, I kept a journal of notes and reflections in keeping with the reflexi vity component of Standpoint Feminism Of note is the work I did in formal and informal arenas, as well as a majority of the time in elementary settings. Additionally, the work tha t I have done with groups and interviewing was recorded. These reflections influenced the type of questions that were asked, who was included in the study a nd how the data was collected. Although I am not a practicing engineer or physicist (such as partic ipants in the study), analyzing data and in particular, reflecting on each contextual critical juncture that I

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58 identified brought to mind similar and different experiences I had undergone. For example, the Contextual Critical Juncture of Mathematics brough t to mind an instance when I was the only girl in a college math class where I loved the class but was anxious as the only girl. It also reminded me that the highest math class in secondary school was not available due to scheduling conflicts, and my regr et at missing that opportunity. Additionally, the Contextual Critical Juncture of Playing and Doing along with the C ontextual Critical Juncture of Interpersonal Interconnectedness reminded me of my observations of self, moving from a studious person, lear ning from watching and reading, to a person who discovered the joy in learning by doing i n post secondary experiences. Summary A qualitative methods approach was employed in this study. The purpose of the study is for participants to making visible their experiences that led to the development of a framework of Contextual Critical Junctures of their important STEM experiences. Data collection included two semi structured interviews, one of which was a photo elicitation interview, images taken or collected by participants and captions written by participants about what and when their experiences consisted of. Data analysis included content analysis and frequency analysis as well as the identification of themes. These themes formed the basis of the identif ication of experiences included in Contextual Critical Junctures as a framework for understanding the participants' experiences. Data analysis and findings are discussed in subsequent chapters 4 and 5.

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59 CHAPTER IV FINDINGS Introduction The purpose of thi s study is examine experiences women reveal and to identify Contextual Critical junctures (CCJ) to provide a context to current gender equity research related to girls and women and their STEM experiences. Rather than adding to the numerous studies on dif ferences when females loose interest or leave science and engineering fields compared to males, this study examines women's experiences in the STEM workforce and their education and make them visible to help identify the critical junctures. Identifying cr itical junctures provides details and nuances of not only events but under the circumstances in which they occurred. The identification of these junctures can lead to further understanding of experiences that are identified as important and meaningful to girls and women in their STEM education and careers. These experiences will be examined for potential k 12 policy and institutional imp lications and recommendations. This chapter will share selections of images, captions and interview data, as well as lev els of analysis that answered the research questions. Individual experiences will be shared, followed by the identification by the researcher of five Contextual Critical Junctures as determined by the Contextua l Critical Junctures framework. Results Resu lts of the study are presented in order of the research questions they answered and by level of analysis. Three levels of analysis occurred. The first level includes frequency analysis of images in each a priori category of elementary, secondary, relatio nal, informal and other. The second level includes content analysis of the images and captions, with an adjustment to categories. The third level of analysis linked participants' experiences

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60 with elements that contributed to the CCJ framework. The first and second level of analysis help answer the first and second research questions, ("What experiences do women identify...and when do these occur?" and "How do these experiences contribute to the development of the CCJ framework?") This analysis allowed examination of particpants' experiences with respect to time and context. The third level of analysis allowed examination of how the experiences contributed to the CCJ framework and to the identification of five Contextual Critical Junctures. To answer th e first two research questions, two phases of analysis occurred. The first phase of analysis included analyzing the frequency with which each participant included an image in the previously identified a priori categories of Elementary, Secondary, Informal Relational and Other experiences. This level of analysis was conducted with each of the case study participants. The second phase of analysis was content analysis on the images and captions. From this analysis, which included added details from the cap tions, the experiences were organized in a slightly different way from the original a priori categories. Images and captions revealed that "Elementary", "Secondary" and "Other", were a measure of time when the event occurred. "Elementary" occurred during elementary ages usually approximately 5 years old to 11 years old. "Secondary" occurred during middle school and high school ages u sually approximately 12 years old to 18 years old. "Other" occurred from approximately 19 years old until adulthood and re presented postsecondary education thr ough work experiences. Type of activity was determined to be "formal" or "informal". Formal experiences were in class or structured settings with a set lesson or curriculum adopted by the teacher,

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61 school or organizatio n. These often included a set schedule or routine, with traditional assessment and testing/accountability measures such as quizzes or written t ests, if in a school setting. Informal experiences were clubs and activities outside the school day, or experien ces that were not school related. These typically had a less structured schedule, little to no formal assessment, and participatory, hands on elements. These hands on elements were not necessarily science or STEM related, but could be from a number of di sciplines. A relational component was embedded in each experience, whether occurring in elementary, secondary or other time periods, or whether it was an informal or formal experience and will be included in cross case analysis. For example, participants e mphasized the nature of their parent's status and therefore it is included in the parti cipant description earlier on. These two levels of analysis help answer the questions of when experiences occurred, and what kind of experience was had. In the following section, each participant's experiences are positioned in places and contexts that provide a snapshot of their STEM life. Selections of images, along with captions, are included in the following case study scenarios. The complete collection of images an d captions are included in the appendix. Tables of type of experience and when th ese occurred are also provided. Bethany Bethany is 61 years old and a practicing engineer. She has been in her current position for 15 years, and has worked as an engineer fo r 36 years. She has worked full time and part time. She holds bachelor's degrees in French literature and mechanical engineering. She also holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering. During interviews, Bethany

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62 discussed her parents as having rema ined married during their lifetime, and that both her parents were engineers. She also discussed her ma rriage as a source of support. Bethany gathered 15 images, and upon first analysis of the images, the types of images she collected were both personal, original images and those that were stock images from the Internet. She collected 10 original images and five stock images. Representations included people, p laces, objects and experiences. After frequency analysis of images, content analysis of images a nd captions was completed. The original categories were collapsed to include the time they occurred, either during elementary, secondary or other times ( E =elementary, S=secondary and O=other). The type of experience was either formal or informal (F=forma l and I=informal). Table 2 gives a sample of images and captions, as well as times and types of experiences Bethany reported. Bethany had 11 of 15 experiences from elementary, and four from secondary. Of the 11 elementary experiences, six were informal, t hree were formal and two were both informal and formal. Of the four experiences from secondary school, they were all formal.

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63 Table 2: Bethany's Time and Type of Ex periences (n=15 images/captions) Image Time (E,S,O) Type (F,I) Caption Excerpt S F In M iddle School I was told I could not take Shop Class because it was for boys. I had to take Home Ec. Later in High School, I jumped at the chance to take Car Care for Girls and Architectural Drafting. S F I developed my own faith in high school. Sinc e I believed that things were not impossible, but that with prayer and hard work, anything could be accomplished, I never felt like a failure or that something was too hard. I never felt alone. E F/I There was always lots of classical music at home. W e also memorized the songs to many musicals and sang in the church choirs. I was a very good clarinetist and belonged to the Honor Band in Elementary School. Music sequences and melodies organize your brain and memorizing it helps you memorize other thing s. E F S F E F E I E I/F E I

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64 Table 2 cont'd Image Time (E,S,O) Type (F,I) Caption Excerpt S F E I E I E F E I E I

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65 Janelle Janelle is 31 years old and a practicing engineer. She has been in her current position fo r 3 years. She holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering. During interviews Janelle talked about her parents' influences on her choices and decisions related to her education and career. Janelle gathered 10 images that included both stock i mages from the internet and personal images. Images represented people, experiences, thoughts and a toy. As with Bethany's data, frequency analysis of images and content analysis of images and captions was completed. The original categories were collaps ed to include the time they occurred, either during elementary, secondary or other times (E=elementary, S=secondary and O=other) and the type of experience, either formal or informal (F=formal and I=informal) Table 3 displays selections of Janelle's imag es and captions. Janelle had five out of 10 experiences from elementary, three from secondary and two from other. Of the five elementary experiences, three were informal and two were formal. Of the three secondary experiences, two were both informal and formal and one was formal. Of the two other experiences, both were formal. Although Janelle included an image of her father, she did not caption this as a relational experienc e.

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66 Table 3: Janelle's Time and Type of Experiences (n=10 images/captions) Ima ge Time (E,S,O ) Typ e (F,I) Caption Excerpt E I Donatello was super smart and knew how to use technologyand I thought that was cool. He was an influence at least through elementary school. E I My dad used to let me change the oil with him when I wa s young, elementary school aged. I loved being on the wheelie thing and it wasn't until many years later that I realized this had an impact in my enjoyment of doing things. S F/I In high school, I was in an intro to engineering class. We were partic ipating in a robot building competition. Instead of participating in actually building the robot, I offered to take the photos and create our journal E F E F O F O F E I S F/I S F

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67 Jessica Jessica is 37 years old and a former scien tist for 10 years. She is currently a program developer for a design firm. She holds bachelor degrees in computer science and physics and a master's degree and Ph.D. in physics. During interviews, she revealed that her parents divorced in her elementar y years and she lived in an all female household. She also discussed her first husband's death and how she met her second husband from the same circle of acquaintances. Her father is in sales and marketing. Her mother worked part time in a biology occupa tion and suffers from Munchausen by Proxy a mental disorder related to needing to be ill for attention. Jessica gathered 12 images that were all stock images from the internet. Images represented experiences from all of the original categories of element ary, secondary, informal, relational and other. Frequency analysis of images and content analysis of images and captions was completed. The original categories were collapsed to include the time they occurred, either during elementary, secondary or other times (E=elementary, S=secondary and O=other) and whether the experiences were formal or informal (F=formal and I=informal), as with other participants' data. Table 4 displays the results of Jessica's content analysis, along with selections of her images and captions. Jessica had three out of 12 experiences from elementary, three from secondary and six other. Of the elementary experiences shared, one was formal, one was informal and one was both informal and formal. Of the secondary experiences shared, two were formal and one was informal. Of the six other experiences shared, five were formal, and one was formal

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68 and informal. Jessica had the most experiences in the "other" category of all the participants. She also worked the longest amount of time of the two partic ipants who left their fields.

