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Loyola faculty member receives grant to support STEM education research

Qi Shi, Ph.D., associate professor of education specialties

Qi Shi, Ph.D., associate professor of education specialties, has been awarded a $193,853 two-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s HER Core Research: Building Capacity in STEM Education Research program. The grant will support her professional development and research, “A Phenomenological Analysis of STEM Interest, Access, and Persistence of Latina English Learners.”

Shi’s study aims to describe the lived experiences of Latina English learners (ELs) in STEM majors and to understand the meaning of their experiences in the structures of three key developmental milestones in social cognitive career theory: interest, access, and persistence. Viewing Latina ELs from an anti-deficit perspective, this study will also emphasize the influence of Latina ELs’ assets and resources. In addition, the study will help inform the development of counseling programs and interventions in both secondary and postsecondary schools.

“As we think about making systematic efforts to broaden the participation in STEM nationally, I hope this project will lead to the creation of replicable STEM education and career development models that could be utilized with Latina EL students and other underrepresented student populations,” said Shi. “I also hope the insights gained from this research can be used to develop retention and recruitment policies and practices to increase the number of Latina EL students entering STEM pipelines and workforce.”

This two-year grant will also fund Shi’s professional development activities to expand her capacity to carry out rigorous STEM education research. Shi will complete research with faculty from Bowie State University, Florida State University, and the University of Texas El Paso.

Shi said this grant will benefit her students in the school counseling program, who are pre-service school counselors, by providing them the opportunity to learn about unique experiences and strengths that help facilitate Latina English Learners’ interest, access, and persistence in STEM.