Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Maralee Mayberry, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

John Skvoretz, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, Ph.D.


Experiences in STEM, Higher Education, Racial/Ethnic Minorities, Sexual/Gender Minorities, STEM


Extensive research has documented the experiences and outcomes of women and certain underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups in STEM educational programs. This paper contributes to current conversations by focusing on the experiences of individuals that identify as both a racial/ethnic and sexual/gender minority (SGM). This paper has two major objectives in mind: (1) provide one of the first empirical studies examining the experiences of SGM students in STEM and (2) interrogate the intersection of racial/ethnic identity and sexual/gender identity within the context of these programs. In order to provide a more robust understanding in these areas, this paper is guided by the following research questions: (1) What are the experiences of students who identify as both a racial/ethnic and sexual/gender minority in STEM educational programs, (2) in what ways do these students' sexual/gender and racial/ethnic identity influence these experiences, (3) do racial/ethnic and sexual/gender minorities feel a sense of belonging within their respective programs and why, and (4) how do racial/ethnic and sexual/gender minorities perceive they are treated by peers, faculty, and staff within these programs. This paper takes a mixed-method approach, incorporating both interviews and quantitative survey data to gain insights into these questions. Upon analysis, major findings demonstrated that students experiences an erasure of student diversity in the classroom, while also experiencing higher salience with their sexual/gender identity when compared to their racial/ethnic identity.