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69 Table 4: Jessica's Time and Type of Experiences (n=12 images/captions) Image Time (E,S,O ) Typ e (F,I) Caption Excerpt O F I actually started as a chemistry majorI quickly found out that my memory skills were terrible. I was drawn to physics if I couldn't remember a principle, it was possible to just rederive it! It all made sense. S F My high school physics teacher was very influential in my choice to major in physics. I always enjoyed her class, her p ractical attitude and her no nonsense approach to life. She loved cats... O F When I was in college, I struggled with classical mechanics. I went to the Professor to ask for help and he told me that I would never get an A because I would just use it to try to go to medical school, like the other women who majored in physics. O F/I S F O F E I S I O F E I/F E F O F

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70 Melanie Melanie is 45 years old and a former engineer for 5 years. She is currently pursuing a credential in coaching/spiritual formation. She holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in counseling. Melanie's parents remained married until her mother's death. Melanie's father remarried after his first wife's death when Melanie was in her mid twenties. Mother (deceased) was an engineer, and father is an engineer. Although Melanie is not currently practicing as an engineer, and is pursuing another career path, she identifies herself as an engineer, and sees engineering on a dail y basis in her life. Melanie collected 11 images, with nine images original creations and two stock images. Melanie's nine original images were compilations of special objects, personal family images and representations she arranged. They included peop le, experiences and interact ions with family members (Table 5) After frequency analysis of images, content analysis of images and captions was completed. The original categories were collapsed to include the time they occurred, either during elementary, s econdary or other times (E=elementary, S=secondary and O=other) and as informal or formal (F=formal and I=informal). Table 5 summarizes this phase of data analysis for Melanie. Melanie had four out of 11 experiences during elementary, two secondary and f ive o ther. Of the elementary experiences, all four were informal. Of the secondary experiences, both were formal. The other experiences included four informal and one formal. Before the categories were collapsed, Melanie had the most representations from the relational category tha n other participants, with six. Although other participants had fewer representations they labeled "relational", upon interviewing each participant about their

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71 images and captions, a relational theme emerged. These categories of images and the following themes were member checked and co nfirmed with each participant.

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72 Table 5: Melanie's Time and Type of Experiences (n=11 images/captions) Image Time (E,S,O) Type (F,I) Caption Excerpt O I When I was in college, my boyfriend ( now my husband, and a software engineer) taught me basic maintenance and repair skills on my first car. Worried that my learning style...would be frustrating for both of us, I was overjoyed to discover his mostly patient, flexible way of teaching me S F Intellectually, I tended to jump in the deep end, where I would quickly find out what I didn't know From grade 7 through high school, the "deep end" was in math and science. O I One of my reasons for taking this job involved continuing my research into places where engineers can make a difference O F/I E F E F E I S I O F O I/F E F

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73 Discussion of the Intersection of Time and Context Participants included images that were stock, Internet pictures as well as actual artifact s and family pictures. Elementary experiences were represented the most (n=23), followed by "other", (representing post secondary experiences and work experiences) (n=13) and secondary experiences (n=11). The participants who had left their professions r epresented post secondary and work experiences more than those who remained in their professions. Elementary experiences were shared the most from the participants who remained in their professions. When combined with secondary experiences, all participa nts had more school experiences that were represented compared to post secondary and work experiences. From the participants' responses, elementary and secondary experiences are important to their persistence or exit from their STEM occupation. In additi on, experiences that were important were not only formal. Informal experiences were represented as important. More informal experiences were represented in elementary and more formal experiences were represented in secondary. Post secondary and work exp eriences were formal. The totals of images representing the time frame of elementary, secondary and post secondary/work and the numbers of formal and informal experiences are listed in Table 6. The experiences identified as Contextual Critical Junctures and what elements are included in the Contextual Critical Juncture framework are detailed in the next section. Identifying what kinds or experiences participates represented with their images and captions and when these occurred provided the building block s for the third level of analysis. The third level of analysis uses interview data about the identified experiences to develop a

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74 framework called Contextual Critical Junctures. How these experiences were used in the development of a Contextual Critical J unctures framework are detailed in the next section.

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75 Table 6: Data Display of Frequency Analysis and Collapsed Categories from Images (n=48) Janelle (n=10) Jessica (n=12) Bethany (n=15) Melanie (n=11) Totals F I F/I F I F/I F I F/I F I F/I Elementary 2 3 0 1 1 1 3 6 2 0 4 0 23 Secondary 1 1 1 2 1 0 4 0 0 2 0 0 12 Post Secondary/Work 2 0 0 5 0 1 0 0 0 1 4 0 13 Totals 5 4 1 8 2 2 7 6 2 3 8 0 48 *F=Formal, I=Informal, F/I=both Formal and Informal Experience

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76 Con textual Critical Jun ctures and Sense Making of Women's Ex periences The third level of data analysis linked participants' experiences with elements that contributed to the CCJ framework. The photo elicitation interview data was transcribed and included participants' discussi on of their images and captions, as well as their comments as they were looking at the images and answering semi structur ed interview questions. Each participant interview was analyzed individually and compared across cases, as well as with the initial im ages and captions the participants gave. The following themes emerged in cross case analysis. These themes are guided by participants' experiences that contributed to elements of the Contextual Cr itical Juncture framework. The first two levels of analys is were what women identified from their elementary, secondary or post secondary/workforce experiences and what type of experience, either formal or informal, they had. The third level of analysis identifies what experiences are included as a Contextual C ritical Juncture and how this framework was developed. To review, the framework of Con textual Critical Juncture is: 1. an experience that can be represented and articulated 2. the experience made an impression of the participant's view of themself an d/or their capabilities 3. the participant may or may not have had control to act on the impression. After conducting a pilot study, briefly discussed earlier, and upon analysis of this study data, the elements of more than merely themes or experiences emerged. The de scriptions participants gave, when being interviewed, had three elements in common experiences that could be articulated and represented, impressions on themselves or their abilities, and possibly not being able to control or act on these impressions. Mor e than only

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77 an experience in time, or a type of experience, common themes emerged that included these three elements. A short form of this description could be experience, impression and agency. This is the framework of Contextual Critical Junctures. T he identified themes that emerged as Contextual Critical Junctures are mathematics, play, music, faith communities and intersectionality among experiences. These junctures move beyond positive and negative labels and experiences. They give more informati on regarding the contexts and experiences the participants lived and the common elements of the framework experiences, impressions and agency. They also show movement across times of participant s' lives and are not static. After each Contextual Critical Ju ncture, a discussion follows. Contextual Critical Juncture 1: Mathematics Back and Forth All participa nts shared about a love of math (Table 7). This took the form of talking about math, taking math classes, or using math in their daily lives. For some participants, this love changed, as they struggled with math in middle or high school. This struggle has been reported in the literature. However, the joy associated with math, and the connections with other subjects which will be discussed in an additio nal Contextual Critical Juncture, Intersectionality, is not as evident in the literature. Nor is the possibility of moving between and among a liking and a dislike or struggle with mathematics. For example, one participant discussed the connections with her family history and mathematics. Other participants shared that they loved the challenges in math classes including tests, puzzles and games. Although mathematics is currently a focus of standardized testing, it is often taught in isolation as a stand alone subject. Family connections, or connections with other subjects is not currently the norm in elementary, secondary an d post secondary education.

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78 Table 7: CCJ 1 Participant Image Caption Interview Janelle I loved math in elementary school. In middle school I started struggling with it, and in high school I avoided it as best I could. This fear of math helped guide me towards music as a career first. "This one (image) kind of encompasses I would say, flourishing during different periods of my life in elementary school. In 4 th grade we had those timed (math) tests and I just loved taking those." Jessica We would do logic games and learn math or other topics I recall sitting on a swing set in fourth grade, telling another student (who was not in the program) about exponents. "I went outside to recess after a math challenge class and I was sitting on the swingset with one of my friends and I was like We just learned about this thing and it was called exponents! Do you know what exponents are?' No', she said. We were laughing and talking and swinging on swings and it seemed like the most natural easy thing in the world." Melanie I create entirely unique geometric lace pattersI am also like both of my grandmothers, who used math to run eve ry aspect of busy domestic lives, including sewing, knitting, and crochet. I'm from a family of women and men who use their hands in their work. I know how to count, I know how to create a pattern, I know how to measure I know how to do ratios. I'm engine ering but not an engineer anymore. Bethany Math was my favorite subject in all of school. In middle and high school I took advanced math classes. I was 1 of 2 girls in my high school classes. I was not intimidated by being in a class of boys. But I was too shy as a high school student to to go the university for calculus so I waited until College. As you probably know, many engineers (have) math as one of their best subjects, even more than science.

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79 Contextual Critical Juncture 2: Playing and Doi ng The case study participants described the importance of play in the form of games, puzzles and making and doing (Table 8) This play CCJ spanned disciplines and informal and formal settings. The participants expressed these forms of play increased th eir learning and provided enjoyment and a sense of community. At times, participants were denied the opportunity to play, as highlighted by one of the participants responses and image, but this did not take away the desire for and actual need for play in all settings of the participants' academic and professional careers. Literature on play is most often associated with preschool and younger children. However, current maker movements are gaining attention in public and academic settings. Access to this type of experience in both formal and informal settings was critical for participants across many ages and settings.

