Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Janice Kelly

Second Supervisor

Fran Wills


There is a significant gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers as well as in the STEM workforce that continues to expand, ultimately impacting the global economy. In response to this crisis, this qualitative study sought to identify the factors that led Hispanic/Latina middle school students to select a STEM high school education. For this study, a purposeful sample of twenty-five ninth-grade Hispanic/Latina students participated from two designated STEM private high schools located in a densely populated Hispanic/Latino area in the Bronx. Participants anonymously responded to The Middle to High School STEM Experience questionnaire (see Appendix A and Appendix B), with a Qualtrics instrument to supply the data. A qualitative analysis of the results followed. The results illuminated the essential roles that intrapersonal skills and external barriers play in the success of participants. In light of these results, there should be a greater focus on increased funding, early exposure to STEM, experiential learning, and the identification of role models for Hispanic/Latina students. Additionally, this study may help to advance the long overdue need to explore factors motivating young Hispanic/Latinas to enter STEM education and careers to achieve growing STEM workforce demands. Recommendations for further research include conducting a broader research project with a larger sample size that also involves public school students from the New York City Department of Education in order to make the findings more generalizable.

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