African American Students' Perceptions of the Development of Social Capital in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Pre-College Program

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rita Lester Fuller (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Camille Cooper

Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate how institutional agents and interpersonal networks contribute to the development of social capital in a pre-college academic enrichment program that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The study used a social capital framework to examine the perceptions held by eight African American high school seniors who had participated in a STEM Pre-College Program for at least four years. Using an instrumental case study design, data were gathered through semi-structured interviews, observations, and focus groups interviews. The three themes that emerged from the analysis of data were: (a) institutional agents as extended family (b) institutional support through dialogue and discourse, and (c) empowerment. The themes revealed that African American students' interpersonal relationships with supportive and nurturing institutional agents can provide empowering STEM information, resources, and opportunities (social capital). Development of this social capital empowers students in terms of their self-efficacy to engage in advanced-level mathematics and science high school courses, STEM college majors, and STEM careers.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
African American High School Students, african american adolescents, Social Capital, Social Integration, Self-efficacy, Advanced-level high school education, Mathematics education, Science education , STEM Academic Enrichment
African Americans--Education (Secondary)
African American students.
Social capital (Sociology)
Social networks.
Interpersonal Relations--Adolescence.

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