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80 Table 8: CCJ 2 Participant Image Caption Interview Janelle I loved doing logic puzzles in elementary school. Problem solving is s omething that I feel I'm qui te good at. This is, this is something that has always been an interest. I think it was maybe 5th grade when I first got introduced with these specific type of logic problems, and I you know, when I'm at the ariport I still tend to take puzzles and do them cause I enjoy themits just something always enjoyed. Jessica When I was a child I asked for an Erector Set for Christmas several years in a row, but I was told no. My mother thought that I would injure myself!... I wish I had been allowed to explore this interest more as a child. I still love building and creating things. I loved building when I use physics today, I use it to build something. I build a product. I build something that's useful to somebodyIt's gotta be cre ation for me. So I keep going down these paths where I'm allowed to create. That's why I'm here actually at this company is to build stuff. Melanie In my mind, every kid in the world knew that these were delicateI loved to take them out of their bo xes and look at the intricate structures inside, I've played with all manner of tubes. I've gotten my dad s permission to smash one and listen to the pop and done all kinds of things with them, so the value that I was taught was "play with it, check it o ut figure out how it works"we'd go in the garage, and he had a variable voltage generator and my mom had just gotten these metallic corn skewersand he stuck one in each end of a hot dog and connected

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81 Table 8, cont'd Participant Image Caption Interv iew Melanie, cont'd positive and negative to cook the hotdog with his voltage generator (laughing)I thought that was fun Bethany We played board games or card games every weekend and sometimes during the week. During the summer we played outside most evenings with the other neighborhood kids part of it is, you knowbeing in a group, whether it is your family or your neighborhood kids, part of its competition part of its social, getting along, you know whether its teasing or encouraging, so I th ink its social skills combined with competitive aspects of it probably

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82 Contextual Critical Juncture 3: Music, Performance and Enjoyment Music, as performance, listening and in musical learning contexts was critical for the four case study participants (Table 9) The importance music had on the four individuals spanned ages and grade levels, and is still important to the participants in their current lives. However, at least one participant had to choose between music and engineering, and the importanc e of music to science and engineering was left to the participants to connect. One participant commented that for many engineers, music is important, and another commented on the part music played in her STEM magnet school. Music could be a largely under used resource in experiences that are important to girls and women and the STEM education and experiences. In literature, there is some reference to the mathematical nature of music, such as fractions, scales and number lines, but these participants des cribed a different relationship with music. It was more than merely an extension of mathematics or engineering, but an endeavor that provided them with a way to classify information, organize their t hinking and build confidence.

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83 Table 9: CCJ 3 Particip ant Image Caption Interview Janelle Music has always been a big influencer. In high school I wanted to pursue music in college. When I applied to ___the form asked for 3 interests. I listed music, engineering, and then history, because those were th ings I was interested in. They put me as music, and I thought well I don't like math anyway, so there's no reason to do engineering music was a driving force, but at the same time in this instance, I was kinda forced to go down one path, because of uh,, ,administrative decisions that I didn't really have control over and because of my lack of enjoyment of math I just went with it and didn't think anything of it.. Jessica I remember loving it (STEM magnet school). They had a particular emphasis on music and I recall associating keyboard lessons with math. I remember in particular there was a lot of music, and I have very clear images of the music program I just got very absorbed to that culture and I enjoyed it and I had a really good experiencethe m usic part was very much a game I loved going to school Melanie From early childhood, I listened to classical music, As I grew, I learned that math and science are important to the composition and performance of music, but they don't fully describe or encompass it. This awareness helped me make connections between math and science and other areas of learning. in my life there is a high value placed on how things work, how things go togetherby learning classical music from birth to the present, I lear ned how to listen for different instrumentsAnd soI learned that um the skill of cataloguing and experiencing things so you can make a decision or judgment was valuable.

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84 Table 9, cont'd Participant Image Caption Interview Bethany There was always lots of classical music in our homeI was a very good clarinetist and belonged to the Honor Band in Elementary School. I took piano in elementary and high school. I was not very good but I loved to play, even into college. Music sequences and melodies or ganize your brain and memorizing it helps you memorize other things. as you have already probably found, many engineers come from a music backgroundI mean I talk with women engineers all the time we talk about you know how did you get here so I know t hat both (music and math).. those are common threads

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85 Contextual Critical Juncture 4: Communities of Faith Three of the four participants counted faith and faith communities as critical to their science and engineering experiences (Table 10) The faith and faith communities described in interviews and represented with images and captions were various forms of Christianity. Faith and faith communities provided a pathway of service and making a difference, a view of oneself as able to endure and overcome difficult problems and that support from God and others was available. However, one participant discussed her faith community as a source of difficulty in how she viewed herself and other women in relationships, working environments and positions of leade rship. There is a public discourse that often situates faith and faith communities as antagonistic to science and scientific discourse. There is a dichotomy between faith and science that is often placed as a "for or against" position that may not allow f or the complexities and importance that women in this study expressed related to their S TEM education and experiences.

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86 Table 10: CCJ 4 Participant Image Caption Interview Jessica I picked the church to represent culture. In this case, my husband come s from a conservative church culture that does not allow women to lead. They take this to the extreme that a woman can't lead off a hymn (even if it starts with a soprano part), and can't teach boys over the age of 12. Not everyone in the church believes t his, but this is a persistent influence in my life. you know women can't, women can't, women can't, women can't over and over and over there's none of those rules on men. And they saythat they don't intend that to extend to the secular world, but it do es, it definitely affects the psyche when you see it Melanie One of my reasons for taking this job involved continuing my research into places where engineers can make a difference. I only met one engineer while in AfricaHis primary work was as a mi ssionary, which related to another reason I took this job. As I studied this missionary who used to be an engineer, I realized that I had far more common with him, vocationally, than I did with my career engineer parents. Meeting this former engineer had a big influence on my drive to be an engineer who makes a difference. I have kept the "make a difference" p art, but not the engineer part. I'm a follower of Christ and I desire to use that productively. I still have a strong call on my life to be a miss ionary. And that is part of my language of meI wanted to leave home, I went to a largely undeveloped country because I wondered what do engineers do there? I saw it and I was like that could be a very gratifying place to be an engineer meeting that engi neer made me realize too, I'm not going to stop being an engineer. I thought these are my people whether or not I call myself an engineer.

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87 Table 10, cont'd Participant Image Caption Interview Bethany Church was a constant in my life. Mom and Dad were teachers and leaders and in the choir. I had some nice Sunday School teachers and youth group leaders. I developed my own faith in high school. Since I believed that things were not impossible, but that with prayer and hard work, anything could be accomplished, I never felt like a failure or that something was too hard. I never felt alone. you know what's in your heart part of it, and so mine was very positive, and open and taught me to seek my own pathand my parents were the same way, too, they weren't oppressive that way faith dynamics, that's separate from faith, that's more you know churches and stuff I mean fortunately, I didn't grow up in the south, or you know, or certain denominations, where people would have more difficulty. So for me it still is, a way to resolve problems, and issues and work through them and put things in perspective.

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88 Contextual Critical Juncture 5: Interpersonal Interconnectedness Intersectionality has been documented in the literature as the complexities and experiences women live related to class, race and gender as a matrix of oppression (Collins, 2000). Borrowing from the idea that there is complexity and various expressions of race, class and gender that women face, interpersonal connectedness is used her e as a model of the complexities women experience related to bias and stereotypes, supports and challenges and their appearance as a Contextual Critical Juncture. Intersectionality is used to describe the five Contextual Critical Junc tures in context to e ach other. All participants represented and discussed complexities within themselves and from others in their community (Table 11). These intersections occurred regarding participating as a female in male dominated spaces and what the participants brought to these experiences that they had to either express or deny in a variety of circumstances ranging from k 12 schooling to work environments. Of note is the role that appearance played for two participants. They expressed a difficulty in being able to be "fully expressed" their own words in their appearance and in how they were perceived as able to do their jobs. If one wore a skirt, there were comments about being unsafe or not being able to do quality research. The women in the study expressed a disc omfort or unknowing of how to do their work and be themselves. One participant described a painful experience where she judged another female in the way that she had been judged based on her appearance. This occurred even with the difficulty that being j udged brought to the participant that she described nu merous times in her interview. Related to participation, two participants expressed that they were denied participation in certain classes or did not participate fully. Each participant expressed havin g

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89 to learn how to navigate participation in various endeavors that caused them to have to pick and choose how to present themselves in dress, actions and reactions with peers and supervisors. The call for more underrepresented people, including females, t o take STEM courses and pursue STEM careers, is continually made from public and academic sources. There is abundant literature on "pipelines" to STEM educational opportunity and STEM careers, but this literature largely ignores the intersections girls and women must navigate and choose from when enterin g and exiting these pipelines.

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90 Table 11: CCJ 5 Participant Image Caption Interview Janelle In high school, I was in an intro to engineering class. We were participating in a robot building competition Instead of participating in actually building the robot, I offered to take the photos and create our journal because mo st of the rest of the class was malebecause I didn't think anyone would take my ideas seriously. I regret this decision. This one f or me represents my big gest regretI look backand I wi sh I had participated in a stronger wayI didn't have a lot of confidence that anybody was going to listen to me because I was the only serious girl in the class. I saw thatthey needed a journal and I considered myself really creative and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity because I doubt any of the boys are going to be very creative and the journal wasn't really important to the project so looking back on it I regret I let my insecurities get the better of me and I didn't at le a st try, I didn't do any participation when it came to actually building a robot and when we were at the competition, I didn't do any anything with the robot. Jessica This is a hard one. There is an expectation on women to be beauty focused. There is an expectation in physics not to be. I felt a lot of pressure to be "more feminine" from my family and the opposite from my work life. I didn't realize how much of a dissonance this was until I left the field and wor ked in a job that required a more "professional" appearance. All of a sudden everyone was comfortable with my outfit and I wasn't violating any expectations on either side. It is probably the hardest one, it's the last one I filled in. It actually was one of the first images I picked, and it was the last caption I wrote cause I knew exactly what it was, andI just didn't know how to write it (moving cups on her desk) even as I am talking about it now I am a little teary..In this one, ...(long pause)...ther e's a dissonance it's the only way I can describe it between the physics culture and the female culture. In my perspective so you know whether this is right or wrong, it doesn't cover everybody, all those cave ats, female culture tends to be veryimagep resentation focused, you know beauty focused what is beautiful. Umphysics, at least the way Ive experienced it is about exactly the opposite.

