Honors Projects


Black women are severely underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. While the underrepresentation of professional Black women in STEM has been well-researched, the pipeline problem of the education of Black women in STEM has been overlooked. The number of Black women pursuing STEM degrees dramatically decreases as the level of education increases. This gap in the literature is problematic, because Black women are still severely underrepresented in STEM-focused advanced degree programs. A small but growing literature indicates that Black women tend to experience frequent forms of discrimination, feelings of isolation and less satisfaction with their graduate programs, and devaluation from their peers and faculty. Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and national social unrest are exacerbating and introducing new stressors and institutional barriers for Black women graduate students in STEM projects. The purpose of this exploratory interview study is to identify the challenges that Black women graduate students in STEM fields are facing in their program studies while navigating life and school through the COVID-19 pandemic and massive racial injustice and social unrest. Featuring a short online survey and in-depth interviews, this study aims to identify how universities and faculty can better support Black women graduate students. This research is still in progress so preliminary results will be provided.





First Advisor

Dr. Sheila Roberts

First Advisor Department


Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa Hanasono

Second Advisor Department


Publication Date

Spring 4-26-2021