Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Education Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Margaret Mohr-Schroeder


According to labor market data, there is core cognitive knowledge, skills, and abilities associated with STEM education that are in demand in not just STEM fields, but all areas of the workforce (Carnevale, Smith, & Melton, 2011; Rothwell, 2013). During the period from 2005 until 2015, STEM professions grew by 24.4% (Noonan, 2017). During this time, populations such as minorities continued to show a gap in their representation in STEM (Noonan, 2017). To effectively examine how to increase the rate of URM student success in STEM, more research is needed on the factors that might contribute to minority STEM interest, self-efficacy, and increase in career interests (Teitjen-Smith, Masters, & Smith 2009). This study aims to determine how underrepresented populations having access to an informal STEM learning experience impacts interest, self-efficacy, and career intentions in STEM using Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT). Through a case study design, the experiences of underrepresented adolescents who participated in a 2018 summer STEM robotics camp were examined through structured interviews. What follows represents a qualitative analysis of themes regarding how informal STEM learning experiences can impact underrepresented participants’ STEM interest, STEM self-efficacy, and STEM career interest.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)