Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Rong Chen

Committee Member

Martin Finkelstein

Committee Member

Eunyoung Kim

Keywords

Community colleges, science, technology, mathematics, major choice

Abstract

Community colleges are becoming increasingly relevant as an entrance point into postsecondary education for potential science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors. These institutions are also an important education pathway for women and racial/ethnic minorities who are currently underrepresented in the STEM workforce. The purpose of this study is to understand how student demographics, high school, and college experiences influence the entrance of community college students to the STEM college majors. Data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS: 2002) were used for the study. Students included in the study began their postsecondary education at community colleges. Descriptive and binary logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the impact of student demographics, high school, and college experience on the choice of STEM college major. The findings of this study suggest gender, race/ethnicity, academic preparation, and interest in STEM fields upon entering college influence the choice of STEM major by community college students.

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