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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Imprimir: 1072-8325
ISSN En Línea: 1940-431X

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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v14.i3.10
pages 225-252

SCIENCE MAJORS AND DEGREES AMONG ASIAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS: INFLUENCES OF RACE AND SEX IN "MODEL MINORITY" EXPERIENCES

Sandra L. Hanson
Department of Sociology, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064
Yu Meng
Georgia Institute of Technology

SINOPSIS

Both race and sex continue to be factors that stratify entry into science education and occupations in the United States. Asian-Americans (men and women) have experienced considerable success in the sciences and have earned the label of "model minority." The complexities and patterns involved in this success remain elusive. We use several concepts coming out of the status attainment framework and a multicultural gender perspective to explore the way in which race and sex come together to influence choices of science major and degree. Our sample consists of Asian-American and white students in the National Educational Longitudinal Study. Findings suggest that being male and being Asian-American are both associated with higher chances of pursuing majors and degrees in science. The male advantage is greater than the Asian-American advantage. Findings also suggest that race and sex interact in the science decision. For example, race differences (with an Asian-American advantage) in choice of science major are significant for women but not men. Sex differences (with a male advantage) in choice of science major are significant in the white, but not the Asian-American sample. A different set of race and sex patterns is revealed in the science degree models. Processes associated with family socioeconomic status and student characteristics help to explain race and sex patterns. Findings suggest that when Asian-American youths have closer ties to the Asian culture, they are more likely to choose science majors and degrees. Implications for policy, practice, and research in science education are discussed.


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