“I Wasn’t Supposed to Be There”: Examining the Experiences of First-Generation Women of Color in Undergraduate STEM Majors

Jehangir et al. / Journal of First-generation Student Success / February 2024

Using intersectionality and ecological frameworks, this study explored the experiences of 22 first-generation Women of Color (FGWOC+) STEM college students at two predominantly white institutions. Participants were part of the NSSA, which supports marginalized students’ persistence in STEM. Four themes were generated that relate to negotiating the expectations of white majority spaces and family and community relationships. For practice, policy, and research, student affairs professionals and faculty members play critical roles in mentoring and supporting students toward persistence and graduation. The findings also lead to implications for career planning and development of FGWOC+ STEM students.

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