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91 Table 11, cont'd Participant Image Caption Interview Jessica, cont'd In fact if you focus on those t hings, you're considered kind of lesser, like "why are you paying attention to that crap, you have research to do". If you started thinking about those things you are taking away fromthe mindset that you should be in. Melanie In my time at ___, this w as the only assignment for which I received helpful, supportive training. In my lab of about twenty people, four were women: two administrative staff, one scientist, and one electrical engineer (me!). I was expected to become proficient with far more equip ment than I learned to use in engineering school. I often went away from teaching/demonstration interactions feeling inept, foolish, or improperly dressed. My female classmates were experiencing similar treatment in their first engineering jobs, and my mot her told me that it was "nothing new" to her, either. This unsupportive environment was a contributing factor in my exit from the field of engineering. I went to my supervisor who was quite old at the timeDidn't know how to manageso I was thrown in the bullpen with these um, experienced engineers and they didn't know what to do with me and he didn't help themBut I tried to fit as much as I could and I liked to wear skirts to work and then when there was field work I would change, but if I didn't have ti me to change, and my skirt wasn't going to impede the work, like if I needed to run into a portable building and check a temperature, I wasn't going to change into pants for that. But I got teased for that and I was told that I didn't dress right, or "you know you're gonna really get hurt one of these days" and I said tell me straight what do you mean it doesn't feel like I'm in danger right now. And they didn't. And they didn't teach me how to use tools safely and I hurt my shoulder on a big bore drill o nceI still have problems on that shoulder. So. I feel like where I wanted to learn by doing it, I didn't have the right scaffolding to succeedThere are always skills to learn in your job, but I didn't feel like there was any support for me to continu e learning. I was supposed to arrive knowing how to use all those tools and that's unreasonable in __ with a BS in Electrical Engineering

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92 Table 11, cont'd Participant Image Caption Interview Melanie, cont'd I knew how to use a brake to bend metal, sheet metal, FROM JR. HIGH! But that was random. Not every girl took shop, so it was just, it was a weird and unsupportive environment for me Bethany In middle school I was told I could not take Shop Class because it was for boys. I had to take Hom e Ec. I told them I already knew how to cook and sew since I cooked dinner every night and I made my own clothes. Still, they did not allow Shop. Later in High School, I jumped at the chance to take Car Care for Girls and Architectural Drafting. I was lucky that you know, my high school had stuff like technical classes, and even today it is much better, you know the opportunities for kids are so much better for what they can do technicallyit was architectural drafting so I got to design a house, and t hen the car care one was REALLY good, causeI had a new car and I could do car maintenance myself on my VW, and that was empowering.

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93 Conclusion Contextual Critical Juntures are important to identify. CCJ's move beyond deeming an experience positive or negative. By including more context, there are more opportunities to identify supports and affordances as well as barriers women have faced in their STEM pursuits. The three facets to a CCJ include experiences that are not only STEM related, but that in fluence STEM participation. Again, those three facets are: 1. an experience that can be represented and articulated 2. the experience made an impression of the participant's view of themself an d/or their capabilities 3. the participant may or may not have had cont rol to act on the impression This gives those interested in females and their participation (or non participation) many diverse avenues to explore. Several of these possibilities will be discussed in Chapter 5.

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94 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS Introduction The purpose of this study was to examine women's experiences through the development of the Contextual Critical Junctures framework and identification of Contextual Critical Junctures. This framework includes experiences that occ urred in formal and informal settings, in k 12 settings (elementary and secondary), and in post secondary and work settings. This qualitative study used Photo elicitation as a methodology to interview the four case study participants on the captions and i mages they collected for the study. Data included digital images, captions and interviews. Participants shared images from various times in their lives and across both formal and informal experiences. From the images and captions that were shared, the Co ntextual Critical Junctures framework was developed. This framework included experiences that shared three things in common. The first is the experience could be articulated with words and images. The second is the experience left an impression on the p articipant's view of themselves or their abilities. The third is the participant may not have had control over the experience. A Contextual Critical Juncture can occur in all aspects of life and across many time frames. The Contextual Critical Junctures in this study are specific to participants' STEM experiences. This chapter discusses the findings of the study and concludes with su ggestions for further research. In many ways, the five identified Contextual Critical Junctures could be seen to demonstra te intersectionality. McCall (2005) reports on the use of intersectionality to encompass categories that cannot be separated analytically or related to identity. For example, playing and performing music could also be seen as making and doing, in a faith

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95 community. Another example is interpersonal interconnectedness among appearance, bias and supports/challenges could be experienced during a mathematics experience in formal or informal settings. Additionally, the actual framework of Contextual Critical J unctures demonstrates a form of intersectionality. The elements of experience, impression and agency that comprise the framework are themselves categories that cannot be completely separated. Although experience, impression and agency emerged in all the experiences that were identified as Contextual Critical Junctures, there is not a way to completely measure, deconstruct or separate amounts or degrees that each element contributes or is expressed. For example, if a person did not always have control ove r a situation (agency), (one of the elements of the Contextual Critical Junctures framework), they may have had a degree of agency. A classroom example would be one of the participants could not change her math class where she was labeled as a less achiev ing student, but she could choose what work group in wh ich to participate. A workplace example would be a participant experiencing being slighted as project leader, which had an impression on her abilities, (another element of the Contextual Critical Junct ure framework) but she had agency to continue as project leader and include other members that were m ore willing to collaborate. Intersectionality can be seen among the five identified Contextual Critical Junctures and among the framework itself. This is a compelling lens to continue exploring. Intersectionality is one way to promote, as one participant stated, being fully expressed. It also allows for inclusionary language and experiences, rather than having to separate and choose between options experi ences or identities.

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96 Intersection of Time and Type of Represented Experiences Participants in the study represented more informal experiences than formal experiences as important to them during elementary school ages. Informal experiences include those t hat occur outside the school day and/or at offsite locations such as museums, zoos or clubs (Falk & Dierking ,2010). For example, one of the participants, Janelle, reported that watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Donatello inspired her in her techno logy use. Additionally, Bethany reported the activities she did, along with the responsibilities she learned in Girl Scouts as being important to her. With the focus on high stakes testing in a formal capacity, the opportunities for informal learning and its importance may be overlooked. This is worth consideration especially in the elementary years. In the United States, there has been an increased reliance on high stakes testing for accountability. In many states, these accountability measures includ e student test scores as part of a teacher's evaluation. The measures also include labeling schools, school districts and students with levels such as proficient, needs improvement and failing. These high stakes tests have focused on English language art s and mathematics. In recent years, the inclusion of high stakes tests for accountability and evaluation purposes have also been tied to the receipt of federal funds. Without specific accountability measures in place, schools are not eligible for at least a portion of their federal funding. The focus of both instruction and assessment lie in formal experiences in English Language Arts and Mathematics. This occurs at both the elementary and secondary levels (Griffith & Sharmann, 2008; Froschaur, 2006; Cen t er for Education Policy, 2006). The focus on testing in formal elementary schooling can render access to science teaching and learning absent. In addition to limiting student access to formal science

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97 learning, there is a missed opportunity to take studen ts' interests into consideration. Including student interests in formal and informal learning was critical to p articipants' STEM experiences. Participants in this study reported more formal experiences than informal influential experiences during their se condary and post secondary/workforce timeframes. With a focus on testing still present in secondary education, this could limit opportunities for formal STEM learning experiences. However, secondary schooling often provides formal elective courses, which could be taken advantage of regarding the inclusion of student interests and integration of subject matter. Gender equity research is concentrated on secondary, post secondary and workforce experiences (Riegle Crumb, King, Grodsky & Miller, 2012; AAUW, 2 010). For the participants in this study, elementary age had the greatest number of influential experiences. Examining experiences and their contexts in elementary school settings, both formal and informal, is an area for further study. Relationship Inte rsections Relationships that were represented and discussed were a multi faceted web and included greater complexity than mentorship. They were discussed across all timeframes and experiences. Mentorship and its importance in pursuit of recruiting and re taining girls in STEM classes and careers is well documented in the secondary and post secondary/workforce literature (AAUW, 2010). Receiving mentorship was not represented or discussed by any of the four participants, but complex and nuanced relationship s were discussed in all categories. These relationships included siblings, parents as an entity, (whether divorced or married), influence of individua l parents and spouses/partners.

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98 Relationships also included relationships with teachers, other students a nd peers. Relationships with teachers has been reported as important to identity of students as learners (Hargreaves, 2000; Zapata & Gillard, 2007; Upadhyay, 2009) Participants in this study discussed relationships with teachers that made them enjoy the ir tasks, whether informal or formal. For example, Bethany shared about the positive relationship she and her family had with her sixth grade teacher, who used a multi disciplinary approach and included hands on science concepts across many subjects where students contri buted in many positive ways. Participants also reported relationships with teachers that made them dread tasks and/ doubt themselves and their abilities. For example Janelle reported having had a previously positive relationship with a mat hematics teacher in which humor was used, and she enjoyed math followed by a relationship with a different teacher in the next grade level in which she was considered a low functioning student and moved to a differen t math class. Relationships with teacher s have also been reported related to formal student achievement and access to STEM content (Rivoli & Ralston, 2009; Fus ko & Calabrese Barton, 2001). Participants in this study shared how relationships with teachers led them to take a certain class or try a certain task. For example, Jessica described how her relationship with her high school physics teacher led her to take more physics classes, and eventually influenced her decision to major in physics in post secondary education. Melanie reported being s elected for a gifted and talented program in elementary school, but choose not to participate after discovering the relational style of the teacher and the content they would be accessing. Melanie requested wanting to sit on chairs instead of bean bags, a nd to be able to read. However, she was not allowed to sit in a chair, and the only choice of topic for study, selected by the teacher, was Blooms Taxonomy. She went on to report a relationship with a

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99 gifted and talented teacher in her secondary experien ce that opened up content to the small group of students by giving them choices, as well as encouraging the students to examine their lives and interact with each other. In the workforce, participants discussed relationships with their supervisors and also with their peers. Melanie and Jessica both discussed difficult relationships with their supervisors related to safety, training and supporting them with relevant and appropriate challenges fitting their positions. However, Bethany discussed a supportive empowering relationship with a supervisor that led to her pursuing more leadership and educational opportunities. Additionally, Janelle reported a supportive environment at work, that motivated her to pursue mentoring other women, although she herself w as not mentored. Two of the four case study participants, Jessica and Melanie, reported that relationships at work were at least in part why they chose to leave their physics and engineering professions. Workforce literature has discussed environments th at are conducive to more gender equitable working environments (AAUW, 2010). However, this literature does not specificall y discuss relationships. The multi faceted web of relationships that respondents discussed could be seen as funds of knowledge that g irls and women possess and used as more of an asset based resource (Go nzalez, Moll & Amanti, 2006). In addition, the importance of relationships in all their facets could be conceptualized as vital and not as soft skills, which occurs in both school and w ork e nvironments (Carlone, 2004). Of interest for possible further study is the parental relationships that emerged that included 3 of the 4 participants having at least one, and in two cases, two engineer parents. In addition, further study on the specif ic types of relationships that all participants described,

