Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor's Name

Zahra Hazari

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Emily Dare

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Haiying Long

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Geoff Potvin

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


STEM Identity, Identity Capital, Capital, Familial Occupations, Early STEM Experiences

Date of Defense



The studies within this collected papers dissertation investigate the effects of familial occupations and early experiences in STEM on female students’ STEM identity and career intentions. The salience of this topic originates from the underrepresentation of women in STEM related occupations within the United States, and the urgent need to develop a diverse STEM workforce that can excel in a global environment.

The studies are guided by a variety of theoretical frameworks including STEM capital, STEM identity, and STEM identity capital. These frameworks provide lenses to examine familial occupations and early STEM experiences as contributors of STEM capital which serve to impact and continually reinforce STEM identity. The first paper specifically focuses on familial occupation in STEM and the relationship to STEM career choice. Regression models were created to test the effects of having individual and multiple family members employed in STEM related careers. The second paper explores the effects of familial occupations and early STEM experiences on STEM identity and identity capital. Using blocked regression, specific familial occupations and early experiences in STEM were identified as predictive of STEM identity and translated into STEM identity capital. The third paper examines qualitative data to understand the lived early STEM experiences of female students as related to critical factors identified in earlier papers. These phenomenological case studies present findings connected to identified themes that emerged from analysis to help explain how and why certain factors affect STEM identity. Results from these studies indicate that having familial occupations in STEM and being exposed to specific early STEM experiences are important for students’ STEM identity development and maintenance. These results have important implications for school administrators and educators related to the types of STEM programs/activities and professional training opportunities that may be the most valuable for fostering students’ STEM identity.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).