Shannon Hafey



Document Type



Women, students of color, and students of low socioeconomic status are historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs (Apriceno, 2020). Interventions such as linked-learning communities have been introduced in STEM programs to improve student success and to combat underrepresentation; however, the research thus far is predominantly quantitative. While providing useful insight, quantitative data does not reflect unique individual experiences, so qualitative research will better allow for understanding of student experiences. This research examined the role of linked-learning communities among first-semester STEM students with varying social identities and backgrounds. During semi-structured interviews, participants (N = 10) were asked open-ended questions regarding their experiences in the college, in their major, with peers and faculty, and their personal identities. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis to identify patterns (Braun & Clark, 2020). Students highlighted connections with peers and faculty that were supported through the linked-learning communities, demonstrating the overarching theme that sense of belonging was fostered through intertwining social and academic factors. The examination of student experiences increased our understanding of student success and belonging in STEM.



Thesis Comittee

Dr. Laura Ramsey, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Sandra Neargarder, Committee Member
Dr. Nesa Wasarhaley, Committee Member

Included in

Psychology Commons