Date of Award



© 2022 Todd Martin Medovich

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Gizelle Luevano

Second Advisor

William (Grinell) Smith

Third Advisor

Amanda Harper-Leatherman


This qualitative case study describes how female science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students choose their undergraduate major, the obstacles they faced when making that choice, and how they overcome gender-based obstacles. These descriptions illuminate the manner in which they form their science identity.

There is a gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines (Viadero, 2009). This has been attributed to both biological and sociocultural causes. The biological basis for this disparity includes evidence of physiological differences between females and males, as well as the microaggressions and sexual harassment stemming from these differences (Bottia et al., 2015). The sociocultural basis for this disparity includes evidence of differences in females’ thoughts and feelings about STEM fields, the forces and influences they experience, parental and peer involvement in college and career decisions, as well as the availability of social and academic supports and female role models (Cundiff et al., 2013). Further, educational causes have been identified which include reduced access to STEM resources and supports and unequal attention in classes.

Female students reconcile their own perceptions about their place in science with that of others and with their various other social identities to form a science identity, the intersection between their performance, their competence, and their recognition (Carlone & Johnson, 2007). Science identity is a useful framework used to examine the changes that female students undergo as they choose academic majors, how they incorporate information related to the obstacles they face, and how they overcome those obstacles.


Ed.D. Dissertation