Publication Date

Spring 5-8-2023

Document Type

Action research project: Open access

Degree Name

MA Higher Education Leadership


Leadership Studies


Women of color (WOC) are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and many feel disconnected from their fields of study. At the University of San Diego (USD), a predominately White institution, WOC in STEM are particularly underrepresented. Thus, I explored how USD might create a community that could enhance the belonging, retention, and the future success of WOC in STEM. I sought to learn if the USD environment welcomed and allowed WOC to feel they belonged. Findings indicated USD and the STEM departments provide these students with a welcoming environment. However, the lack of representation of WOC faculty and staff at USD has created a disconnect between these women and the faculty. Several students questioned whether they belong. A more diverse faculty, as well as support in connecting WOC with each other would help these students feel they belong in STEM at USD.

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This work is licensed under a CC BY License.