Women of Color in STEM

Navigating the Workforce

Edited by:
Julia Ballenger, Texas A&M University, Commerce
Barbara Polnick, Sam Houston State University
Beverly Irby, Texas A&M University

A volume in the series: Research on Women and Education. Editor(s): Beverly Irby, Texas A&M University. Julia Ballenger, Texas A&M University, Commerce.

Published 2016

Women of Color in STEM: Navigating the Workforce is an opportunity for making public the life stories of women of color who have persevered in STEM workplace settings. The authors used various critical theories to situate and make visible the lives of women of color in such disciplines and workplace contexts like mathematics, science, engineering, NASA, academia, government agencies, and others. They skillfully centered women and their experiences at the intersection of their identity dimensions of race, class, gender, and their respective discipline.

While the disciplines and career contexts vary, the oppression, alienation, and social inequities were common realities for all. Despite the challenges, the women were resilient and persevered with tenacity, a strong sense of self as a person of color, and reliance on family, community, mentors, and spirituality. While we celebrated the successes, it is critical that organizational leaders, whether in education or other workplace settings, draw from narratives and counter‐narratives of these women to improve the organizational climate where individuals can thrive, despite their racial, class and gender identity. This book will assist educational communities, professional communities, and families to understand their roles and responsibilities in increasing the number of women of color in STEM.

Foreword, Mary Alfred. Introduction, Julia Ballenger. PART I: WOMEN OF COLOR IN STEM: RESILIENCE AND OPPORTUNITY. What Plato Took for Granted: An Examination of the First Five African American Female Mathematicians and What That Says About Resistance to the Western Epistemological Canon, Nicole M. Joseph. Women of Color in the STEM Academic Workplace, Lindsay Johnson, Kecia M. Thomas, and Lindsay Brown. Breaking Barriers: Inspiring Stories About NASA Women of Color, Lisa Brown, Andrea Foster, and Barbara Polnick. Mathematics Literacy, Identity Resilience, and Opportunity Sixty Years Since Brown v. Board of Education: Counter‐narratives of a Five‐Generation Family, Jacqueline Leonard, Erica N . Walker, Victoria R. Cloud, and Nicole M. Joseph. PART II: WOMEN OF COLOR IN STEM: STORIES OF STRUGGLES AND SUCCESS The Fulfillment of a Mother’s Dream: An African American Woman’s Story of Struggle and Success in Science, Cailisha L. Petty and Catherine Dinitra White. Navigating the STEM Landscape: Examining the Role of Spatial Reasoning for Women of Color, Samina Hadi‐Tabassum. Diversity in STEM? Challenges Influencing the Experiences of African American Female Engineers, Delores Rice. Present But Not Accounted For: Examining How Intersectional Identities Create a Double Bind for and Affect Leadership of Women of Color in Educational Settings, Adrienne R. Carter‐Sowell, Danielle D. Dickens, Gabe H. Miller, and Carla A. Zimmerman. About the Editors. About the Contributors.

"This book is both enlightening and uplifting, despite the constraints of the past. The strength and resilience of the women are inspiring. I recommend it to teachers, school and workplace administrators, and for inclusion in graduate student reading lists, as well as to feminists in all walks of life who are committed to making a difference in future possibilities for girls. It would be particularly helpful to parents whose daughters are mathematically or scientifically inclined. The focus is on how things could be different: more encouragement, more mathematical/spatial experiences, less gendered parenting and educating, and more attention to differentiation by race. In addition to opening up opportunities for women of color, this can open up the talent pool for STEM occupations." Dr. Michele Hoffnung Ph.D. in PsycCRITIQUES (Read full review)