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Managing transitions, building bridges: An evaluation of a summer pre-college program for African American scientists and engineers.
Journal for Multicultural Education (2016)
  • Jennifer M Johnson
Purpose: This paper aims to highlight the potential of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) summer bridge programs to promote college persistence by fostering a positive science identity among participants that is culturally consistent with the values and experiences of African American students.

Design/methodology/approach: This case study included demographic data, journals, a focus-group interview and program evaluation reports. Carlone and Johnson’s (2007) grounded model of science identity provided a culturally sensitive framework for examining science experiences of minority students.

Findings: In a program that emphasized the academic readiness of students pursing bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering programs, the salience of students’ science identity was intricately related to their commitment to STEM.

Research limitations/implications: Understanding the program’s cultural components was not a specific objective of the study, but emerged as an important feature of students’ experiences and commitment to degree completion.

Practical implications: The program could assist students’ development of a science identity through the deliberate inclusion of activities and experiences that are culturally congruent with the students’ racial/ethnic identity.

Originality/value: Little empirical research is available to assess bridge programs for African Americans pursuing STEM degrees. Analyzing students’ transition from high school to college, within the context of a summer bridge program, affords a better understanding of how students navigate the early social and academic aspects of college and how participation in bridge helps plug the leaky pipeline to careers in STEM.
  • STEM,
  • African American students,
  • Bridge programs,
  • Precollege,
  • Science identity
Publication Date
February, 2016
Citation Information
Jennifer M Johnson. "Managing transitions, building bridges: An evaluation of a summer pre-college program for African American scientists and engineers." Journal for Multicultural Education Vol. 10 Iss. 2 (2016) p. 206 - 216 ISSN: 2053-535X
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