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HON 3260: Underrepresented Groups in Science: Ability/


Hemel, D. J. (2005, January 14). Summers’ comments on women and science draw ire. The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved from

Summers, L. H. (2005, January 14). Remarks at NBER conference on diversifying the science & engineering workforce. The Office of the President, Harvard University. Retrieved from

Carnes, M., Handelsman, J., Fine, E., Sheridan, J., Benting, D., et al. (c2005). Response to Lawrence Summers’ remarks on women in science. Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Cech, E., Rubineau, B., Silbey, S., & Seron, C. (2011).  Professional role confidence and gendered persistence in engineering. American Sociological Review, 76, 641–66.

Correll, S. J. (2001). Gender and the career choice process: The role of biased self-assessments. American Journal of Sociology 106(6), 1691–730.

Chemers, M. M., Zurbriggen, E. L., Syed, M., Goza, B. K., & Bearman, S. (2011). The role of efficacy and identity in science career commitment among underrepresented minority students. Journal of Social Issues, 67(3), 469-491.

Beasley, M., & Fischer, M. (2012). Why they leave: The impact of stereotype threat on the attrition of women and minorities from science, math and engineering majors. Social Psychology of Education, 15(4), 427-448. doi:10.1007/s11218-012-9185-3

MacPhee, D., Farro, S., & Canetto, S. S. (2013). Academic self-efficacy and performance of underrepresented STEM majors: Gender, ethnic, and social class patterns. Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy, 13(1), 347-369. doi:10.1111/asap.12033


Leonard, J. j., Buss, A., Gamboa, R., Mitchell, M., Fashola, O., Hubert, T., & Almughyirah, S. (2016). Using robotics and game design to enhance children's self-efficacy, STEM attitudes, and computational thinking skills. Journal of Science Education & Technology, 25(6), 860-876. doi:10.1007/s10956-016-9628-2

This study is relevant to this course because the researchers made an effort to recruit subjects from underrepresented groups, including Native Americans. Sample size is small, but the methods and findings are interesting to URMs in STEM.

Metz, S., Jarosewich, T., & Sorby, S. A. (2017). Spatial skills training impacts retention of engineering students: Does this success translate to community college students in technical education? 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. (See link for “Download Paper” to get to full text)

Addresses two questions relevant to this course: Does providing spatial skills training improve the retention of low-spatial-ability women in technician programs? Does providing spatial skills training improve the retention of low-spatial-ability Black and Hispanic students in technician programs?

LeBow, V., Bernhardt-Barry, M. L., & Datta, J. (2018). Improving spatial visualization abilities using 3D printed blocks. 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. (See link for “Download Paper” to get to full text)

Spatial visualization abilities have been shown to be a key predictor of success in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Past research has revealed that women and underrepresented minorities tend to lag behind in spatial visual abilities, however, research has also shown that these skills can be improved with guided practice.


Grimshaw, G. M., Sitarenios, G., & Finegan, J. A. K. (1995). Mental rotation at 7 years: Relations with prenatal testosterone levels and spatial play experiences. Brain and Cognition, 29(1), 85-100.

Gouchie, C., & Kimura, D. (1991). The relationship between testosterone levels and cognitive ability patterns. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 16(4), 323-334.

Moe, A. (2009). Are males always better than females in mental rotation? Exploring a gender belief explanation. Learning and Individual Differences, 19(1), 21-27.

Halpern, D. F., Benbow, C. P., Geary, D. C., Gur, R. C., Shibley Hyde, J., & Gernsbacher, M. A. (2007). The science of sex differences in science and mathematics. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 8(1), 1-51.


Organized by a group at Stanford dedicated to empowering women in technology, this short documentary looks at the underrepresentation of women in computer science. Discusses aptitude.


Rachel E., S., Monica, P., Kara E., G., Geoff, P., & Theodore, H. (2017). Fixed and growth mindsets in physics graduate admissions. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 13(2), 020133. doi:10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.13.020133