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100 even though all participants did not represent relationships is also worth further study. Relationships that were mentioned were parents combined, siblings, classmates, teachers, individual parent s, and friends. Since every participant described relationships in some form, and relationships are included in all the contexts described, more attention to this finding could possibly add depth and more contextual informat ion about women's experiences. Contextual Critical Junctures Using data from a pilot study, along with categories in literature the framework of Contextual Critical Junctures was developed. The experiences women reported with their images and captions, along with the photo elicitation interviews revealed experiences and their contexts that were identified by the CCJ framework The three elements of a Co ntextual Critical Juncture are: 1. The experience can be articulated and represented 2. The experience had an impression on the participant' s view of themselves or their abilities 3. T he participant may or may not have had control over the situation In other words, the framework consists of experiences, impressions and agency. Upon analysis, the researcher identified five CCJ that emerged from the data collected in this study. These are more than merely important experiences, or when the experiences occurred. These five Contextual Critical Junctures, include a dynamic nature, and meet the three elements of expe rience, impression and agency. C ontextual Critical Juncture 1: Mathematics Back and Forth Mathematics has been reported by several researchers to be a key influence in females' STEM achievement. These researchers report mathematics participation as a

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101 predictor of student achievement su ccess while in formal secondary schooling as well as a predictor of success in future STEM career choices. However, the literature reports achievement in mathematics as a one time event, often centered around taking algebra or AP mathematics classes (AAUW 2010; Core ll, 2001,2004; Kinzie, 2007). Each of the four participants described m athematics in accordance to the Contextual Critical Juncture framework. Beyond what is reported in the literature on females and mathematics, participants reported having a fondness and even love of mathematics and accompanying tasks. These tasks and activities associated with mathematics included logic puzzles and games, beginning in elementary school. There was the expected result from one participant of not liking mathe matics or seeing herself as capable in mathematics in middle school years (AAUW, 2010). However, this participant had loved mathematics, then had a difficult time in mathematics, including relationally with teachers, and then grew to love mathematics agai n in her undergraduate experience. Loving mathematics again in her undergraduate experience included seeing herself as able, and finding a way to be in a study group where she gave and received support. Implications include providing space for girls to m ove through love and struggle in mathematics, and not merely reporting on a fixed incident, course or teacher. There is room to enjoy, struggle, love and hate mathematics within mathematical experiences through elementary, secondary and post secondary exp eriences. The way a females assess themselves as proficient or able in mathematics has been reported, but not over time, merely in one inst ance (Corell, 2001;2004). Participants shared that they had always loved math, and enjoyed the connections to mathem atics in their lives, and with other subjects. For example, Melanie discussed the importance of mathematics in her current life, related to patterns in crafting and making lace.

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102 Janelle reported the importance of mathematics and problem solving throughout her struggles with math and into her current life situation. These types of experience are not reported in the literature as well as the gatekeeping components of a fixed mindset or one point of measuring mathematical achievement (Dweck, 2008). Providin g opportunities for girls to connect math with other subjects or interests, as well as providing them with the opportunity to support others and be supported may continue to provider her access to mathematics content. The current maker space/tinkering mov ement could be a way to provide this cont ent and access (Guthrie, 2014). Contextual Critical Juncture 2: Playing and Doing Another CCJ that emerged from the data is the importance of playing and doing. Participants shared that playing and doing occurred i n all timeframes they experienced. Examples included playing family games, doing tasks with family members and friends and the enjoyment associated with play. Across all timeframes of elementary, secondary and post secondary/workforce, participants discu sse d this CCJ extensively. Play has been reported in early childhood literature as a way for students to learn social skills and practice life and school tasks. Play has also been reported in relation to taking breaks from schooling or as a recreational p ursuit (Samuelsson, 2004; Howard, 2010). Recently, play as learning has been reported, but mostly in early childhood and preschool literature (Samuelsson, 2004). Participants in this study reported playing and doing across more timeframes than early child hood. In formal contexts of science and mathematics education, playing and doing is not often incorporated. There are challenges related to the high stakes testing policies in formal settings that exclude play. However, these participants included play as aligning with

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103 a Contextual Critical Juncture. There are opportunities to explore playing and doing in both formal and informal contexts. One possible arena for this exploration could be makerspace/tinkering in both sch ool and out of school settings. C ontextual Critical Juncture 3: Music Performance and Enjoyment All respondents reported that music was an important experience in their lives. The analysis of participants' experiences of music aligns with the Critical C ontextual Juncture framework. Part icipants described listening to music, performing music and engineering related to music in their interviews. The literature has reported that there is a tie with music and mathematical thinking, but respondents discussed more than a similarity or connect ion with music and mathematical thinking (Benson, 2008; Collins, 2005; Edwards, 2011). They all expressed an enjoyment of both playing and listening to music, as well as a way of learning mathematics and science. Jessica described her STEM magnet school as teaching mathematics with music. Bethany described being an accomplished clarinetist and a family in which singing was important. She described sing ing and playing music as a way to organize her thoughts. Melanie described listening to classical musi c from an early age and her enjoyment of this practice. She also describes how listening to music gives her joy and a way of detecting patterns and details. Janelle reported the importance of sound to her education and career, and how using music in a mi ddle school science class left her with a question that she did not resolve until her college years. This question propelled her into a change from being a music major to an engineering major. The participants in this study did not comment on achievement s cores being higher in students that are involved with music than those that are not (AAUW, 2010). They described a joy of music performance and listening as a vehicle for mathematics and science learning.

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104 This type of context is less researched than achi evement scores or mu sic and mathematical thinking. Contextual Critical Juncture 4: Communities of Faith Three of the four respondents discussed faith and being a part of faith community as experiences that emerged as a Contextual Critical Juncture. Partic ipants did not refer to religion in particular or a specific denomination, but did discuss faith and the communities and cultures related to these communities. In the public discourse, there is discussion on the perceived antagonism between a faith and sc ientific pursuits. There is less discussion on the elements of faith and the faith community related to personal abilities, making a difference in the community and the impacts of a faith community on women and their roles in society. Participants discuss ed being influenced by their faith communities. This influence included receiving both support and resistance related to their STEM pursuits. One example Melanie gave is that she wanted to make a difference with her career. Making a difference was a tene t of her faith community. Bethany gave examples of her faith giving her an openness to seek her own path and a way to resolve problems and work through issues and put things in perspective. She credits this to her faith, as opposed to a specific denomina tion. Jessica described her faith community as influential in her views on women and leadership both within and without of her church culture. She has had to reject parts of this culture as she p ursued her STEM career. Making a difference has been resear ched as a reason that women can be recruited and drawn to engineering fields but not in the context of faith or faith communities (Zohar & Sela, 2003; Eccles, 2007). With participants in this study, they shared specially about this difference related to t heir faith community. It is possible for women to want to make a

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105 difference without having a faith community, but there is more to explore with faith communities as a Contextua l Critical Juncture. Identity literature has discussed the ways that girls asse ss their STEM performance and learning (Corell, 2001, 2004; Carlone 2004, Upadhyay, 2009). However, identity and STEM performance and learning related to a higher power, faith or faith communities is less well documented. More research is needed on how f aith and faith communities influence STEM pursuits across elementary, secondary and post secondary/work timeframes as well as informal and formal experiences. Contextual Critical Juncture 5: Interpersonal Interconnectedness Interpersonal Interconnectednes s is used here as the o verlap of the experiences of 1. Challenges and support at work and in schooling 2. Appearances 3. B iases All respondents reported that they have had to make choices regarding what two participants called being fully expressed. They could ch oose to love performing music or take advanc ed math classes but not both. They could choose to remain in a position where they were not given support or challenges, but they were fitting in to the work culture but not both. They could choose to wear a sk irt or dress or be taken seriously in their endeavors in work and school ing but not both. All participants had to navigate the biases that they themselves had or that others had related to women participating and achieving as STEM students and employees (V alian, 1998; Nosek, 2002; AAUW, 2010). For example, one participant responded she was not aware that girls were not in her physics classes until a boy in her class pointed that out.

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106 Additionally, respondents discussed having to find study and work suppor t colleagues as they were often the only females or in a small group of fema les in their classes or work. Participants discovered that it was vital to have help or be the help in work and study groups. This allowed demonstration of skills and knowledge, while also taking initiative to find supports in order to complete courses or projects. Participants reported a change in their thinking ask as well as a change in peer thinking when working and studying in groups. All participants described supports and challenges. Supports included having opportunities to lead projects, run meetings and be trained on using tools or equipment safely. Supports also included having opportunities for advanced education and flexible schedules. Challenges included finding p eers and colleagues with whom to study with and problem solve and navigating classes and worksites where they were the only female or part of a small group of females. Challenges also included dealing with language and behaviors that were unsafe or exclus ionary. Appearance was mentioned as a source of distress in the workplace, and at times in post secondary schooling. Having appearance tied to competency occurred in some form with three of the four respondents. Appearance was also used as a tool related to safety on the worksite. For example, one woman would wear a long skirt if she was not in the field taking measurements. She was singled out regarding her appearance as not being safe. This was confusing to her, as she was an entry level employee, and asked for guidance on safe attire because she did not feel unsafe in her skirt. She was never given guidance on appearance, clothing and safety but was often called out on her appearance as not being safe. One respondent replied that every woman of her a cquaintance in science or engineering experienced comments related to he r gender and appearance.

