Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




STEM Education

First Advisor

Dr. Cindy Jong


With a national push toward improving STEM education, it is imperative for researchers to study what makes students want to pursue STEM education and STEM careers. To learn about this in the context of one high school’s engineering program, this study used student interviews to gain insight into how student identities influence their interest and experiences in STEM. Five components of student identities were revealed to be influential on a student’s interest in STEM: (1) an early interest/skill in STEM, (2) familial involvement in STEM, (3) self-motivation, (4) gender, and (5) socioeconomic status.Race/ethnicity, peer influence, and teacher influence did not seem to be as influential as anticipated for the participants in this study. The implications from this study can be used to inform STEM education instruction, specifically within engineering programs, in an effort to intentionally improve student experiences with and interest in STEM.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)