Monday, August 15, 2016

Keeping minorities in science careers

Persistence is the watchword for undergrad programs trying to attract underrepresented racial/ethnic groups into the sciences.

By persistence, they mean translating initial interest into confidence of success, so the students "persist" in their quest to be in these fields.

A new paper in the journal CBE-Life Sciences education, done by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, says some variables relating to persistence are dubbed self-efficacy beliefs.

Among these is the confidence that one can do a task.

They studied 600 undergrads seeing if they could conduct independent research, prepare a poster or presentation, or were being mentored.

Funding agencies want quantifiable data that they will get a return on their investment--that the students will stick and persist.

African-American men self-reported greater anxiety about their research performance. The rates of this group attaining a degree have not risen in the last decade.

This is fine for defining persistence or lack of it--but how does an organization promote it?

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