Author

Baindu Nallo

Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policies

First Advisor

Spencer Platt

Abstract

This study was designed to explore the undergraduate and post-undergraduate experiences of African American STEM alumni from the University of South Carolina from a strengths-perspective. The method utilized for this qualitative study was phenomenological analysis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 African American alumni who graduated between 2010 and 2020 and majored in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). Critical Race Theory and community cultural wealth served as theoretical frameworks for this research. The findings indicate that African American students: 1) want to smoothly transition from high school to college curriculum being equally exposed to collegiate materials at the high school level, similar to their White peers, 2) want culturally relevant meaningful and supportive experiences in higher education, 3) want to build rapport with faculty and teaching instructors to improve learning outcomes and develop mentorship opportunities, 4) want to build rapport with well-versed administrative officials who have their best interest at heart, and 5) want to be prepared for the industry upon graduation and transition smoothly into the workforce.

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