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107 Although no literature was found dealing directly with appearance, there is literature that is relevant, regarding being well liked. When women are in male do minated fields, such as science and engineering, and are successful, they are less liked than their male counterparts. They experience derogatory instances, lower evaluations and less awards (Heilman & Okimoto, 2007). All the women in this study had dist ress over their appearance, which led to feelings of isolation or being les s liked then their male peers. Interpersonal Interconnectedness as a Contextual Critical Juncture encompasses the complexity among biases, supports and challenges and appearance tha t study participants revealed. The participants had choices to make that oftentimes did not allow for them to feel fully expressed in their identities. Providing ways to address these areas of interpersonal interconnectednes so more females feel fully e xpressed is an area for further research. Recommendations as a Result of This Study Experiences that women identified as contextual critical junctures in their STEM careers emerged from the study data. These contextual critical junctures exist in both inf ormal and formal domains and provide some insights into the educational experiences we create for all students, including females. Specifically, since much of the education takes place in k 12 settings, the study findings have implications and can inform both k 12 education and teacher preparation. The distilling of content and rich experiences into contextual themes that can be represented graphically and can be easily communicated may influence scientists and policy makers thick description narratives a re often inaccessible and difficult to apply to instruction, policy, and decisions. These implications will be discussed in more d epth in the following sections.

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108 K 12 Teacher Preparation and Practice The CCJ framework uses Standpoint Feminism as a justi fication for including complex, contextual, human stories as a means for influencing social and institutional change. One facet of Standpoint Feminism includes the narratives of women and their experiences as a means of knowledge production. Although the stories of participants were complex and nuanced, the CCJ framework revealed simple scenarios that could be easily incorporated into teacher preparation and practice. For example, there is a complex relationship between formal and informal experiences, a nd between games and mathematics in a woman's life, but this finding could be enacted in a school day by including the opportunity to play games an d solve logic puzzles. Another example of enacting the complex relationship between formal and informal exper iences is to create learning environments that include more than one subject and family involvement. Imagine what could happen in a teacher preparation program and k 12 classrooms if mathematics and music were taught together and included family engagemen t. Institutions that have traditionally housed formal experiences, such as schools, could be repurposed to include informal experiences and activities such as crafting, "making" and "doing" with family members, or simply including more opportunities for s tudents to share family and peer experiences. This would allow for students and their funds of knowledge to be used in learning (Gonzalez, Moll & Amanti, 2006). Teacher preparation programs could also explore how informal science education can be incorpo rated with formal experiences. Enacting simple and small changes could have a complex and critical impact on STEM teaching and learning for girls. As we increasingly collect more empirical support for such findings these types of programs can be justifie d and institutionalized. More research needs

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109 to be done to determine on a broader scale, the types of CCJs that are most representative of women in the STEM workfo rce. Methodological Implications The development of the CCJ framework as a systematic way of including and representing nuanced narratives would be useful in collaboration across disciplines. This collaboration could be across professionals in STEM disciplines, across teaching subjects or creating alternative spaces where students could explore in terdisciplinary learning. Current, policy and organizational systems make this type of collaboration difficult. The maker space movement along with design work being incorporated into k 12 learning and STEM professions could be a way to begin to address m ore robust collaboration across disciplines, subjects and informal and formal learning spaces. These types of collaborations can bring about more access and equitable opport unities across learning spaces. According to institutional theory, science can be considered an institution that includes structures, influences and participants. Science as an institution has its own impacts on those included and excluded from the institution. The types of theory and frameworks used within the institution of science typically do not include data such as narratives, images and human experiences. Standpoint Feminism would identify these often excluded narratives, images and human experiences from the institution of science as strong objectivity. Strong objectivity cou ld be enacted in the institution of science by including more narratives, images and human experiences contained within a framework such as the one that Contextual Critical Junctures provides. CCJ as a framework brings an analytical tool to the institutio n of science that is a way to share narratives and discreet, contextual experiences. These experiences need to be shared, communicated and appropriated within

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110 the scientific community as a means for achieving social and institutional change. This change is needed for greater inclusion and progress within the scientific community. CCJ can act as a bridge between education research on the importance of experiences women identify and the parameters and limitations STEM disciplines seek to be more inclusive, but don't quite know how to go about doing so. E ducation to Workforce Continuum Missed Opportunities That women identified CCJ's as early as their elementary settings is cause for both excitement and concern. It is exciting that elementary education is s o important to the evolving identities and futures of girls and women. It is concerning that policies and practices currently prioritize teacher effectiveness and high stakes testing, and the scientific community often does not see elementary education or elementary teacher education as their responsibility, and if they do, they don't know how to engage. Institutional theory helps us understand the influence of institutions beyond the actual enactment of the policies. Beyond the policy of testing and acco untability, the subjects of English language arts and mathematics are communicated as the most important measure of achievement. These subjects are then taught in isolation of other subjects and not in an interdisciplinary manner, or connected to more tha n the achievement tests. It is a missed opportunity to connect with students' funds of knowledge, and provide a community of practice where many levels of interests and participation is welcomed and encouraged (Gonzalez, Moll & Amanti, 2006; Lave and Weng er, 1991). Institutions such as formal school can legitimize who is and is not a part of the community, and what types of experiences are seen as important. The experiences women in this study share show that interdisciplinary experiences, across many

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111 ti mes and spaces informed their STEM education and work and were Contextual Critical Junctures. The identification of CCJ's could lead to the development of Communities of Practice in k 12 formal and informal settings (Lave &Wenger, 1991). They could includ e many levels of participation from like minded individuals and be centered on the experiences of choice from the students and/or teachers together. Within Communities of Practice, relationships could be highlighted among and between different levels of p articipation. This could include giving and receiving study/learning support from fellow students, and relating with the teacher as a guide and support, not as merely an authority figure making all the decisions on learning. Creating Communities of Pract ice could include some of the elements from their faith communities and familial relationships that are typically not able to be controlled in a k 12 formal or informal environment. The support of knowing they were not alone and wanting to make a differen ce could be made explicit. Members of a Community of Practice could be interested in many different disciplines and experiences and explore and practice these interests in a supportive, community environment. Including women in the production of knowled ge, especially in the sciences and in science education is critical. The empirical finding that elementary as well as secondary schooling is a rich time for CCJ creation is cause for rethinking our k 12 institutions and experiences and the roles that thos e that interact with them have. Recommendations for Future Research The development of CCJs as an analytic framework is a useful tool for further research. It could be used to analyze other underrepresented groups in STEM education and careers to increase our understanding of increasing equity and access. The CCJ framework

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112 could also inform teaching preparation and practice, as briefly mentioned above, related to the important experiences during k 12 years for women's identities. The Contextual Critical Junctures that were identified allow for conversations around brining those critical junctures together in both formal and informal settings. For example, breaking down curricular barriers and allowing students to participate and connect their math and mu sic experiences, or their relationships with math and music experiences. The CCJ framework opens the door for inclusionary practices across k 12 and work enviro nments. Finally, the development of CCJ as an analytical tool allows a bridge between those dis ciplines such as educational research that employ critical and feminist theories to collaborate and work within other disciplines that frequently do not use these theoretical lenses. It provides a way to use the stories and experiences that are not often used among scientists in their research, to provide a common language, and a rigorous methodology tool to analyze the stories and experiences that are impacting the diversity or lack t hereof of the STEM workforce. Further work can be done on the many ways that the Contextual Critical Junctures intersect and overlap. Further work can also be done on using this framework to analyze other marginalized groups in the hope that we can provide a more equitable teaching and learning practice that lead to a more eq uitable work force. Conclusion The images, captions and interviews used in this study allowed participants to express the complexity and richness of their experiences that are not fully captured in literature on the disparity of women in science and engine ering fields or in literature on reaching girls

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113 with science and engineering. Perhaps this perspective can help us move forward in our quest for equity and social justice.

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118 Mertens, D.M. (2003). Mixed models and politics of human research: The transforma tive emancipatory perspective. In A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie (Eds.), Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research (pp. 135 166). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Meyer, J.W. (1977). The effects of education as an institution. The American Journal of Sociology, 83 55 77. Merriam, S.B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. Metcalf, H. (2010). Stuck in the pipeline: A critical review of STEM workforce literature. InterActions: UCLA Jo urnal of Education and Information Studies, (6), 1 20. Hill, C., Corbett, C., & St. Rose, A. (2010). Why so few?: Women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Washington, DC: AAUW. Kinzie, J. (2007). Women's paths in science: A critical fe minist analysis. New Directions for Institutional Research, doi:10.1002/ir Nosek, B. A., Banaji, M. R., & Greenwald, A. G. (2002a). Harvesting implicit group attitudes and beliefs from a demonstration web site. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practi ce, 6 101 15. Riegle Crumb, C., King, B., Grodsky, E. & Muller, C. (2012). The more things change, the more they stay the same? Prior achievement fails to explain gender inequality into STEM college majors over time. American Educational Research Journal 49, 1048 1073. Rivoli, G. J., & Ralston, P.A.S. (2009). American Society of Engineering Education Southest Section Conference. Rodriguez, A.J. (1997). The dangerous discourse of invisibility: a critique of the national research council's national s cience education standards. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34, 19 37. Rose, G. (2012). Visual methodologies: An introduction to research with visual materials. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Samuelsson, I. P. (2004). How do children tell us about their childhoods. Early Childhood Research and Practice 6 (1), 1 16. Schwartz, D. (1989) Visual Ethnography: Using Photography in Qualitative Research. Qualitative Sociology 12, 2, 119 154. Scott, W.R. (1995). Institutions and Organizations Thousdan Oaks, CA : Sage.

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119 Simard, C., Henderson, A. D., Gilmartin, S. K., Schiebinger, L., & Whitney, T. (2008). Climbing the technical ladder: Obstacles and solutions for mid level women in technology. Stanford, CA: Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanf ord University, & Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. Stake, R.E. (2006). Multiple case study analysis New York, NY: Guilford Press. Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (Eds.). (2003). Handbook of mixed methods in social & behavioral research. Tho usand Oaks, CA: Sage. Teddlie, C. & Yu, F. (2007). Mixed methods sampling: A typology with examples. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1 77 100. Tinkler, P. (2013). Using photographs in social and historical research. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Upadhyay, B. (2009). Middle school science teachers' perceptions of social justice: A study of two female teachers. Equity and Excellence in Education, 43 56 71. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013). Women in the labor force: A data book (BLS Report No. 1040). R etrieved from website: http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf databook 2012.pdf U.S. Department of Education, Ed.gov. (2014). Setting the pace: Expanding opportunity for American's students under Race to the Top. Retrieved from website:http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/settingthepacerttreport_3 2414_b.pdf. U.S. Department of Education, Ed.gov. (2014). Science, Technology, Engineering and Math: Education for Global Leadership. Retrieved fr om website: http://www.ed.gov/stem Valian, V. (1998). Why so slow? The advancement of women. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Wiseman, D.L. (2012). The intersection of policy, reform, and teacher education. Journal of Te acher Education, 63, 87 91. Xie, Y., & Shauman, K. A. (2003). Women in science: Career processes and outcomes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Xu, Y.J. (2008). Gender disparity in STEM disciplines: A study of faculty attrition and turnover inten tions. Research in Higher Education 49, 607 624. doi:10.1007/s11162 008 9097 4. Yin, R. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods Beverly Hills.

