Latina girls of Puerto Rican origin who are successful in science and mathematics high school courses
Professions and careers related to science and mathematics lack representation of minorities. Within these underrepresented minority populations there is no other group more affected than Latina women and girls. Women in general, are still underrepresented in many areas of our society. While women's roles are changing in today's society, most changes encourage the participation of more White/Anglo women in traditionally male roles. Latina women are still more disadvantaged than White women. There is no doubt that education is significant in increasing the participation of minorities in the fields of science and mathematics, especially for minority girls (Oakes, 1990; Rodriguez, 1993). This study explored the interests, life experiences, characteristics and motivations of Latina girls of Puerto Rican origin who are successful in science and mathematics high school courses. The study identifies factors that can influence the interest of Latina girls of Puerto Rican origin in science and mathematics career choices. This research is significant and relevant to educators and policy makers, especially to science and mathematics educators. The research is primarily descriptive and exploratory. It explores the social characteristics of Latina girls and professional women who have been successful in science and mathematics high school courses. The research offers the reader a visit to the participants' homes with descriptions and the opportunity to explore the thoughts and life experiences of Latina girls, their mothers and young Latina professionals of Puerto Rican origin. This research reveals the common characteristics of successful students found in the Latina girls of Puerto Rican origin who where interviewed. Creating a portrait of Latina girls of Puerto Rican origin who are successful in science and mathematics high school courses in one of the school districts of western Massachusetts.
The research findings reveal that teacher relationships, family expectations, mother's support, mother - daughter relationship, cultural pride, talent recognition, the girls' perception of teachers and school and the girls strong desire to change their economic situation contribute to their success in school regardless of their low socio-economic backgrounds.
Minority & ethnic groups;
0631: Minority & ethnic groups
0453: Womens studies
0280: Mathematics education
0714: Science education