Date of Conferral
African American women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields throughout the United States. As the need for STEM professionals in the United States increases, it is important to ensure that African American women are among those professionals making valuable contributions to society. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of African American young women in relation to STEM education. The research question for this study examined how experiences with STEM in K-10 education influenced African American young women's academic choices in their final years in high school. The theory of multicontextuality was used to provide the conceptual framework. The primary data source was interviews. The sample was composed of 11 African American young women in their junior or senior year in high school. Data were analyzed through the process of open coding, categorizing, and identifying emerging themes. Ten themes emerged from the answers to research questions. The themes were (a) high teacher expectations, (b) participation in extra-curricular activities, (c) engagement in group-work, (d) learning from lectures, (e) strong parental involvement, (f) helping others, (g) self-efficacy, (h) gender empowerment, (i) race empowerment, and (j) strategic recruitment practices. This study may lead to positive social change by adding to the understanding of the experiences of African American young women in STEM. By doing so, these findings might motivate other African American young women to pursue advanced STEM classes. These findings may also provide guidance to parents and educators to help increase the number of African American women in STEM.