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120 Zapata, M., & Gallard, A.J. (2007). Female science beliefs and attitudes: implications in relation to gender and pedagogical practice. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 2, 923 985. Zohar, A., & Sela, D. (2003). Her physics, his physics: gender issues in Israeli advanced physics placement classes. International Journal of Science Educat ion 25, 245 2

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121 APPENDI CES APPENDIX A INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS COMIRB 15 0207, 01/28/15 Initi al Interview Script/Protocol 1: Thank you for agreeing to participate in this study. We will be going over the consent form and basic instructions related to the study. You will be collecting at least 10 digital images of representations of critical experiences in your STEM education and career. These images can be stock images that are available for public use on the Internet. Alternatively, you may choos e to take the images yourself. For example, if reading influenced you toward STEM education and careers, you could take an image of a book. Another example would be if you were in a class in elementary school and the teacher only called on boys, you could take an image of something that represents that teacher or classroom. The images can be anything that you consider critical to your STEM education and career, whether these experiences would be considered positive or negative. After you take the images, o r find them on the internet, you will write a caption about the image. I am asking you to gather images that come from the following categories: 1. Elementary experiences (k 5) Anything pertaining to classroom or school related 2. Secondary experiences (6 12) Anything pertaining to classroom or school related 3. Informal experiences anything outside of the school day, or as a supplement to k 12 schoolin g 4. Relational experiences Anything that includes a relationship or connection with a person or group, including formal and informal mentoring 5. Anything else not already catagorized You may need time to reflect on your education and work history. You may find or take an image that could go in more than one category. You can decide what category you would like the photo/image to belong in. Please do not take any images of specific, identifiable people without their written permission. For example, if you t ake a photo of your mother, get her written permission from the form I will share with you. An alternative to taking a picture of your mother is to take a photo or image of things that represent your mother. These might include a color or personal item. Yo u would caption the photo/image as you wish to describe its importance. You may share the images with me electronically to an email account only accessible by me.

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122 After you have taken at least 10 digital images or photos, we will meet and have a 30 60 min ute semi structured photo/image elicitation interview. This interview will be recorded, but you will not be identified by personal information. If you have questions at any time, or decide not to participate, please refer to the consent form for phone numb ers and emails of the researcher and review board. Thank you for your consideration. Interview Protocol 2 01/28/15 1. What does this photo/image represent? 2. Why did you take this? 3. What is significant or critical about this photo/image? 4. What would you like me to know about this photo/image? 5. What photos/images did you not take? 6. Why did you not include certain photos/images? 7. What categories would you create for your photos/images? 8. Are you aware of any policies in place that helped or hindered your educational an d career attainment in STEM? 9. Is there anything else you would like me to know?

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123 APPENDIX B GLOSSARY OF TERMS Common Core : Common educational standards emerging from United States governors to try and improve workforce readiness, and a common educational e xperience among US students. If states adopt Common Core standards, they are then required to use a testing service aligned with the standards. Educational funding can be tied to whether or not a state adopts the standards. In addition, several states us e the Common Core and its required assessment to enact a teacher evaluation based in part on test scores. Equity : E qual opportunity and access to experiences and opportunities Intersectionality : The intertwining of more than one condition or state of bei ng that cannot be completely separated regarding experiences or identity NGSS : Next Generation Science Standards. Science standards developed in collaboration with education professionals and STEM professionals to promote more depth in science teaching a nd learning and cross cutting concepts among disciplines. It is not a requirement to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards in educational settings Race to the Top : A government initiative to incentivize adoption of Common Core standards, serving st udents in poverty and teacher evaluation tie d to assessment. Grants are applied for from districts and states who meet the criteria. Workforce readiness, often with a science, technology, engineering, mathematics focus is a component. STEM : Science, Tech no logy, Engineering, Mathematics. Used interchangeably regarding clas ses and careers in these areas.

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124 APPENDIX C PARTICIPANT IMAGES AND CAPTIONS Janelle 1. Donatello was my favorite ninja turtle. I liked his purple color and that he was super smart and kn ew how to use technology. He was also inventing and fixing things and I thought that was awesome. Donatello was an influence at least through elementary school. 2. My dad used to let me change the oil with him (when I was young, elementary school aged). I loved being on the wheelie thing (which is called a creeper) and it wasn't until many years later that I realized this had an impact in my enjoyment of doing things. I also enjoyed watching my dad weld, and when I got to help him use the various tools in his workshop. 3. In high school, I was in an intro to engineering class. We were participating in a robot building competition. Instead of participating in actually building the robot, I offered to take the photos and create our journal because most of t he rest of the class was male and I

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125 didn't think they would do a good job, and because I didn't think anyone would take my ideas seriously. I regret this decision. 4. I loved math in elementary school. In middle school I started struggling with it, and in high school I avoided it as best I could. This fear of math helped guide me towards music as a career first. 5. I loved doing logic puzzles in elementary school. Problem solving is something that I feel I am quite good at. 6. Music has always been a big i nfluencer. In high school I wanted to pursue music in college. When I applied to ____ the form asked for 3 interests. I listed music, engineering, and then history, because those were things I was interested in. After I had submitted my application I pa rticipated in the ___ Honor Band. There was a chair placement audition, that I found out later, also counted as an audition into the school of music. When I chose CSU as a school, I had never officially picked a major. I was listed as being a general mu sic major, but the best guess I have is that that was taken from my application, and not because I actually applied. I was interested in engineering, but since I hadn't taken a math class since my sophomore year of high school, I was perfectly content to leave it behind.

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126 7. ______ Concert Hall is the location where I decided I no longer wanted to be a music major and wanted to study Acoustics. In 6th grade I had a science lecture in which a bunch of principles in sound were discussed. I had it in my mind that these things were unchangeable. Shortly after the concert hall was completed we had rehearsal in the space and the acoustician in charge of designing the space, gave us a lecture. His lecture shattered my long held beliefs about sound and helped gui de me towards acoustics, which in turn led me towards engineering. 8. I've always been a problem solver. When I was younger, that problem solving came in the form of finding creative ways to avoid doing housework. 9. In high school I got a taste of building things, by participating in set construction for the theater program. I enjoyed using tools and seeing the sets created.

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127 10. My 7th grade teacher told my mom that I wasn't cut out for algebra, because I didn't do well in school. She only taught her classe s one way, and it wasn't the way I learned. Her hours for help were on her terms, and her help consisted of teaching it the same exact way as she had in class. I struggled in her class, and that was the beginning of my fear of math.

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128 Jessica 1. As a young professional, my supervisor pulled me aside one day to make sure we were on the same page as to why there were more male physicists than female ones. He said that it was because there were more male geniuses, but that it was not sexist at all because ther e were also more male felons. I took this to management and they told me that they were aware he had a problem with women, but there was nothing that could be done. 2. The elementary school I went to was a STEM magnet school in Houston. My parents put me th ere to avoid the bad Houston urban schools and because it was relatively close to where we lived. I remember loving it. They had a particular emphasis on music, and I recall associating keyboard lessons with math. 3. After leaving Houston, I was enrolled in a public school in the town we moved to. This school had a "Challenge" program, where students were taken to a once weekly off

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129 campus program. We would do logic games and learn math or other topics. Here I was exposed to computers and calligraphy and math at a higher level. I recall sitting on a swing set in fourth grade, telling another student (who was not in the program) about exponents. 4. I think I was either sheltered or blissfully ignorant that there were different expectations on men and women. I rem ember when I first really noticed it. In my junior year of undergrad, I was in an upper level physics lab and I was the only female. I don't remember exactly what was said, but my lab partners made some comment about my gender and I was surprised. It felt like I was just told I had a third arm that I had been unaware of my whole life. Oh! Yes! I guess I am a woman... 5. After my father left when I was 7, my household was entirely women (me, my mother, my two sisters and all of our female pets!). My mother had studied biology but never pursued it as a career. I don't think that I was exposed to many of the w ays that girls and boys were tre ated differently, just from lack of opportunity.

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130 6. When I was a child I asked for an Erector Set for Christmas several years in a row, but I was told no. My mother thought that I would injure myself! She also thought this about many other "boy" type activities yard work, fixing things. I wish I had been allowed to explore this interest more as a child. I still love building an d creating things. 7. This is a hard one. There is an expectation on women to be beauty focused. There is an expectation in physics not to be. I felt a lot of pressure to be "more feminine" from my family ("Why don't you wear a pair of skinny jeans and fanc y shoes to the office? It would help you") and the opposite from my work life. I didn't realize how much of a dissonance this was until I left the field and worked in a job that required a more "professional" appearance. All of a sudden everyone was comfor table with my outfit and I wasn't violating any expectations on either side. 8. I picked the church to represent culture. In this case, my husband comes from a conservative church culture that does not allow women to lead. They take this to the extreme that a woman can't lead off a hymn (even if it starts with a soprano part), and can't teach boys over the age of 12. Not everyone in the church believes this, but this is a persistent influence in my life.

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131 9. This is probably the hardest thing for me to deal wi th. It's the angry disbelief that I have experienced some of the things I have. I've been told that I'm making things up (that guy didn't really grab your crotch in the office), that there is not gender bias in physics, and that women have it easier than m en. All of this may be true (although I don't believe it is), but the persist barrage of people trying to convince me that my perception of reality is wrong was exhausting. 10. When I was in college, I struggled with classical mechanics. I went to the Profe ssor to ask for help and he told me that I would never get an A because I would just use it to try to go to medical school, like the other women who majored in physics. 11. My high school physics teacher was very influential in my choice to major in physics. I always enjoyed her class, her practical attitude and her no nonsense approach to life. She loved cats, so this image represents her.

