Wilkins-Yel to study the role of support on STEM persistence


Kerrie Wilkins-Yel

A School of Education faculty member will use a grant from the National Science Foundation to examine the ways support plays a role in the academic careers of diverse female doctoral students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Kerrie Wilkins-Yel, assistant professor in Counseling and Education Psychology, is the principal investigator for the study in collaboration with Drs. Jennifer Bekki, Bianca Bernstein, and Ashley Randall at Arizona State University. Wilkins-Yel will focus on examining the specific experiences of support that take place during the critical first two years of doctoral study.

“Women, and in particular women of color, tend to leave doctoral programs in STEM at higher rates than their white male counterparts,” Wilkins-Yel said. “Reducing attrition among these talented individuals is a national imperative that has been recognized but not yet advanced substantially based on an empirical foundation. This collaborative suite of studies will provide unique information about the content, delivery, and sources of interpersonal support that specifically enhance research and STEM self-efficacy, belongingness, and satisfaction.”

The current project is an extension of the CareerWISE (CW) research program, a program with a longstanding record of achievement in studying and working to advance persistence among women in STEM doctoral programs. One of the most significant outcomes thus far was the development of an online resilience training program for doctoral women in STEM. Key research findings from the current collaborative NSF grant will be incorporated in this online training intervention.