Factors Affecting African American Persistence In The Sciences

1944 words - 8 pages

A similar study conducted by Kenneth I. Maton and Freeman A. Hrabowski III looks at the facts contributing to the success of African American college students in the sciences. Those factors being 1) Academic and Social integration, 2) Knowledge and skill development, 3) Support and motivation, and 4) Monitoring and advising (Increasing the Number of African American PhDs in the Sciences and Engineering: A Strengths-Based Approach 548-550). According to this study, academic and social integration are important to African American students because they are far more likely to be isolated than majority students. This isolation happens because there are very few faculty of color at most institutions, and very few programs of support both academically and socially that focus on students of color (Increasing the Number of African American PhDs in the Sciences and Engineering: A Strengths-Based Approach 548). When students do have access to faculty outside of the classroom and social support from other African American peers, it tends to reduce their perceptions of racism and contributes to overall success and persistence (Increasing the Number of African American PhDs in the Sciences and Engineering: A Strengths-Based Approach 549). Knowledge and skill development are critical for developing a confident student. In conclusion, group study, time-management, analytical problem solving, and the willingness to access help through personal contact or university resources have been linked to a successful outcome for African American students in science.
Daly, Massey, and Just are excellent examples of how skill development; support and motivation; mentorship; and quality education manifest themselves in a scientific career. Both men worked and studied in uncomfortable environments that made it difficult to integrate, and gain support as an African American. Two things that seem to be common in each story is the presence of a strong value for education at an early age, and mentors that guided them throughout their careers. Similarly, the study by Hines notes that many African American students are able to persist because they value their education and are able to develop a sense of autonomy and educational independence. Another commonality between Just, and the subjects of Hines, and Maton and Hrabowski is the sense of parental expectation. A strong family background is found in the stories of both men. Just, Daly, and Massey sought to live out the value of education that their parents instilled. The students of Hines’ study feared disappointment and failure but also desired to please their parents by fulfilling and respecting their values. Many students do not want to disappoint their parents so they continued in their studies despite difficulties at times. The life stories of Daly, Massey, and Just and the studies by Hines, Maton and Hrabowski demonstrate the importance of a strong educational background. Demographics show that very few minority students...

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