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132 12. I actually started as a chemistry major in undergrad. I quickly found out that my memory skills were terrible. I was d rawn to physics because it seems so self contained if I couldn't remember a principle, it was possible to just rederive it! It all made sense. I sw itched in my first year

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133 Melanie 1. Music: For the Heart and Mind From early childhood, I listened to classi cal music, as I'm doing with rapt attention in this photo. As I grew, I learned that math and science are important to the composition and performance of music, but they don't fully describe or encompass it. This awareness helped me make connections betwee n math and science and other areas of learning. When I left engineering for the world of human services and spiritual formation, I didn't stop hearing and seeing math and science in people, music, and art. In fact, my engineering experiences informed my ex ploration of and problem solving in my new disciplines. My father is an electrical engineer who "engineers" his way through every aspect of his life. He was the one to put earphones on my little head, and he was the one who taught me to appreciate and lear n classical music. I like to think that his influence contributes to the fluid relationships I experience between engineering, humanistic, and artistic approaches to life. 2. Always Investigatin g This is a macro photo of the inner cell structure o f a dried reed, taken with an iP hone that's been fitted with a collimating/magnifying lens from a broken laser pointer. My husband came up with this idea for a macro lens for his smartphone, and then made little lens housings (out of cardboard and rubber bands) for me and our two kids. This is one way that the legacy of "engineering through life" has emerged in my family. We each uniquely contribute to exploring the "how" and "why" of nature and human endeavors. In this instance, I collected the dried reed, pulled a part the blade, and eventually noticed the intricacy of this cell arrangement, almost invisible to the naked eye. My husband contributed a way to see the structure up close, and my kids took pleasure at looking through the photos I took and noticing differ ent things about what emerged.

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134 3. Craft and Math A close up of my prayer altar features hand turne d bowls and miniatures from each of my grandfathers. Both of them worked with machines; one was a metal machinist and the other was a hydraulics mechanic. In each case, their work experiences appeared to translate naturally into woodworking hobbies during retirement. With an urge to enhance the simple beauty of three bowls, I designed lace to cover them, and I often fill them with artifacts from my life (such a s collected rocks and a card from my daughter). I first learned crochet for a similar lace project, and since that time, I have crocheted lace exclusively freehand, without a pattern. It seems that I am tapping into a branch of my cultural and intellectual inheritance when I create entirely unique, geometric lace patterns like the ones in this photo. In this way, I am also like both of my grandmothers, who used math and science to run every aspect of busy domestic lives, including sewing, knitting, and croc het. 4. Same Difference This photo captures a season of my kids' play, in which they combined manual typewriter technology with a wireless computer keyboard and mouse. My kids used to keep a "blog" on this typewriter, as they played video games on the comp uter. Their "blog" was usually filled with the day's news and silly banter. To my kids, typing is a necessary skill, but that wasn't the case for me when I was young. This photo reminds me of learning to type 55+ wpm on the Apple IIe at age 12, when none o f my friends had any interest in typing. The next year, when I took a typing class as a stress free elective, my typing speed was throttled by the challenge of using a manual typewriter. I was dismayed to be accountable for good typing without a "backspace key". My teacher showed no respect for my (computer) keyboarding skills, concerned only with accuracy on one of the ancient machines in her classroom. Because I loved a challenge, I gradually improved my manual typewriting skills until they rivaled my key boarding speed and accuracy. It wasn't an easy "A", but I was proud to be a proficient scribe, whether analog or digital. My keyboarding skills, combined with newfound patience for repetitive typing gained me

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135 a data entry job with the county at the surpris ingly young age of 13. My work was to transcribe noxious weed complaints and compliance notes. At first, full time employees did double takes when they walked by my workstation. I understood that they were surprised to see a kid working in the office, not to mention a kid working on a computer. 5. Special Delivery This stock photo of vacuum tubes reminds me of those my father frequently ordered and had delivered to our house by a friend from a local electronics business. My father repaired TVs and radios fo r all manner of friends and family throughout my childhood. In my mind, every kid in the world knew that these were delicate, and to treat them carefully when a delivery was left between the screen and entry doors. I loved to take them out of their boxes a nd look at the intricate structures inside, but I didn't really understand how they worked until college, when I learned how they worked by learning how the transistor functionally replaced them. 6. A Beautiful Road My mother, the chief civil engineer for o ur county, was awed by the revolutionary design of this road through one of Colorado's most beautiful canyons. We took a family trip one year to see it, but to our chagrin, it was before the project was complete, because she had a need to see "all the way down to the rebar". While I was annoyed by the lengthy traffic delays, I was, like my mother, impressed by the road. In the years since this first trip through the canyon, I have become more impressed by the landscape and how the road, itself, is a thing o f beauty, and is far from detracting from the natural landscape.

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136 7. Functional and Beautiful These decorated hard hats remind me of my mother's hard hat, which she lacquered in gold paint and embellished with decoupage flowers in the early 70's. She was the first woman engineer in the county where she got her first civil engineering job. While it meant that I was in childcare full time from the age of 2 months, she pursued her career in engineering with confidence and intense dedication. Without anger, but p oised and fueled from within, she demonstrated that it is normal for women to work in "a man's world". In the last years of her career, she was frequently recognized by road and bridge professionals and organizations for excellence in her engineering pract ice and leadership. However, I think the thing I like most about her career was seeing her unique personality emerge in surprising ways, as it did with her gold lacquered and decoupaged hard hat, or her easy rapport with everyone from county commissioners to public works employees, many of whom adored and respected her. 8. Good Luck with That This is a skyward perspective of the shaft of the ______Observatory tower. During a long running experiment at _____, where I worked for five years, I calibrated equip ment distributed on the tower. I loved the challenge and independence of working my way up and down the levels to traverse all 300M of the structure via elevator, onto platforms, while fitted with a waist harness. In my time at _____, this was the only ass ignment for which I received helpful, supportive training. In my lab of about twenty people, four were women: two administrative staff, one scientist, and one electrical engineer (me!). I was expected to become proficient with far more equipment than I lea rned to use in engineering school. While I was eager to learn, and ended up learning many skills that continue to serve me (electric drill and circular saw, for instance), few of my superiors or fellow engineers (all male) taught me well. I often went away from teaching/demonstration interactions feeling inept, foolish, or improperly dressed. My female classmates were experiencing similar treatment in their first engineering jobs, and my mother told me that it was "nothing new" to her, either. This unsuppor tive environment was a contributing factor in my exit from the field of engineering.

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137 9. Big Risk and Big Reward The road leads to a schoolhouse in sub Saharan Africa, where I taught English and got a feel for working in the developing world. It often flood ed after rainy season storms, keeping me and others away from school and work for 1 3 days at a time. While the water is relatively shallow, almost any standing water is an easy way to contract typhoid fever or other illnesses, so we kept our distance and waited it out. One of my reasons for taking this job involved continuing my research into places where engineers can make a difference. I only met one engineer while in Africa: he was an American expatriate, and primarily used his prowess to trick out his family's humble home with crazy, retrofitted technology. His primary work was as a missionary, which related to the another reason I took this job. As I studied this missionary who used to be an engineer, I realized that I had far more common with him, voc ationally, than I did with my career engineer parents. Meeting this former engineer had a big influence on my drive to be an engineer who makes a difference. I have kept the "make a difference" part, but not the engineer part. I worked at engineering for f ive years before earning my returning to school for a Master of Arts and working as a psychotherapist. 10. The Deep End Intellectually, I tended to jump in the deep end, where I would quickly find out what I didn't know. I challenged myself to read above my comprehension level, to sing music that was technically challenging for me, and to start projects that I wasn't capable of finishing well on my own. From grade 7 through high school, the "deep end" was in math and science. This may have been a perspective trick, brought on by my natural inclination and gifting in language, music, and art. Regardless, my parents offered more positive feedback for being in the math and science end of the "pool", and I found it challenging and rewarding to succeed in math cla sses that were 2 3 years ahead of my peers, and in science classes that some of my peers found unappealing or difficult, like anatomy and physiology, advanced chemistry, and AP physics. It was in college that I realized I wasn't as interested in math and s cience as I was interested in the humanities. However, I wasn't

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138 able to express this observation until the end of my junior year in engineering school, when it was more prudent (and supported by my parents) to finish my degree, work in the field, and chang e directions later in life. 11. Sure, I Can Do That. When I was in college, my boyfriend (now my husband, and a software engineer) taught me basic maintenance and repair skills on my first car. Worried that my learning style (experiential, visual) would be frustrating for both of us, I was overjoyed to discover his mostly patient, flexible way of teaching me. I took to the work pretty naturally, even if I didn't do anything exactly the way he taught me. I enjoyed the challenge and sense of accomplishment whi le discovering important clues to how I learn and master skills. It was only after I left my job at that I was able to articulate the difference between how my boyfriend treated me when we worked together and how my colleagues treated me.

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139 Betha ny 1. Mom, engineering pioneer, role model and encourager 2. Dad, driven, independent inventor 3. I read a lot of books and received prizes for reading so much. I preferred adventures, biographies, and spy stories.

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140 4. Camping: many summer weekends were spent in the mountains 5. Games: Lots of board games, card games, hide n' seek, and keeping score at softball games 6. French: la plus belle langue du monde 7. The Little Engine That Could: "I think I can" family mantra

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141 8. Chores and jobs 9. Girl Scouts taught me crafts, camping, cookie sales, self sufficiency 10. 6th grade Teacher Mr. Sayre, my favorite teacher, especially in science 11. Art one of my pen and ink drawings

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142 12. Music going to a concert with my clarinet I was 1st chair and I p racticed a lot 13. Math, one of my favorite subjects 14. Church and personal faith meant a lot especially in high school 15. Opportunity to take technical practical classes. My high school physics teacher was very influential in my choice to major in physic s. I always enjoyed her class, her practical attitude and her no nonsense approach to life. She loved cats...