T9-D&BP1-5 - Work-in-Progress: Emergent Themes from "High Impact" Role Model and Mentor Narratives

3. Research Work In Progress
Kyle Trenshaw1 , Derek Rushton1, Elif Miskioglu2, Philip Asare2
1 University of Rochester
2 Bucknell University

This work-in-progress study continues prior work aimed at increasing the access of underrepresented minorities (URMs) in STEM fields to role models and mentors through values-focused, narrative profiles. We developed narrative profiles in which URM role models and majority mentors share their personal and professional experiences. Profile content follows from our work in identifying what URMs in STEM value in role models and mentors, allowing the profiles to serve as a vehicle to encourage URM students working toward STEM degrees. In this paper, we address the following research question: what themes emerge from the comparative analysis of “high-impact” role-model and mentor profiles? Specifically, we use emergent thematic analysis to explore similarities and differences across role model and mentor profiles that are considered "high-impact." We see that high-impact profiles tend to contain longer, more complete narratives that mention challenges in adjusting to their university, self-transcendent reasons for giving back to others and viewing failure as a process. These results will inform future profile development processes. By further refining these windows into the lives of role models and mentors, we can expand the definition of success in STEM and create emergent pathways of resilience for URM students. Through integrating profiles into the recruitment process, orientation, courses, and other campus resources, we can help students connect with role models and mentors as they transition to college life and continue into their future careers. We believe the flexibility and adaptability of this intervention has great potential for impact across STEM contexts.

Keywords: underrepresented minority, mentorship, storytelling