The Rutgers Implicit Social Cognition lab is working on several interrelated studies to identify ways to combat barriers underrepresented minorities (URMs) face in STEM disciplines. Our primary goal is to promote social psychological change among URMs including STEM identity, interest, and belonging with the ultimate aim of increasing recruitment and retention of URMs in STEM disciplines. To reach these research goals, we teamed up with Garden State – Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. Funding for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation (HRD 1909824).
In Year 1, Dr. Rivera recruited a research team that includes Sophie Kuchynka, Ph.D., who was hired as the postdoctoral scholar. Dr. Kuchynka is primarily responsible for implementing studies, analyzing data, and writing manuscripts. The research is also assisted by a Ph.D. student, a lab coordinator, and multiple undergraduate research assistants. Also, the IRB application was submitted and approved. The team has focused on four interrelated empirical studies that examine the role of underrepresent minority (URM) professionals and URM mentor-mentee relationships in STEM-related cognitive, motivational, and psychological factors and in STEM recruitment, retention, and success in academic and industry careers. Data collection is complete for one longitudinal study and underway for three studies. Our efforts have led to one paper (under review) that reviews the STEM intervention literature and presents an original framework for understanding URM STEM integration and identity formation that can be applied to institutions across the United States. In addition, two empirical manuscripts are in preparation and three conference talks were given. In sum, we have met Year 1’s goals.