Student persistence in STEM

There is a growing body of literature that documents how the majority of students who enter college as a STEM major switch out or drop out before graduation. The exit rates from STEM disciplines are even higher for women and other minority groups. In this work, we seek to contribute to the countermeasures by interviewing current mechanical engineering students at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in an effort to understand the factors that influence their continued persistence towards their degree. This study is based on an anti-deficit framework, meaning that it is aimed at learning from students who are successfully persisting in order to develop interventions that would provide critical support to students who may otherwise leave engineering.

Natalie Schaal
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering